Citta del Mamissmo (Purity and Tolerances)
Città del Mammismo is a housing scheme situated in Rome, adjacent to the Vatican City. It has been designed primarily for mothers and their sons, thereby accommodating the needs of the growing numbers of Roman mammoni: adult men who continue to live in the family home.
Although the Città del Mammismo addresses a specifically Italian scenario, it also provides a solution to a global problem. Three of the most pressing concerns affecting Italy, the United Kingdom and much of the western world are inadequate affordable housing provision, record youth unemployment and aging populations. While this housing scheme has been designed around the premise of maintaining the perfect mother and son bond, it has also been informed by the need for ‘future proof’ housing, providing homes where both parent and child can live out their lives. Thus monitoring and surveillance are incorporated within the scheme so that at first the mother can keep a watchful eye over her son and then in due course he can take his turn in ensuring she comes to no harm.
Rubber has been used throughout the design to provide mobility aids for aging parents. As part of the architecture, it provides relief to a frustrated younger generation through, for example, the translucent interior dome which gives access to hidden spaces as well as views of other parts of the dwelling.
The site for this project is the Via della Conciliazione outside St Peter’s Square where the archetypal mother and son are lauded in one of the most sacred sites in the world. The scheme thereby renews and revitalises an area that was mutilated by Italy’s fascist government to mark the 1929 Lateran Treaty between it and the Holy See. Mussolini oversaw the demolition of a large area of dense over-hanging medieval housing to create a thoroughfare that would present a ‘purer’ threshold to Vatican City. It has since been dubbed Rome’s ‘most hated road’. The Citta del Mammismo is inserted into this canyon, borrowing from existing tropes within the city to create a more Italian urban grain while at the same time restoring Bernini’s original intention that St Peter’s Square would be approached from mass rather than void.
In great detail, the scheme develops a grand urban plan and obsessive planning for the modulations of storage, surveillance and privacy in the 3G family.