Spring 2016, lecture by Helena Casanova.

Lecture by Helena Casanova.

Helena Casanova, co-founder with Jesus Hernandez of Casanova+Hernandezwith offices in Rotterdam, will be at Palazzo Vettori on Tuesday March 1, 2016 presenting recent works by her office. Paola Giaconia will introduce her lecture.

Casanova+Hernandez, founded in 2001 by Helena Casanova and Jesus Hernandez, is a design and research studio based in Rotterdam. It focuses on rethinking and designing our urban habitat in order to create vibrant cities while promoting environmental and social sustainability. Working with an interdisciplinary team and with experience developing projects in very different cultural contexts in Europe, South America and Asia, the office has expanded its capabilities and its international network through close and fruitful collaboration with experts in different continents.

Spring 2016, lecture by Sandy Attia.

Lecture by Sandy Attia.

Sandy Attia, co-founder with Matteo Scagnol of Modus Architects, with offices in Brixen, Italy, will be at Palazzo Vettori on Tuesday February 23, 2016 presenting recent works by her office. Marco Brizzi will introduce her lecture.

Sandy Attia and Matteo Scagnol partner as Modus Architects in the year 2000 after completing their graduate studies at Harvard University. The studio distinguishes itself for its heterogeneous approach to the field of architecture, combining the two different cultural and formative backgrounds into one platform for design ideas. Completed projects range in scale from infrastructure, to buildings, to objects within the buildings, and include public, institutional and private commissions. In recent years the practice has gone on to complete a number of critically acclaimed projects, including the Bressanone-Varna Ringroad, the Pre- School, Kindergarten and Family Center in Bolzano, and the Artist’s House and Atelier in Castelrotto—projects all located in the South Tyrol region of Italy. Subsequent to a series of national and international accolades, several new projects with a wider geographic reach are currently underway, marking a shift in their scope of work.

Spring 2015, lecture by Nanne de Ru.

Lecture by Nanne de Ru.

Nanne de Ru, co-founder with Charles Bessard of Powerhouse Company, with branches in Rotterdam, Copenhagen and Beijing (, will be at Palazzo Cerchi on Tuesday April 14, 2015 presenting recent works by his office. Andrea Ponsi will introduce his lecture.

Nanne de Ru is a co-founder of Powerhouse Company and the director of The Berlage Center of Advanced studies in Architecture and Urban Design. He studied Architectural Engineering at the Amsterdam University of Applied Science and received the Master of Excellence in Architecture in 2002 from the Berlage Institute, Postgraduate Laboratory of Architecture, in Rotterdam. From 2002 to 2004 Nanne de Ru worked at Rem Koolhaas’s AMO, the research branch of OMA, as lead researcher and designer. In 2005 Nanne de Ru co-founded Powerhouse Company, with branches in Rotterdam and Copenhagen. Nanne leads the Rotterdam team. Since beginning 2013 Nanne de Ru is Director of The Berlage. He has taught and lectured at schools across Europe, such as the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, the Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris and the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

Image: Villa L by Powerhouse Company (photo: Christian van der Kooy).

The Kent State Forum on the City: MADRID.

The Kent State Forum on the City: MADRID.

After Milan, Rotterdam, Rome, Genoa, Turin, CittaEmilia, and Madrid, the eighth edition of the Forum is dedicated to MADRID.

Our attention derives not just from the fact that Madrid is one of Europe’s largest metropolitan regions, a socially magnetic and cosmopolitan city that is culturally and economically alive. There are, in fact, several reasons for our choice: one of the most important is that Madrid seems to have emerged from the past 20 years as a leading center in Europe for design excellence. What underlies this quality? What strategies has Madrid recognized that allow it to succesfully face the difficult times cities worldwide are experiencing? What distinctive elements exist here, in the architects’ works, that may inspire future generations of designers?

