The Palace of Congresses and Receptions is one of the most interesting projects of the quarter designed to host the Universal Exhibition of Rome of 1942.
However, the start of the Second World War prevented the Exhibition from taking place, and delayed the completion of many of the structures planned. We need only recall that the project of the Palace, dating back to 1938, was completed only in 1954.
With regard to the style, the building’s architect Adalberto Libera aimed first of all at endowing the structure with a noble and elegant appearance, combining modern lines with a general classical taste. The sharp architectural outlines, the clean shapes and the attention for detail make the Palace of Congresses and Receptions a significant example rationalist architecture, admired throughout the world. The Palace of Congresses and Receptions should rightly be considered as a genuine monument taking its place in history. To get an idea of its impressive size, we can recall that the Salon of Receptions (Reception Hall) alone is a cube measuring 38 metres on each side, an area which could contain the entire Pantheon.
Other highly interesting rooms are the Rooms of the Congresses, now called Aula Magna (recently refurbished by the architect Paolo Portoghesi), a spectacular Terrace with hanging gardens and an open-air Theatre, all designed by Libera to be used for events.
The spaces of the Palace of Congresses and Receptions are further enriched by major works of art produced by important Italian artists of the 20th century. On the back wall of the Kennedy Hall, for example, we can admire a fresco painted by Achille Funi in 1953, depicting diverse scenes on the origins of Rome. In the Art Hall there is a polychrome panel of extraordinary beauty, produced in 1953 by Gino Severini, a major Futurist artist, for the International Exhibition of the Confagricoltura. We should not forget the two magnificent mosaics by Angelo Canevari, made in 1940, and located in the café room.