American architect Tom Rankin has lived in Rome, practicing architecture and teaching, since 1991. He received his Master's in Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a BA in Architecture at Princeton, and a "Laurea" in Architecture at Università di Roma ‘La Sapienza’. He was founder of the successful non-profit cultural travel association Scala Reale and continues to support culturally and environmentally sustainable travel as a partner in Rankin & Greene LLC. Tom teaches at the Università di Roma “La Sapienza” (School of Engineering), the California Polytechnic Rome Program in Architecture and the Iowa State Rome Program. He is a Fulbright, a proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum, a founding member of ISAR (isarome.org) and Director of the association Tevereterno Onlus. Tom is the author of Rome Works: An Architect Explores the World’s Most Sustainable City and has written numerous articles on sustainable urbanism and presented frequently at conferences. His blog on the Still SustainableCity was chosen by Guardian Cities as the best Italian city blog and is a reference point for sustainable urbanism in Rome.
Rome is great, especially in the spring, but once in a while I find an excuse to escape to Orvieto, in southern Umbria, one of the closest cities to Rome that has managed to free its historic center from automobiles.
Once was on our honeymoon; although we were directed to Firenze we got a late start and Orvieto seemed a nice town along the way.… read more
The countryside around Rome, while not quite as picturesque as Tuscany or Umbria, is rich with fascinating destinations for exploration — and eating.
This weekend I drove out to visit my friends Jenny and Umberto in Palestrina and was rewarded with an in-depth tour of one of the most densely layered towns in Lazio: from prehistoric settlements (now lost), alleged Pelasgian roots evidenced by massive walls of opus poligonale, and most importantly the imposing sanctuary of Fortuna, all of this built prior to year zero.… read more
Join us for an informal bilingual discussion about Rome, its resources and challenges, its magic and mundanity, the hourly headaches and the monthly miracles.
Architect Tom Rankin is author of the book Rome Works: An Architect Explores the World’s Most Resilient City and the blog Sustainable Rome sustainablerome.net… read more
This semester I have tasked my students from the Cal Poly Architecture Program with studying a neighborhood of Rome that has always fascinated me, Trastevere East, opposite Ponte Palatino. After years of looking at unwieldy and problematic sites, from Porta Portese to Testaccio to the Fori Imperiali archaeological park, I decided to move back to the historic center, to focus on the dense urban fabric that makes Rome great.… read more
Reflecting, after the earthquake in Central Italy, about the country’s ecological risks
Shortly after the 2009 earthquake in l’Aquila I was invited to attend a meeting of the Commissione Nazionale Grandi Rischi, part of Italy’s civil protection organization. The subject was calamities, whether environmental or anthropic, and how to prepare and respond.… read more
What would happen if Italy’s most brilliant workers were tasked with civic roles?
I went to the Roma Capitale Ufficio Relazioni con i Cittadini the other day to check on why I had no response to my emails. Nice offices, with great art by Alice Pasquini behind the photocopier.… read more
TEVERETERNO Director Tom Rankin, a long-time friend of Tevereterno and supporter of its efforts to reactivate Rome’s urban riverfront, has announced that he is stepping down in order to dedicate time to other projects and teaching.
During Tom’s three-year period in office the organization grew dramatically, establishing for the first time a tangible local headquarters in Rome and a strong public presence globally.… read more
Over a decade ago I first had the privilege of visiting the early Christian sanctuary tucked into a corner of the forum below the imposing cliff-like ruins of the imperial palaces. In addition to containing a rare collection of wall paintings spanning the 6th – late 8th centuries, this is an interesting example of adaptive reuse of a pagan structure into a church, made all the better by the fact that its burial under the Palatine hill in the 9th century effectively preserved it for a thousand years.… read more
Rome’s biggest contemporary art work was unveiled on April 21st 2016 with great festivities and will be visible for years to come on the walls of the Tiber riverfront. Launched by the local non-profit organization Tevereterno Onlus, for which I served as Director since late 2012, the work was an extraordinary team effort with a list of credits to rival Hollywood productions.… read more
Cool off in the shade of pine trees, feeling the breeze waft across the hills from the Apennines to the Mediterranean. Duck into centuries old churches for a lesson in passive cooling: the masonry walls are so thick the heat won’t reach the interior until the end of summer!… read more