Borderline Metropolis

Created for the ‘Uneternal City’ exhibition, presented at the 11th Architecture Biennale in Venice in 2008, ‘Borderline Metropolis’ represents a vision of the future growth of Rome, expressing ideas fundamental to Labics’ approach to urban design.

Borderline Metropolis is an ongoing research project which addresses the high level of fragmentation and urban ‘instability’ across the city of Rome and formulates a new strategy for addressing this, based on the concept of physical and conceptual ‘borders’.

Labics’ research investigates new ways of transforming the territory, going beyond the rather closed approach of traditional urban planning and promoting instead an open, networked and flexible urban plan. This new approach starts from the edges of the city rather than the centres, overcoming the idea that a city is formed from single nodes and introducing a new concept of network. The structure of ‘borders’ within the city can be activated in different stages and with different types of programme, in contrast to the development of a preconceived final form for the entire territory.

The research addresses three main themes of urban design on different scales:

- the concept of instability, and how this urban condition can preserve the openness, incompleteness and vitality of the city

- the idea of scalability of design instruments to allow the urban territory to be addressed at multiple scales

- the emergence of a new city model conceived as an open and structured system


This theoretical approach has been applied to Labics’ Città del Sole and Torrespaccata projects, both currently in design development.

Design: Labics (Maria Claudia Clemente, Francesco Isidori)
Architectural team: Dominique Réthans (project leader), Susan Berardo, Leonardo Consolazione, Laura Di Simone, Riccardo Memeo, Eileen Valenti
Model: Gaia Maria Lombardo, Domenico Santoro, Paola Bettinsoli, Laura Di Simone, Rodrigo Vargas
Video: Piero Perilli

Exhibition Uneternal City in 11.International exhibition of Architecture “Out There: Architecture Beyond Building” a cura di Aaron Betsky - Venice 2008