Lecture by Ludovica Di Falco.

Ludovica Di Falco, director at SCAPE based in Paris, France and  Rome, Italy, will lecture on Tuesday February 27 at Palazzo Vettori. Paola Giaconia  will introduce her presentation.

The word SCAPE refers to a broad notion of landscape, a point of view ranging from the near prospect as far as the horizon. The basis of SCAPE’s mission is the determination to retrieve the twentieth century Italian tradition of architecture and engineering; to return to a type of project design that respects formal research, maintains a dialogue with history, is aware of technical and constructional aspects and of context. Research that encompasses different scales and involves, as the name indicates, the various meanings of panorama: from landSCAPE to citySCAPE.

To achieve its objectives SCAPE is equipped on the one hand with the most sophisticated digital tools, necessary to compete on a global scale and, on the other hand, with an organizational structure that favors on-site presence and working with local firms: medium size concerns that are therefore well-established in the context. The firm’s techno-digital efficiency is mainly manifested by the adoption, since 2010, of the BIM philosophy (Building Information Modeling): it stands as SCAPE’s affirmation of its desire to bring construction back to the centre of the design process.

Over recent years SCAPE has distinguished itself in numerous national and international competitions. In 2008 the French Ministry of Culture and Communication awarded SCAPE with the “Nouveaux Albums des Jeunes Architectes.” In 2010 the firm received the “Romarchitettura 4” prize for best First Work (restoration of an Art Deco villa in Rome), and in 2013 the “Leaf Award” for best Work-in-Progress, the National Museum for Italian Judaism and the Shoah in Ferrara (Special Mention). In 2014 SCAPE is awarded as “Giovane talento dell’Architettura Italiana 2014” for the project Multifunctional building ZAC des Lilas, Paris. In the same year, SCAPE wins the First national award “BAR E RISTORANTI D’AUTORE” for Bancovino project in Rome . In 2015 the firm received the “The Plan Awards 2015” in the Sport&Leisure category for the project Multifunctional building ZAC des Lilas, Paris.

Spring 2018, lecture by Maria Claudia Clemente.

Lecture by Maria Claudia Clemente.

Maria Claudia Clemente, founding partner at Labics in Rome, Italy, will lecture on Tuesday February 6 at Palazzo Vettori. Marzo Brizzi  will introduce her presentation.

Based in Rome, Labics is an architectural and urban planning practice founded in 2002 by Maria Claudia Clemente and Francesco Isidori. The name of the practice – Labics – expresses the concept of a laboratory, a testing ground for advanced ideas. Combining the theoretical approach with applied research, the field of interest of the office extends from the interior small scale to the scale of urban masterplans, going through the different scales and complexities of the project.

Since the beginning, Labics’ work has captured the attention of critics and journalists, and the practice is now firmly established among the new generation of Italian architects. In December 2003, just a year after the practice was founded, the US journal Architectural Record positioned Labics as one of the most important architectural talents to emerge in recent years in its Design Vanguard issue.

Participation in design competitions has always been an important activity within the practice, allowing experimentation with new typologies and techniques. Labics has won several national and international architectural competitions, including CDU, a mixed-use university building for medical education in Rozzano (2003-2004); the MAST (Manufactory for Art, Innovation and Technology) in Bologna (2006-2013) and the Città del Sole development in Rome (2007-2016).

Labics has experienced projects over a wide range of scales and contexts, and has a particular interest in the contemporary city and in the relation among architecture, urban structure and public space. Labics’s interest in the relation among city and public space has also been developed through the theoretical research project on Rome, Borderline Metropolis, which was exhibited at the 11th Venice Architecture Biennale.

Mixing Metabolisms symposium.

Mixing Metabolisms symposium.

On Wednesday November 20, 2017 a symposium, co-produced with Syracuse University and California State University, Florence programs, will take place at Palazzo Vettori.

The symposium, titled “Mixing Metabolisms: Old Cities and New Residents”, is curated by prof. Lawrence Davis, Undergraduate Chair at Syracuse University School of Architecture. It develops a discussion around transformations in the built environment caused by changing influences on cities, in particular shifting demographics, weaker political consensus and the resulting social fragmentation that seems to be happening in both North America and Europe.

