Rome 2017: 21st Century River Renaissance

The magazine’s latest challenge is a direct reaction against two realities which are increasingly overshadowing Rome’s image. Layered as a historical palimpsest of unparalleled culture, there is no denying the rare beauty of the ‘Eternal City’ - so called because of its timelessness. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about its historic river Tiber. Dirty and desolate at water level and riddled with traffic above, its wide river banks are underused and empty if not for the occasional runner, the many graffiti and the garbage. In parallel to the river’s degradation, today Rome is at the heart of a growing polemic on its current state, with many suggesting that the city is struggling to keep up with contemporary life, leaving it almost frozen in time.

Eleven’s Rome 2017 is an international ideas and design challenge that seeks to address these issues by asking the international architecture and design community three questions. What would a contemporary river renaissance look like in Rome? Can the city live up to its eternity and incorporate within its layers of history a more contemporary lifestyle? And can this consolidate the river Tiber into a new focus within the city for this millennium: transforming its waters from a passive element to an active, integrated and renewed part of the city?

Through the competition, Eleven revives Rome’s historic relationship with water and elevates it as a modern day regenerative catalyst for the city. Throughout history, water has come to define Rome’s identity and power. Legend has it a wolf raised Romolo (the founder of Rome) and his brother Remo after she discovered them by the river’s edge, forever linking water to the very origins of the Rome itself. Through water a powerful city was born and also thanks to water a flourishing civilization grew. Aqueducts and bath houses spread drinking water and high levels of hygiene throughout the empire, solidifying Rome’s status, dominance and revolutionary technology in the world. Within the city, the first hospital in history was built on Tiber Island. In baroque Rome, water became a source of prosperity, as Popes showcased their power, influence and wealth by commissioning hundreds of beautiful fountains throughout the city. Today, Eleven turns to water as a muse for change one more.

The competition is open for both students and professionals who can participate individually or in teams of up to four people. Participants are asked to submit their proposals online by the 11th of May in the form of two A1 sheets and 500 words explanation text. Models are highly encouraged but are not mandatory.

The competition will officially open for registration on Saturday 11th February. It will run for three months, closing on the 11th May at 11:00am (UK Time). Awarded entries be will be officially announced on the 11th of July. As the jury will deliberate behind the scenes to select their winner, runner-up and six honourable mentions, the general public will be given the chance to view all of the submitted entries and vote for their favourite who will go on to win the People's Choice Award.
02.11.2017 - 05.11.2017
Tiber River
Eleven Magazine