Fall 2018, lecture by Paolo Brescia.

Lecture by Paolo Brescia (OBR Open Building Research).

1024 680 Kent State University, Florence Program | College of Architecture & Environmental Design

Paolo Brescia, founding partner at OBR Open Building Research, based in Milan, will lecture on Tuesday October 23 at Palazzo Vettori. Paola Giaconia will introduce his presentation.

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.

Fall 2018, lecture by Gabriele Mastrigli.

Lecture by Gabriele Mastrigli.

1024 683 Kent State University, Florence Program | College of Architecture & Environmental Design

Architect and critic Gabriele Mastrigli, professor of “Theory and Design” at University of Camerino, will be our guest at Palazzo Vettori on Tuesday October 2, 2018. He will deliver a lecture, titled “Archive S, M, L, XL”, as part of the “Theories of Architecture” course directed by Marco Brizzi.

Gabriele Mastrigli is an architect and critic based in Rome. He teaches “Theory and Design” at University of Camerino. He has also previously taught Architecture Theory and Studio at Cornell University and the Berlage Institute of Rotterdam. His articles and essays appeared many magazines including “Domus”, “Log” and “Lotus international”. He edited Junkspace, a critical anthology of Rem Koolhaas’ seminal writings (Quodlibet, 2006, Payot, 2011). He recently curated “Superstudio 50”, an extensive exhibition about the Florentine radical group, held at the Maxxi in Rome. In this occasion he published the volume Superstudio Opere (1966-1978), (Quodlibet, 2016).

Fall 2018, lecture by Gianluca Peluffo.

Lecture by Gianluca Peluffo.

1024 683 Kent State University, Florence Program | College of Architecture & Environmental Design

Architect Gianluca Peluffo will be our guest at Palazzo Vettori on Tuesday September 25, 2018. He will deliver a lecture, titled “Blessed are those who have an identity”, as part of the “Theories of Architecture” course directed by Marco Brizzi.

Founder of Gianluca Peluffo & Partners Architecture in 2017 and previously founding partner of 5+1AA (Italy-France 1995-2017), Gianluca Peluffo is Professor and Researcher at IULM University in Milan where he explores the relationships between Art and Architecture, Architecture and Cities, the role of Public Architectural works, Beauty as a creation of poetic space, dialogue between differences, the relationship between Architecture, Literature, Poetry and Visual Arts.

Spring 2018, lecture by Carsten Primdahl.

Lecture by Carsten Primdahl (CEBRA).

1024 681 Kent State University, Florence Program | College of Architecture & Environmental Design

Carsten Primdahl, founding partner at CEBRA, based in Aarhus, will lecture on Tuesday April 17 at Palazzo Vettori. Paola Giaconia will introduce his presentation.

CEBRA was founded in 2001 by the architects Mikkel Frost, Carsten Primdahl and Kolja Nielsen. In April 2017, architect MAA Mikkel Hallundbæk Schlesinger entered the group of partners. Based in Aarhus in Denmark and in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, CEBRA employs a multidisciplinary international staff of 50 architects, constructing architects, urban planners and landscape architects, who all share a strong passion for architecture. CEBRA has gained recognition through award-winning projects in Scandinavia and a growing international portfolio in Europa and the MENA region. Most CEBRA projects are within the fields of education, culture and housing –  thought, designed, and built in line with their mantra – Architecture with attitude.

“At CEBRA we want to change the way to think, design and build architecture. We are always pushing artistic and architectural boundaries – pushing these boundaries with a CEBRA attitude and a Nordic mindset that combines our artistic approach to architecture with an understanding of its cultural context. We design architecture by listening to and understanding our users and clients and studying their context, culture and climate. Our services cover all project phases – from client advisory and user involvement and concept and project development to project and construction management as well as technical supervision.“

Squint/Opera - Flooded London (Office)

Lecture by Jules Coke (Squint/Opera).

1024 512 Kent State University, Florence Program | College of Architecture & Environmental Design

Jules Coke, co-founder and CEO at  Squint/Opera  based in London, will lecture on Tuesday April 10 at Palazzo Vettori. Marco Brizzi  will introduce his presentation.

Squint/Opera are a creative company, a large and talented team crafting extraordinary and unique work across many disciplines – from video content and animation, to interactive exhibitions, branding, websites, design, games and strategy. We work across different sectors, from the built environment, to arts and culture, children’s entertainment, events and placemaking. Our goal is to always produce great work, and to have fun.

Spring 2018, LOOK AT ME NOW! workshop at Kent State University Florence CAED. (Photo: Anna Positano).

LOOK AT ME NOW! Spring 2018 workshops.

1024 720 Kent State University, Florence Program | College of Architecture & Environmental Design
The week after midterm reviews (March 19 – 22, 2018), students enrolled in the Architecture and in the Interior Design programs at Kent State University in Florence attended the fourth 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. participated in the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – Fundamentals (Biennale Venezia, 2014) with ‘Elements’, a movie montage of short architecture-related clips, conceived specifically for the introduction room of the exhibition ‘Elements of Architecture’, curated by Rem Koolhaas, the Office for Metropolitan Architecture and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He has been published in national and international architecture magazines such as Abitare, Icon Design, and The Architectural Review. He is co-author (with Alberto Iacovoni, Rome) of the graphic novel / architecture essay Playscape (Edizioni Libria, 2009), exploring the public space as an exciting and promising testing ground of possibilities.
On Thursday March 22, 2018 the students made a final presentation of the works produced in the course of the workshop in the lecture hall at Palazzo Vettori. Paola Giaconia, professor and Kent State University Florence CAED coordinator, 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:

Lecture by Ludovica Di Falco (SCAPE).

1024 683 Kent State University, Florence Program | College of Architecture & Environmental Design

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 (Labics).

1024 683 Kent State University, Florence Program | College of Architecture & Environmental Design

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.

1024 686 Kent State University, Florence Program | College of Architecture & Environmental Design

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.

150 150 Kent State University, Florence Program | College of Architecture & Environmental Design

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.