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In Rome, a Deflated Geodesic Dome Sits Atop a 1901 Palazzo

Architects these days are getting clever when it comes to shimmying through preservation loopholes. Between the London elite that are digging out multi-million-dollar underground party palaces and the wealthy people building modern mansions just behind the half-pulverized exterior walls of the old estates, more and more architects are performing preservationist-approved top-down renovations, annihilating everything except the ever-sacred historical façade. Over in Rome, Italian architecture firm Massimiliano Fuksas Architetto has perfected another form of the edifice-preserving overhaul, carving out much of the city's Palazzo ex Unione Militare, an old military HQ built in 1901, and inserting a sleek, globby installation that drills like a well through its floors.

To make room for the deflated geode, which bubbles up to the top and peaks with a 3,200-square-foot glass-enclosed rooftop restaurant, contractors first had to gut the building top-to-bottom, purging nearly 1,000 tons (tons!) of debris before building the steel structure inside. By day, the facets—not totally unlike that one super classy McDonald's in Georgia—are like mirror; by night, the building glows like a lantern. After five years and some $220M (yikes), the remodel has finally wrapped. What's to go inside? It's unclear, for now, but it does seem just the place Zara would covet.

· Fuksas Refurbishes Palazzo ex Unione Militare in Rome [Design Boom]