Rome's Nuvola conference centre to open on 29 October

Architect Massimiliano Fuksas hesitant about attending inauguration.

The so-called Nuvola conference centre in Rome’s southern suburb of EUR will be inaugurated on 29 October, after €239 million and 18 years of controversy.

However the designer of the futuristic project, prominent Italian architect Massimiliano Fukas, has still not indicated whether he will attend the inauguration of the building, which is known by Romans at the Nuvola (cloud) and whose actual construction took eight years.

Its opening by Italian premier Matteo Renzi will be screened live on RAI 1 on 29 October, during which the centre’s official title will be revealed, following a naming competition.

During the Nuvola's presentation at the foreign press association club in Rome on 25 October, Fuksas said its 18-year time-frame was “far too long” and insisted that he will not undertake any more projects in the capital. He also pointed out that the final cost of €239 million was far less than the tender estimate of €275 million.

Fuksas Nuvola Rome 2

The giant conference centre includes a 9,000-sqm plenary hall which can host 6,000 people, a 7,000-sqm forum area and an auditorium that can host around 1,800 people. Its design comprises 20,000 tons of steel and 58,000 sqm of glass.

The structure has already secured its first major booking, beating Glasgow and Barcelona to host an international delegation of lawyers in 2018, and it is estimated that within five years the centre could generate between €300 and €400 million annually.

Since its design was approved officially in 1998, under the tenure of then mayor Francesco Rutelli, the project has been associated with controversy, suffering from extensive delays and spiralling costs.

In 2014 the project came in for severe criticism from the authority for the supervision of public contracts (AVCP) over its “excessive slowness” and “disproportionate” sums paid out to its artistic director Fuksas, who susbequently left that role.

The company that owns and manages the 27,000-sqm site is Eur Spa, whose majority shareholder is Italy’s ministry of finance.