Roma Interrotta


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Roma 20-25: New Life Cycles for the Metropolis opened December 18, 2015.

Link to image gallery documenting Princeton’s design proposal

Watch our short video with team members Julian Harake, Miles Gertler, Alfredo Thiemann, and Stan Allen .

The History


In 1978 twelve international architects participated in the design competition for a “New Rome” based on the city’s historical center. Titled Roma Interotta (Rome Interrupted), the project assigned each architect a section Nolli’s famous plan for Rome from 1748, from which they would develop a fictional project. The project, which was based on the distant quality of Nolli’s map that documented a condition long lost, posed a strange prompt for designs in a liminal space that did not exist. Still, many teams engaged real aspects of the city, past and present. Aldo Rossi, for example, updates the Baths of Caracalla by equipping them with modern heating and cooling systems while Colin Rowe attempted to “rebuild” the Palatine Hill, using imported Roman precedents. Others, however, ignored the original Roman site altogether.

Our Approach

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Our approach is governed by three working principles:

First, to engage the question of Rome’s immediate periphery in both its local historical context and the wider context of dispersed urbanisms in the 21st Century. This suggests a careful attention to infrastructure and mobility. In order to underscore the idea that the remnants of the historical past are not limited to the center, we propose to mark the concentric order of the city with a new ring, which will be a structured landscape system first while simultaneously operating at the city-wide scale as a device to unify the periphery.

The MAXII Exhibition


“Roma 20-25: New Life Cycles for the Metropolis” is an international design workshop and exhibition organized by the MAXXI Foundation and the Urban Planning Department of the City of Rome. Drawing from the 1978 “Roma Interrotta” exhibition, the project calls schools of architecture to envision Rome’s urban future by superimposing a virtual grid to a new map of Rome’s metropolitan area. Rather than dividing the city based on the Nolli plan’s twelve sections, Roma 20-25 generated a new map of Rome by identifying the territory where most of the social and economic activities currently take place. Twenty-five different areas were defined and assigned to participating universities, who were asked to both analyze and re-design their given territories.