Rome Prize 2010-2011

Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller are winners of the Founders Rome Prize in Architecture 2010-2011.

Starting this September, they will both spend 11 months at the American Academy in Rome, developing their project entitled Hackable Infrastructures: Inhabiting the Margins of Contemporary Rome.The project extends and tests AGENCY’s previous speculative projects,hackable infrastructures for the contemporary city.

We would like to thank the Academy and the Board of Trustees for supporting us and our project, and for providing us with what will surely be the opportunity of a lifetime.

We would also like to thank The MacDowell Colony, for its generous support of the initial research and project proposals that make this project possible.

Below is a brief project description and outline of research and work to be completed during our time in Rome:

We propose to study the forced movement of the Romani in Rome, to establish an understanding of the contemporary city as a network of superimposed degrees of mobility, to find sites of convergence where the Romani and the Roman might benefit from co-habitation, and to propose infrastructural and architectural frameworks to enable the preservation and co-habitation of Roma and Roman culture.

Drawing on a rich history of Roman infrastructural and civic typologies that have been repurposed over the course of the city’s legacy, and engaging the current objectives of the rapidly developing metropolis, we will investigate appropriate forms for such an intervention.  Developing and testing our speculations of a “hackable” infrastructure for the contemporary city, we will benefit from direct contact with Roma and Sinti culture, its advocates, and the designers and planners of modern Rome to develop site-specific infrastructural interventions that address the intensifying Roma housing and sociological crisis.

We hope to further develop our relationships with Roma advocates, and architects for the City of Rome, who can provide assistance and guidance in developing our research and proposals, and communicating our ideas to improve Roma conditions.  With their support, we will be able to visit Roma / Sinti camps throughout metropolitan Rome, and experience first-hand the conditions we plan to address.

The project will be realized in the form of architectural drawings, digital and physical models, and architectural renderings.  Research and support material will be produced through a variety of data visualization techniques, utilizing datasets from city government and other sources (GIS mapping, demographics, population density, traffic patterns, etc.) to visualize the confluence of Romani and Roman cultures and appropriate sites of exchange.

The final product will take the form of an illustrated research text and architectural portfolio of the proposals, outlining a new agenda for the responsible development of metropolitan Rome.  Specific to the local conditions and populations of Rome, but applicable in a larger sense to the problem of the city in a rapidly urbanizing and globalized world, the work will serve as a prototypical case study on the feasibility and potential effects of actively embracing the margin, while rethinking the priorities of city planning, urban development, and architectural design.

For a complete list of 2010-2011 Rome Prize winners and projects, and to download a PDF of the Rome Prize Ceremony Brochure, please visit the Academy’s website.

Stay tuned for project updates and developments on life and work at the Academy.