LUISS, Rome: the material mix shapes the Aula Magna

The new auditorium designed by Studio Gemma and Alvisi Kirimoto, combines several functional programs within the historic headquarters of the LUISS Guido Carli university campus, in the heart of Trieste district in Rome.

Located at level -2, the Aula Magna covers a total area of almost 700 square meters, with a height of 7.5 m. The auditorium, with capacity for 500 seats, is equipped with a foyer and other complementary spaces such as the entrance hall, the gallery, the director's cabin, the backstage, the lecturers’ cabin and the simultaneous translation booth. The interiors have been carefully designed to ensure great versatility, and their multiple configurations accommodate a kaleidoscope of cultural, artistic and social events, from lectures to classes, from galas to movies.

The auditorium preserves its original layout and enhances its asymmetric feature: at the entrance, the space expands, generating a multifunctional side aisle, which faces a continuous wall on the opposite side. The design choice to bring the load-bearing structure in béton brut back into view, emphasizes the structural spans of the volume.

The room combines two main areas from a functional and architectural perspective: the parterre, which can be entirely or partially used thanks to a roller blind housed in the central beam; and the gallery, which retains its autonomy through a mobile partition wall and fulfils a dual function as a classroom.


The finish of the Aula Magna is divided into two. The lower part of the room incorporates gray painted Celenit panels, and features natural oak listels, behind which a layer of strategically placed rock wool enhances the wall’s acoustic capabilities. The entrance aisle is covered in the same way, from the false ceiling that integrates the lighting between the listels, to the walls, in which the listels can be partially warped and used as coat hangers.

Next to the podium, the listel cladding continues at full height, concealing the access door to the simultaneous translation booth. The stage, raised only 30 cm, features oak slat flooring and oak paneled wall cladding, which frame the black background wall in continuity with the large LED wall screen. The black panels, which can be hinged open, camouflage the access to the backstage technical rooms.

The upper order of the walls highlights the asymmetrical nature of the hall. The west wall has oak panels that detach from the plastered base wall, in analogy with the false ceiling, while the east wall, in plasterboard with scratched plaster, is designed as a backdrop for projections, thanks to three projectors embedded in the opposite wall.


photo credit ©Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti