Results for the Rome 2010: Vertical Spa Competition have been revealed, and MORQ has been declared the second prize winner. MORQ is composed of three architects: Emiliano Roia, Andrea Quagliola and Matteo Monteduro. The competition challenged designers to consider the “belonging” to Rome and design a high tower whose spirit encompasses the historical complexity of the Eternal City. MORQ’s prize winning entry for a Vertical Spa suggested a tower that could define a new typology of buildings that could potentially determine the renewal of Rome in its future. Read on for more images and descriptions after the break.
MORQ’s competition entry takes Rome’s landscape and historic development from the forre, the tufa ravines out of which the initial shelters were carved. The carving out of the natural world into architecture is an element that MORQ’s design develops in a contemporary way.
The form of the tower is enclosed by a golden brown envelope composed of spray concrete with tufa aggregates that encase a steel structure. The exterior is punctured strategically to allow natural light to fill interior spaces and provide views to Rome below and beyond. The pierced exterior offers views towards the Colosseum and Tito’s Baths from the public spaces: pools, rest lounge and cafe. Panoramic views of the city are offered from hot tubs and urban terraces. The gentle landscape of the Alban Hills can be viewed from massage rooms.
The entry at level 0 is a lowered space that opens into a 12 meter high hall framing the Colosseum. The cell-like spaces of the saunas at levels 5 and 6 offer intimate and private spaces that project out and frame views. The cantilevered pool at level 9 creates an urban terrace that creates a cave-like atmosphere. Hot Tubs and Massage rooms at levels 14 and 18 are connected through ramps that offer west facing views out onto the city and create alternative circulation for the users. The horizontal hot tub spaces are punctured with multiple openings facing west through a glaze screen, north through rectangular openings and south through irregular carved holes. The west elevation allows users to read the complexity of the building through a cluster of spaces of various size and shape.
MORQ uses the conceptual tufa wall to relate to the development of Rome while elaborating interior spaces in a diverse way and allowing the tower to relate visually to many elements of the city. The tower ends abruptly by a flat terrace, embracing the forre and its natural development.