Speakers in the symposium will be: Marco Brizzi (California State University and Kent State University), Lawrence Davis (Syracuse University School of Architecture), Camilla Perrone (Università di Firenze), with the participation of Giancarlo Paba (Università di Firenze). The symposium will also feature a selection of videos from The Architecture Player.

Mixing Metabolisms symposium.

The area of practice, teaching and research of prof. Davis examines the exurban built environment, mainly in North America. The evolution of Anglo-American values illustrated through its low-density garden cities dominate much of the form, space and symbolic meaning of its built environment, especially in residential zones. To this end, he has been writing a book on the revitalization of North American exurbs, especially portions of America’s sprawl that are aging and loosing economic value. These malleable sectors of diffuse urban territory are frequently the most affordable in a metropolitan area and are most open to change caused by transforming family and related value structures. The book notes that such an ebb and subsequent adjustment in the life cycle of cities is nothing new and suggests that this soft moment in the history of exurbia is an opportunity to re-think, renew and improve these built environments to address issues of climate, technology but most importantly their ability to accommodate and illustrate the values of cultures from around the globe that have recently arrived there.

To this last issue, one of the chief ingredients in the possible second-life of aging peripheral North American city is the gradual influx of immigrants, most of non-European descent. The social and spatial impact of these relatively new residents I argue is very promising.  The appropriation of dying shopping malls by local Asian developers from California to Ontario and the relaxed zoning of Hispanic suburbs are just two examples of this healthy transformation of older exurban towns. Despite this new energy, it is important to note that many see this demographic trend in opposite terms, as a cultural threat to the identity of communities that are historically based on a conventional suburban model of the private house on the lawn.

Europe seems to be experiencing similar cultural and social stress.  The chief difference is that the new cultures arriving in Europe have done so more quickly and in large numbers as well as into a built environment and society that is far older and more established. Can these new residents and potential influence be viewed optimistically in Europe? Can they offer new economic, social and spatial life to the cities of this older continent? Will they add a new dimension to the definition of what it means to be European? The answers to these questions may begin a comparative discussion of the phenomena on either side of the Atlantic and point to a constructive way forward.

The symposium “Mixing Metabolisms: Old Cities and New Residents” is to stimulate fresh thought about the future of North American exurbs and European cities triggered by many factors but in particular positive pressures brought by the relatively recent arrival of non-traditional cultures.

Savage Architecture exhibition and symposium.

On Tuesday November 29, 2016 the project Savage Architecture -an exhibition first hosted at Architectural Association in London and a book published by Black Square, both curated by Davide Sacconi- will be presented in a symposium at Kent State University in Florence. The project recounts the research at the intersection between architecture and anthropology developed in the last fifty years by Gian Piero Frassinelli (former member of Superstudio) and his recent collaboration with 2A+P/A (architectural practice based in Rome).

Gian Piero Frassinelli and 2A+P/A (Gianfranco Bombaci and Matteo Costanzo) will discuss the project together with Kyle Miller (Syracuse University in Florence), Gabriele Mastrigli (curator of the “Superstudio 50” exhibition at MAXXI), Marco Brizzi and Paola Giaconia (Kent State University in Florence); a unique opportunity to explore Frassinelli’s important role within the famous Florentine collective and to debate the long lasting influences and the operative potential of Superstudio’s work in the contemporary condition.

Savage Architecture presents a journey to the root of the relationship between architecture and man in four episodes. Departing from Frassinelli’s unpublished proposal for an Anthropology Research Center (1968), lingering on the dystopic and revealing scenarios of The Twelve Ideal Cities (1972), the trajectory culminates in the recent collaborative projects by Frassinelli and 2A+P/A for the Budapest Ethnographic Museum (2014) and the Central Archive of Human Cultures (2015). This fifty years-long journey among different experiments unveils the foundations of a project alternative to the current blind faith in the economic and technological reason. The anthropological gaze gives form to an architecture that is savage because it refuses to impose the power of reason over the symbolic, animal, vital and therefore political dimension of man.

Fall 2017, lecture by Ricardo Flores.

Lecture by Ricardo Flores.

Ricardo Flores, co-founder at Flores&Prats in Barcelona, Spain, will lecture on Thursday November 2 at Palazzo Vettori. Paola Giaconia will introduce him.

