‘Like ephemeral rainbows appearing from nowhere and dissolving into the sky, 20 colourful lightweight temporary bridges / hotels spring with lightning speed over the Tiber in Rome for the year 2000’. - this was the motto for this project, conceived by Cezary M Bednarski while a Rome Scholar in Rome in 1996.

Archaeological remains and shortage of land paralyse construction projects in Rome, but space above the Tiber is plentiful and free from archaeological remains. The Project Rainbow 2000 was a proposal to provide over 2000 temporary modular hotel bedrooms located on 20 new bridges. They would have catered for some of the 40 million tourists and pilgrims that were expected to visit Rome in the year 2000 to celebrate Anno Santo 2000 and the first year of the third Millennium. Each temporary bridge would have provided 100 high tech modular rooms with some of the most delightful views in Rome. Access from both sides of the Tiber would have reduced the coach traffic around the one-way Lungotevere system and encourage pedestrian movement. Serviced and supplied from electric vans, the hotels would have provided only bedrooms and receptions. Carefully located they would have stimulated local economy – the pilgrims would have use local bars, restaurants etc. Like colourful beads on the ‘thread’ of the Tiber each of the bridges would have had a different colour, all derived from rainbow hues. One would stay in, say, the ‘blue bridge’ or the ‘yellow bridge’. Sculptural, playful and serving as platforms for a variety of art events, small trade and tourist information, the bridge would have created a lively festive environment along the Tiber, bringing people to the river, helping to regain it as an amenity for Rome and becoming a potent symbol of forward looking dynamism of the city. In January 1999 Comune di Roma agreed to build some hotel bridges but it was too late to find investors although Gilberto Benetton and Richard Branson both liked the idea.

project developed with Jane Wernick from Ove Arup and Partners, and Davis Langdon Everest

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