ROME 2010 Vertical Spa Design Competition 2nd Prize Winner / MORQ

Courtesy of

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 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.

Courtesy of Morq

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.

plan 01

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.

Courtesy of Morq

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.

elevations and sections 01

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.

Cite: Vinnitskaya, Irina. "ROME 2010 Vertical Spa Design Competition 2nd Prize Winner / MORQ" 30 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • javedani

    again trying to make an a historical face for a modern building.
    mybe on the contrary,making something clear,transparent,modern and minimal could be more respectful to this historic site.
    also mybe it would be better if they revealed the emplicit meanings and architectural principles behind the materials of the surrounding,historical area and then translated it to today’s architectural and technological language.

  • Booh

    I would like to argue… that anything that is 15 stories tall… will never be transparent…

  • Spacemonkey

    I’ve entered the competition website and in my opinion this should be the winner project.

  • nibe

    very strong, both conceptually and aesthetically.

  • John Smith

    yer these guys should of won and i cant believe these guys also have a firm in my home town Perth in West Australia no one even knows were we are lol
    check out some house they have been doing around WA very cool stuff

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