The studio of Flores & Prats Arquitectos is dedicated to confronting theory and academic practice with the design and construction activity. The office was established in 1998, after winning the competition for the masterplan of the historical neighborhood of Vilanova i la Geltrú. Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores designed and built several projects, such as the Nuevo Triunfo Hotel (Barcelona, 2001), the Mills Museum (Palma, 2002), the Yute’s Warehouse (Barcelona, 2005), or the Campus for the New Headquarters of Microsoft (Milan, 2011), the Building for 48 Dwellings (Guissona, 2005) or the Building 111 (Terrassa, 2010). They designed urban public spaces, such as the Fabra & Coats Gardens (Barcelona, 1999) or Pius XII Square (Barcelona, 2005); and site-specific installations for major cultural institutions and museums, including Tàpies Foundation, Miró Foundation and Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. At the moment they are completing the construction of the Cultural Centre Palau Balaguer in Palma de Mallorca. They recently won the competition for the New Theater Sala Beckett-Obrador Internacional de Dramatúrgia in Barcelona.

Spring 2017, LOOK AT ME NOW! Photography Workshop With Anna Positano.

LOOK AT ME NOW! 2017 workshop.


The week after midterm reviews (March 20 – 23, 2017), students enrolled in the Architecture and in the Interior Design programs at Kent State University in Florence attended the third edition of the LOOK AT ME NOW! workshop.

Instructors were two architects, photographers and video makers who are especially talented in portraying contemporary architecture in photography and in video and who have extensive experience running workshops: Anna Positano and Davide Rapp.

The Photography workshop was run by Italian architect and photographer Anna Positano ( Anna is a photographer and an artist, with a background in architecture. She graduated in Architecture at the University of Genoa, then obtained her MA in Photography at the London College of Communication. Her work encompasses the reciprocal influence between landscape and society and explores everyday places.  Her projects have been exhibited internationally, in art galleries and public institutions, such as La Triennale in Milan, the Venice Architecture Biennale, Cornell University, and Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art in Genoa. She works on commission for architects and public institutions. Her work is regularly published in international architectural magazines.

The Video workshop was run by Italian architect and video author Davide Rapp ( Davide holds a Ph.D. in Interior Design from the Politecnico di Milan.  He collaborated for 5 years, between 2008 and 2013, with architect Stefano Boeri on urban, architectural and interior design projects including – among others – “Sustainable Dystopias”: a research project that explores different ideas surrounding the reconciliation between cities and nature, exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2008. He participated as a contributor in the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, curated by Rem Koolhaas, with ‘Elements’, a movie montage of short architecture-related clips, conceived specifically for the introduction room of the main exhibition at the Biennale, titled ‘Elements of Architecture’. He was published on national and international architecture magazines such as Abitare, Icon Design and the Architectural Review.  He is co-author (with Alberto Iacovoni) of a graphic novel on architecture titled ‘Playscape’, published in 2009, exploring the public space as an exciting and promising testing ground of possibilities.

A special contribution to this year’s workshop was offered by Leonardo Chiesi, professor of Sociology in the School of Architecture of the University of Florence, who will introduce students to some preliminary social research methods for architecture, urban design and planning. The tasks assigned to the students in the 4 days of the workshop will further emphasize the fact that sociology and design can be mutually engaged.

On Thursday March 23, 2017 the students made a final presentation of the works produced in the course of the workshop in the lecture hall at Palazzo Vettori. Some students from the University of Florence who were also able to participate in the workshop activities attended the presentations. Marco Brizzi, professor of the “Video, Media and Architecture” theory course, offered a critical commentary on the students’ works


A selection of the photos made by the students under the guidance of Anna Positano can be seen here below:

Some of the videos made by the students under the guidance of Davide Rapp can be seen here below:

Spring 2017, lecture by Stefano Pujatti.

Lecture by Stefano Pujatti.

Stefano Pujatti, founder and principal at ElasticoSPA in Turin, Italy, will lecture on Tuesday April 11 at Palazzo Vettori. Marzo Brizzi  will introduce him.

For ElasticoSPA design is science-fiction rather than just a science.
It’s a balance between form and function, it’s innovation and realism, it means jumping forward keeping in mind what’s behind.
ElasticoSPA is precisely that, “Elastic” in its approach to design and architecture, and elastic in its approach to customers, manufacturers and end-users.
Elasticity means flexibility, and ensures that networking tensions are always kept to a minimum.
Elasticity means security: think of the net below the trapeze artist.
Elasticity means strength: think of David and Goliath.
We frequently see ourselves as trampoline artists. Our job is to keep our balance when everything around us is in a state of elasticity. To fly high you must keep calm, start and finish with your feet on the ground.
Design requires practical skills: it’s fine bouncing ideas around, ours stand up to the test of reality too.