Edited by: Paola Giaconia, Eugenio Pandolfini.
Publisher: dpr-barcelona, Spain (2013).
With contributions by: Burgos & Garrido arquitectos, Andrés Cánovas Alcaraz, Domenico Di Siena, José María Ezquiaga Domínguez, Juan Manuel Fernández Alonso, Davide Tommaso Ferrando, Paola Giaconia, María Belén Hermida Rodríguez, Juan Herreros Guerra, Eugenio Pandolfini, Salvador Pérez Arroyo, Gemma Peribáñez Ayala, Porras – La Casta arquitectos, Rubio y Álvarez-Sala, Federico Soriano Peláez, José Luis Vallejo Mateo, Gianpiero Venturini, West 8.

The Kent State Forum on the City: BERLIN.

The Kent State Forum on the City: BERLIN.

After Milan, Rotterdam, Rome, Genoa, Turin, CittaEmilia, and Madrid, the eighth edition of the Forum is dedicated to BERLIN.

Berlin has had a truly unique urban history and has undergone incredibly fast development with continuous demographic changes which in less than 200 years have made it not only the capital of Germany but also one of the key cities at global level, an authentic hub of ideas, projects, expectations and lifestyles. The Forum pays tribute to this incredible transformational power that Berlin has managed to have.

The grad students, studying in Florence in the Fall 2013 semester, visited Berlin with Giovanni Damiani and Thilo Folkerts, co- curators of the Kent State Forum on the City: BERLIN. They developed a series of cartographies of the city they observed, and presented them to the audience attending the event in Florence.

The Fall 2013 Kent State Forum on the City received the patronage of: Municipality of Florence, Ordine degli Architetti di Firenze (Florence Institute of Architects) and Fondazione Architetti Firenze (Florence Architects’ Foundation).


Edited by: Giovanni Damiani, Thilo Folkerts, Paola Giaconia.
Publisher: dpr-barcelona, Spain (2015).

With contributions by: Giovanni Damiani, Véronique Faucheur, Thilo Folkerts, Paola GiaconiaJeanette Kunsmann, Christof Mayer, Marc Pouzol, Ali Saad, Luka Skansi.

Spring 2015, LOOK AT ME NOW! photography and video workshop.

LOOK AT ME NOW! 2015 workshops.

The week after midterm reviews (March 16 – 19, 2015), students enrolled in the Architecture and in the Interior Design programs at Kent State University in Florence attended the first edition of the LOOK AT ME NOW! workshops.

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.

The Photography workshop was run by Spanish architect and photographer Miguel de Guzmán ( Miguel has been working for a good number of emerging Spanish architects, documenting their projects both in photography and in video. His photos have been published on the most influential architecture magazines, like Arquitectura Viva, El Croquis, A+T, Domus, a+u and C3. He was selected by ArchDaily as one of the 13 Architecture Photographers worldwide to follow today.

The Video workshop was run by Brazilian architect and video author Pedro Kok ( Pedro studied architecture at the University of São Paulo, Brazil (FAU- USP) and got his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, in the Netherlands. His videos have been featured in exhibitions internationally: at the Institute Tomie Ohtake in São Paulo (BR), at the MAXXI in Rome, at the Biennale di Venezia and at La Triennale di Milano (IT) and at the Centre Georges Pompidou (FR), among others. A selection of his videos, some of which commissioned by Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan, may be viewed here: pedrokok/videos.


On Thursday March 19, 2015 the students made a final presentation of the works they produced in the course of the workshop in the lecture hall at Palazzo Cerchi. Antonio Godoli, Director of the Architecture Department at the Uffizi, was invited to attend the presentations. Marco Brizzi offered a critical and theoretical commentary of the student’s works.

A selection of the photos made by the students under the guidance of Miguel de Guzmán can be seen here below:

Some of the videos made by the students under the guidance of Pedro Kok can be seen here below:

Spring 2015, lecture by Ricardo Flores.

Lecture by Ricardo Flores.

