Sited 140 miles east of Rome in the Ascoli Piceno province, Grottammare, Italy (population 14,300) sits upon the Adriatic coast, and is best known for its medieval village feel, sandy beaches, and for being the birthplace of Pope Sixtus V—but it will also soon boast the work of Bernard Tschumi, FAIA, the architect’s first project in Italy. Dubbed ANIMA—an acronym for Art, Nature, Ideas, Music, Actions—the new cultural center takes the form of a large, white rectangular volume whose façades are perforated to look like tree limbs. In plan, a courtyard is subtracted out from the mass of the building; another boxlike volume rests within this courtyard, rotated off-axis.

The New York- and Paris-based firm garnered a commission from the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ascoli Piceno and the Municipality of Grottammare, and will collaborate with architect Alfonso Giancotti on the next stages of design. Construction is set to commence in early 2014, with expected completion by 2016.