Spring 2017, lecture by David Trottin.

Lecture by David Trottin.

David Trottin, founding partner at PÉRIPHÉRIQUES MARIN + TROTTIN ARCHITECTES, based in Paris, will be at Palazzo Vettori on Tuesday March 7, 2017 presenting recent works by his office. Marco Brizzi will introduce his lecture.

Inspired by the Dogma movement, PÉRIPHÉRIQUES ARCHITECTES structure was born in the mid 90’s from the fierce desire to go against the grain of established norms, to ask an innovative and offbeat look at their profession, focusing on the suburbs, on collective work and also on a different distribution of architecture and of architects’s works, through various publications. 

For more than 20 years, Emmanuelle Marin and David Trottin have been inscribing the practice of their profession in a collective register and a willingness to invite and share with other architects for specific collaborations or more durable ones on common projects. A trademark, an attitude: the “anti-ego”.

Spring 2017, lecture by Fuensanta Nieto.

Lecture by Fuensanta Nieto.

Fuensanta Nieto, principal at Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos in Madrid, will be at Palazzo Vettori on Tuesday April 4, 2017 presenting recent works by her office. Paola Giaconia will introduce her lecture.

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos was founded in 1985 by Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano and has offices in Madrid and Berlin. Along with being widely published in international magazines and books, the firm’s work has been exhibited at the Biennale di Venezia (in 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2012), at MoMA in New York in 2006, at the Kunsthaus in Graz in 2008 and at the MAST Foundation in Bologna in 2014. They are the recipients of the 2007 National Prize for Restoration from the Spanish Ministry of Culture, as well as the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (2010), the Piranesi Prix de Rome (2011), the European Museum of the Year Award (2012), AIA Honorary Fellowship (2015) and the Alvar Aalto Medal in 2015.

Their major works include the Madinat al-Zahra Museum, the Moritzburg Museum, the San Telmo Museum, the Zaragoza Congress Centre, the Joanneum extension in Graz, and the Contemporary Art Centre in Córdoba. Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos currently have projects in Germany, Spain, Austria, Estonia, Morocco, China, United Kingdom and France. Two monographs have been recently published about their work: “Nieto Sobejano. Memory and Invention” (2013) and “Fuensanta Nieto, Enrique Sobejano. Architetture” (2014).

Spring 2017, lecture by Dan Dorell.

Lecture by Dan Dorell.

Dan Dorell, principal at DORELL.GHOTMEH.TANE in Paris, will be at Palazzo Vettori on Tuesday February 7, 2017 presenting recent works by his office. Paola Giaconia will introduce his lecture.

Dan Dorell is one of the three founding partners of DORELL.GHOTMEH.TANE. Dan Dorell, Lina Ghotmeh and Tsuyoshi Tane opened their office in 2006 after winning the international competition for the Estonian National Museum, a 355-meter-long sloping glass building that rises from the runway of a former Soviet airbase near the city of Tartu that recently opened to the public. They practice Architecture, Urbanism and Space Design, collaborating with a multicultural team of 14 architects and professionals of interdisciplinary fields.

The team believes that the richness of Architecture comes from the fact that it is contingent upon other disciplines. For many of their projects, they seek to collaborate with professionals from different backgrounds: innovative engineers, artists, designers, scientists or sociologists. As such, DGT is working with photographer Fouad ElKhoury, designer Johnny Farah, conductor Seiji Ozawa, choreographer Jo Kanamori, fashion designers Yasuhiro Mihara and Akira Minagawa.

The practice’s creative process involves an archaeology of the physical, historical and social traces layered in the project’s place and time. This archaeological process, conducted in the form of in-depth research on the context, on the client’s vision and on the users of the projects, represents an important design tool and becomes an ‘integral’ part of the project that generates the ‘global specificity’ of it.

The partnership gained an international reputation through its design of the Estonian National Museum and through a series of cutting edge yet phenomenally sensitive projects. DGT is today one of the leading practices of the new generation of architects. It was awarded the NAJAP award by the French Ministry of Culture in 2008 and was nominated for the Ian Chernikhov prize in 2010.