Terme Housing – The Perpetual Unfold (Retrofit)
University of Westminster
Final 4th Year Project

Terme di Caracalla – Rome

A trip to Rome outlined the second part of the years brief which was a retrofit theme. Not to be confused with insulating a house or living walls, in line with the behaviour affecting components of the first term the brief revolved around inserting briefs and programmes into the numerous redundant, ruined or under-used historical buildings in Rome. After spending a week spent visiting sites all over rome such as the Colosseum, Pantheon, EUR, Trajan Market, the Palatine and the Vatican, I decided to situate my project into the vast ruins of the Terme di Caracalla.

In 216AD the Terme di Caracalla was a large public roman baths more akin to a modern day ‘leisure centre’. The baths were open to free use by the public and the site contained two libraries, cold, tepid and hot rooms, gyms and a large open air swimming pool. The baths were heated using a vast hypocaust system and the water was brought to site via its own dedicated aqueduct. Within the 33 acre site the therme building was aproximately 230m by 120m in plan, and 40m in height. It was estimated to hold 1,600 bathers at a time. During this time the site contained a dynamic mix of activities, catalysing social interaction in varyed forms of human intercourse.

Today the Terme di Caracalla is a tourist destination. Occasionally the ruins are used for social gatherings like concerts or events, notably the gymnastics at the 1960 olympic games. Due to its current passive incarnation of its previous dynamism, contrasting not only with its own history but its archeological contemporaries throughout the rest of the city, I decided to situate my retrofit here.

Rome 2013

Rome 2063

Retrofitting the Terme di Caracalla is founded on a projective narrative for the city of Rome. Its based on a projection of Rome in 50 years with an expanding urban population, denser living conditions, rising global temperatures and scarcity of fresh water. As a result the Terme di Caracalla is subjected to a retrofit to attempt to alleviate these problems, reinitiating the site along some of its historical programmes and dynamics. The major aquatic themes of the project are compiled by Rome’s and the Terme’s historical affluence in this commodity, combined with the futurescapes that predict the opposite.

Rome’s Aquatic Urban Landscape
800BC – 2013AD

In this projection Rome’s historically developed aquatic landscape becomes prevalent to the increasing population and water scarsity. The expansive ruins also become pivotal in facilitating the situation of a growing urban population close to scarce resources and city jobs. At this stage the previously researched behaviour changing components were integrated to develop the programme with the Hypocaust system outlining the proposals socially condensing role, the step wells design influencing its collection of water to stage gathering spaces and the fan chair promoting a varied occupancy dynamism.

Kirigami Geometry Analysis & Application

Terme di Caracalla Site Plan

Typological Plan

Typological Section

Reservoir Housing Plan

Reservoir Housing Plan Cut

Baths and Housing intersecting the existing ruins

Baths and Housing intersecting the existing ruins cut

Long Section

Reservoir Short Section

Bathing Modules External Perspective

Internal Perspective

Bathing Module