Painted steel, expanded metal
The architectural complex of the Policlinico Italia was constructed towards the end of the 1950s, and acts as an architectural curtain to complete the urban design of Piazza del Campidano in Rome. To comply with new safety and evacuation standards, it became necessary to create a new outdoor staircase to connect the zones of the hospital rooms and to provide the required fire escape routes. The design idea developed by the architect Fabrizio Belocchi was to create an architectural feature that would establish a dialogue with the building, rather than hastily responding to the new requirements in a simply “functional” way, conforming to the widespread practice of arbitrary attachment of parts. The new outdoor staircase produced in white painted steel by Marzorati Ronchetti is like a light balcony on multiple levels, connecting the two wings of the building and creating a harmonious feature, cantilevered at its curved connection. The staircase is inserted amidst raised walkways, inside an arched partition in reinforced concrete that functions as a central structural support. The structural framework, also exposed in the design as an aesthetic-formal solution, combines calendered H-beams with a cylindrical-section reticular system. The sheets of expanded metal used for the parapets and the horizontal segments contribute to convey a sense of lightness and “transparency” of the whole structure.