Ricardo Flores, co-founder with Eva Prats of Flores & Prats Arquitectos in Barcelona, Spain (, will be at Palazzo Cerchi on Tuesday March 31, 2015 to present recent works by his office. Paola Giaconia, coordinator for the Architecture and Interior Design programs at Kent State University in Florence, will introduce his lecture.

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.

Image: Model for the Casal Balaguer Cultural Centre by Flores & Prats Arquitectos.

Spring 2015, lecture by Filippo Romano.

Lecture by Filippo Romano.

Filippo Romano, documentary and architecture photographer ( will be at Palazzo Cerchi presenting his recent works on Tuesday March 3, 2015. The lecture will be introduced by Guido Incerti.

Filippo Romano studied documentary photography attending the Full-time Program at the International Center of Photography (I.C.P.) in New York. His works mostly deal with cities and urban dwellers. He is currently collaborating with the architecture section of the art publisher Skira, and his photographs have been featured on several inter national magazines, like Abitare, Dwell, Domus, Io Donna and Courrier International. In 2007 he won the Grant “Pesaresi/Contrasto” with the project “OFFCHINA”. He is the author of “Soleri Town”, a book about Paolo Soleri’s conception of Utopian Architecture. In 2009 he was selected at the exhibition “Joy” during the International Photo Festival of Rome with “Waterfront”, a series from the collection “Trieste”. In 2010 his work “Route 106” was exhibited at the Biennale of Architecture in Venice. In 2011 he took part in “Sao Paulo Calling” exhibition, with the project “Slum Insider” on the Slum of Mathare in Nairobi, in collaboration with he NGO LiveInSlums. He is currently a member of the Agency Luzphoto.

Image: ExpoGate by Alessandro Scandurra in Milan, Italy (photo: Filippo Romano).

Spring 2015, lecture by Paolo Brescia and Tommaso Principi.

Lecture by Paolo Brescia and Tommaso Principi.

The Spring 2015 public event series at Kent State University, Florence Program kicked off on Tuesday February 10, 2015 with a lecture by Paolo Brescia and Tommaso Principi, principals and founding partners at OBR, Milan / London ( The lecture was introduced by Marco Brizzi.

OBR Open Building Research was established by Paolo Brescia and Tommaso Principi in 2000 to investigate new ways of contemporary living, creating a design network between Genoa, Milan, London and New York, further extended to Mumbai and Accra. The founding partners Paolo and Tommaso worked together with Renzo Piano. OBR was awarded with the Gold Medal for Italian Architecture at the Milan Triennale in 2009 and received an honorable mention for Emerging Architecture at the RIBA Royal Institute of British Architects in London in 2007.

Image: Children’s Hospital by OBR Paolo Brescia and Tommaso Principi in Parma, Italy (photo: Mariela Apollonio).

Fall 2014, A Lightbox for Art workshop.

A Lightbox for Art workshop.

In Fall 2014 a 4-day workshop was offered to the students at Kent State University, Florence Program, organized by Paola Giaconia (Kent State University) and Franco Pisani (ISI Florence). The collaborative design workshop challenged students to engage -though briefly- in the study of issues, ideas and practical problems in the field of lighting design for exhibition purposes.

Students from Lawrence Tech University and Miami University (attending Kent State University, Florence program), from Marywood University and University of Hartford (attending ISI Florence),
and from the Università di Firenze took part in an intensive design charrette. Their task was to pick an art piece – be it a painting or a sculpture – from the immense Uffizi Gallery’s collection and conceive the best possible way to exhibit it inside a small pavillion (3 meters by 4 meters by 5 meters), taking advantage of natural light. Each team was asked to root its design in the art piece it chose: they analyzed it, its meaning as well its aesthetic characteristics of materiality, geometry, composition. A series of drawing and modeling exercises culminated in their design strategy to best exhibit the art piece, taking advantage of natural lighitng conditions.

A series of lectures further supported the students in their investigations.

The students’ focused and sustained effort was celebrated in a public presentation of their proposals and in a small publication.