Maynard were recently selected as finalists for our Lighting Masterplan for the Urban Lightscape competition. This global lighting design competition called for innovative design concepts and solutions to revamp the EUR district of Rome, using lighting interventions to create a vibrant and engaging community network. EUR stands for Esposiziona Universale Roma and was originally designed as the site for the 1942 world fair, however due to WW2 the fair never took place. Benito Mussolini planned to open the EUR to celebrate twenty years of Facism and the site is a showcase to the most prominent Italian Architects of the time.
Initial research of the site highlighted its rich architectural history and the importance of re-establishing key elements of the original masterplan ‘Axis of Empire’ created in 1938-1942 by the Architect and Urban Planner Marcello Piacentini. The North – South Axis is a key component of Piacentini’s urban strategy, taken from traditional Roman urban planning, it serves as a hub of economic life as the central spine of EUR and is divided at right angles by four East – West avenues. These avenues connect key monuments and buildings. The avenues were originally labeled as: ‘the axis of civilisation’, ‘the axis of empire’, ‘the axis of Society’ and ‘the axis of entertainment’.
Following a decade of neglect post WW2 EUR was revamped during the 1950-1960s, establishing the district as the important business hub it is today. With the growth and emphasis of commercial developments the original avenue links became indeterminate and public space replaced by parking facilities for workers and visitors. The division between business and residents became more pronounced and the community spirit lost.
Our solution seeks to emphasise Piacentini’s original urban spaces, creating a stronger community by uniting the business and government workers with local business and residents. The competition had set criteria for key themes to be addressed within the masterplan to provide solutions for; Smart Economy, Smart Mobility, Smart Environment, Smart Energy, Smart Living and Smart Participation. Maynard identified four key opportunities for the site that would enable EUR to meet these objectives:
Improved Routes – Intelligent walkways using IOT technology to establish connections between the sites historic and future buildings. Aid smart mobility by reinstating the grand avenues to encourage more social interaction and participation within the community. Limiting the occupation of parked vehicles, connecting parks and entertainment areas to encourage exploration by foot and cycle.
Smart Networks – Maynard designed a mobile application that provides a personalised navigation system to guide pedestrians to key points of interest within the urban fabric. The App communicates with the Smart City IOT systems to encourage walking, cycling and the use of the public green spaces. Users are provided routes for walkways with the best air quality which is calculated by sensors in the street bollards.
New Attractions – Intelligent bollards are strategically placed throughout the EUR district. Each individually named, these makers act as a referencing system, providing a physical clue to assist in orientation. The bollards are fitted with beacon sensors and communicate with the visitor to provide real-time information on local area events and activities. The bollards LED fittings have intelligent sensors that adjust colour temperature to reflect the air quality in that specific location and sends alerts to the users mobile app advising on alternative routes. The installation of physical objects combined with the digital component ensures that the system can work holistically, rather that disperate areas in isolation.
Enriched buildings – The key feature of the site is the illuminated arch. LEDs are fitted within the lake, creating a gentle evening glow. The image created appears as a reflection of the originally intended ‘Archway to Rome’ linking the past with the future. The colour of the arch reflects the air quality of the site and creates a district wide platform of communication. Individual contributions become an integral part of the overall experience as the more people use smart, sustainable, transport solutions, the more the arch will benefit.
In addition to the overall scheme design Maynard have chosen three key buildings to celebrate through the use of minimal lighting methods. The scheme plays with the viewers understanding of architectural perspective, using strong contrast and graphic techniques to alternate between 2D and 3D perception of space. The proposed scheme links the past and the present through the subtle application of projections showcasing local artists in combination with original detail drawings and illustrations of artworks and mosaics originally intended for the site but never completed.