In 2018 protesters took to the streets of Rome to rally against resident evictions. After years of housing shortages, rising rental prices, and unemployment, thousands of families and individuals were no longer able to meet their mortgage and rent payments, and many were being forced from their homes. This is just one event that exhibits how Rome, like several capital European cities, has simply become unaffordable.
For the Rome Collective Living Challenge, we’ve asked architects and designers to propose solutions for collective living in Rome.
Participants were tasked with designing a concept for affordable co-living. Instead of considering ways to construct thousands of new, individual apartments in Rome, this competition focused on housing solutions that might offer both affordability and community. We sought ideas that could potentially be implemented across Rome to increase housing stock. There was no minimum size required, and proposals were asked to be flexible enough to adapt to different locations and inhabitant requirements. Participants were free to choose and identify their own competition sites.
Several submitted proposals sought methods for increasing density within the existing generic building stock. Others targeted specific Roman sites such as the Aurelian Walls or the Tiber riverfront. Others still sought to rework parking lots and other low-density spaces seemingly present everywhere throughout Rome.
When judging the proposals, the jury asked two primary questions: Does the proposal introduce thoughtful or novel concepts for community living? And how does it respond specifically to Rome’s urban situation?
This competition is part of Bee Breeders’ Affordable Housing Crisis design series, which has over the past year introduced a number of proposals to address the global demand for urban housing. Some of these submissions and others have been included in the inaugural print publication by ARCHHIVE: Issue 1: What is Affordable Housing?
Bee Breeders would like to thank all designers who participated in this competition!
Jury feedback summary
“Vito del Muro - Co-inhabiting the Aurelian Wall” targets Rome’s 19km-long, 3rd-century defensive fortification as a generator of future housing stock for the city. The project focuses on demonstrating that the wall has not only resilience, but also serves to be permanently useful for Rome’s greater good. The submission offers a simply-constructed unit design that might be implemented along the intact portions of the historic structure. Adapting to the linear form of the wall, residential units are placed side-by-side and connected by a communal living space. The jury wonders, however, how many units can the intact portions of the wall feasibly support, and is this enough to begin to solve Rome’s housing crisis?