Diptych as Building

Project Description

Our project creates an architectural diptych by correcting the structure of the old Palazzo Rucellai and reproducing it in an ‘ideal’ rationalized form. While the existing façade is incomplete, an early drawing shows Alberti’s ideal proposal as a symmetrical five bay composition (AABAA). Our project mirrors this to create a three bay extension (BAA) to the palazzo that overlaps the two residual bays of the unfinished façade. In between the two parts is the ‘hinge’ that manifests itself as an internal stair both dividing and uniting the overall composition. The hinge is revealed in the street elevation by removing the stonework of the fifth bay. This duly maintains the incomplete state of Alberti’s façade and subsumes it in the architectural diptych.

There are multiple dialectical relationships between the two sides of the diptych, the genesis of which is a reaction to Alberti’s trompe l’oeil façade. The flattened classical trabeation is abstracted and extruded to form an open modern post and beam system. This realizes the implied deep space collapsed within the old façade and expands it into the building.