Roman Ruins

Fall 2018, University of Pennsylvania

Software: Illustrator, Rhino, Photoshop

This project explores how geometry, site, and program can define memorialization. I relocate the Ara Pacis which now sits inside the controversial museum by Richard Meier by the Augustus Mausoleum to the Bascilica on Roman Forum. I propose a memorial of slavery in the form of a library, with empty shelves, on the grounds of the Bascilica.


The Ara Pacis, a memorial to peace itself, is re-situated among a historically charged site, the Basilica of Maxtentius and Constantine, the largest structure remaining on the Roman Forum. It is challenging for me to think through modern and ancient, and to place an ancient monument on an old monumental structure that is a monument itself, to think of what to keep and what to break.


Taking advantage of the 24 feet height difference on site, I design a path that cuts into the earth, through which people encouter Ara Pacis, housed under a full skylight. Then visitors enter the memorial of slavery, a library underground, with book shelves unfilled and dim lights casting down from above. I see slavery as unheard voices in history and perhaps even in current world, awaiting more scholarship and open discussion. Grand stairs, which also serve as a social space on the Basilica plaza, lead visitors up and out into the light.

site and building section

 © 2020 by Ying Luo

  • LinkedIn
  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Vimeo