Vincent Callebaut envisions sustainable "eco-district" for Rome

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Vincent Callebaut envisions an eco district in the Eternal City's Flaminio quarter (Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures)

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Fresh from revealing his vision for a futuristic sustainable Paris, Vincent Callebaut has turned his imagination toward the Eternal City. The architect envisions transforming a large area of land in Rome's Flaminio quarter into a €270 Million (roughly US$286 million) upmarket "eco-district" called the Città della Scienza (or City of Science).

Callebaut's proposal comprises a series of renders depicting a conceptual sustainable urban center – with few hard details on how it would be built. It remains firmly on the drawing board at present, but if the project does go ahead, the City of Science will take up 8.6 hectares (21 acres) in an area of Rome containing military and industrial buildings that's situated between Zaha Hadid's Maxxi museum and the Stadio Flaminio.

Callebaut's plan calls for maintaining the existing industrial and military units and turning them into trendy lofts and indoor gardens, respectively. The concept depicts a space for hosting science exhibits, a sports center with soccer pitch, and seven-story tapering residential towers which are topped by a green roof and solar canopy. A number of art galleries, bars, and restaurants help reinforce the impression of an upmarket and hip residential district, too.

Like the architect's previous works, the proposal also features an abundance of greenery. Indeed, some of Callebaut's renders show trees stretching out far into the horizon, facades are clad in edible plants, roofs are home to orchards, and the entire site is pedestrian-friendly, with cars hidden in an underground car park.

Living up to its name, the area would feature a fair amount of sustainable technologies, and Callebaut name-drops rainwater collection for irrigation of public and private areas, solar hot water heaters, photovoltaic panels, on-site waste recycling, passively-cooled interior spaces, and an overall focus on energy-efficient design.

While interesting and arguably a harbinger of the general direction city planning could be headed in the future, don't hold your breath waiting for this particular project to be realized.

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