Inverted Dome Library

The idea of the project is that the new library building is also defined as a new entrance gate, proposing an unprecedented relationship between the university complex and its context.

The archetype of the dome, one of the most characteristic elements of the project, as a perfect theological form is reinterpreted as a symbol of coverage and protection. Like the shield placed to protect the body of Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom, the new library is articulated under a single, wide roof. The dome is the element that allows us to connect with the city’s past while maintaining a necessarily contemporary conception.

While from the convex surface seem to distill drops of knowledge to the spaces below and to those who use them, the rhythm of the sheets, the material base, the giant order of the perforations, the use of the curtain, are aspects that reinterpret and translate the peculiar characteristics of the architectural context.The large central void, around which the main connections of the building are developed, is a space conceived entirely at the service of the users. A place not only for strolling, but above all in which it is possible to meet, meet and socialize with other students of Sapienza and beyond.

The choice of a glulam structure is part of a broader strategy of energy-environmental sustainability, setting particularly high-performance targets. The roof and façade are designed as passive solutions, drastically reducing the need for active systems. The University City’s aim to act as a place of growth, projecting into the future, was an essential element in the design of the new library. In this sense, the choice of a structure made entirely of wood, supported on a concrete base, stems from the precise intention of promoting those objectives of innovation and evolution that the Sapienza di Roma embodies.

The design of the new library outlines a space with a dual function: on the one hand, it becomes an urban space, opening up to the use of citizens and establishing a profound dialogue between the city and the university. a profound dialogue between the city and the university; on the other hand, the library.


rome – italy
international competition 2021


sapienza university of rome


elena orte and guillermo sevillano. SUMA
marco tanzili. TARI
claudia ricciadi. TARI


patricia minguito. architect
marta romero. architect
jesús lópez. architect
santi alonso. student
juan muñoz. student
anillo camarca. fire technician
ignazio pecora. structure and fire technician
miguel cerezo. facade
miguel nuñez. facade
banchini francesco. structure
vicenso reale. structure

Inverted Dome LibraryElena Orte