Architect and senior fellow of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology of Toronto University, I’m a member of the board of directors of the Italian National Institute of Architecture (IN/ARCH) in Rome, where since 2003 I am in charge of the Institute’s Master’s Program. My studies are rooted in the fields of architecture and philosophy of science with a special interest in biology and anthropology. Key words for my research are: Man, Space, Nature, Technique, Ecology, Interactions, Resources, Energy, Landscape, Footprint, Past and Future. My goal is to build critical understanding of the present to suggest useful strategies to build the future.
While continuing my activities with IN/ARCH, I am currently also teaching Architectural Analysis at Cornell in Rome, I am active part of the association Roma! Puoi Dirlo Forte and I am editing a new collective book about a regeneration strategy for the Tor Bella Monaca public neighbourhood (as a result of a two years research of the Inarch Master in Sustainable Architectures).
In 2015 I participated in the interdisciplinary research on Rome, led by Tobia Zevi, and hosted by Italiadecide. Association for the quality of public policies, as head of Planning and Environment, elaborating the report Inhabiting Rome. Notes on Urban Metabolism. The research activity ended up in the creation of the association called Roma! Puoi Dirlo Forte aimed to play a political activism to sustain Rome public arena.
In 2014, in behalf of InarchLazio, I curated a research project based on the collaboration between the Department of City Planning of the City of Rome, the Association of Roman Builders (ACER), the city Agency for Public Housing (ATER) and several architectural firms and consultants, called “Laboratorio Roma. Administration Business and Design Culture for Urban Regeneration”. The research aimed to develop pilot projects able to regenerate the existing city through a new “social” engagement of its developers. This experience became my last book (Laboratorio Roma, Aracne 2016).
In 2012 Luca Zevi chief curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, appointed me as curator for the final section of the exhibition The Four Seasons. Architecture for the ‘Made in Italy’ system, from Adriano Olivetti to the Green Economy. We called this section reMade in Italy. Four main topics made up the section: “soil sealing” and the need for re-generation strategies and practices; the “empty space” or the public space as the main place to build new social and environmental resilience; the “third sector” or the new economy which operates in between state and market, taking care of territories, places and resources; last but not least, the new virtual space of “social media” as a main tool to build community. These topics became three video narratives assigned to three Italian emerging firms, 2A+P/A, Arco’ Architettura e Cooperazione, Luca Diffuse, and one workstation to access an online virtual community, called GrandTouristas, curated by Stefano Mirti.
In 2012 I also edited the volume Architettura Produttiva. Principi di progettazione ecologica (Maggioli 2012), a theoretical-practical handbook to push architects to deal with waters, food, waste and energy (to close architectural metabolic cycles), and I published Paesaggi Sensibili. Architetture a sostegno della vita (duepunti edizioni, 2012) a book collecting my theoretical writings about technique, ecology, architecture and urban design.
In 2010, to explore the topic of energy and its relationship with the built environment, together with Alessandra Scognamiglio (Enea, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development) and Domus Architectural Magazine, we launched Forms of Energy a “call for proposals” to rally architects to send in projects where the topic of renewable energy was addressed. The projects we selected formed a collection of case studies published by Domus and presented at the 26th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition in Hamburg.
In 2005 I started an independent research project about the contemporary city, romaLab, with a special focus on Rome: bringing together several young roman architectural firms, we explored what we called “the last Rome”, the city built since the last decade of the twentieth century, looking at the dimension and quality of this growth, denouncing, in several public walks and talks, the lack of continuity and of public space.
In 2003 I began to collaborate with the National Institute of Architecture in Rome (IN/ARCH) for which I designed and coordinated several paths of advanced teaching: particularly, the post graduate masters in Emergent Technologies and in Sustainable Architectures. These masters, gathered under the general umbrella of Master of Digital Architecture, for more than 10 years have characterised the research and training activities of the Institute, having been the occasion for several public debates, events, meetings, workshops and exhibitions. Since 2003 I’m in charge of the masters scientific direction.
Between 2000 and 2002 I worked with professor Derrick De Kerckhove, director of the McLuhan Program, as a research assistant for the writing of the book Principles of Cyberarchitecture (Birkhauser 2001, of which I then edited the Italian translation for Testo & Immagine) and then as a consultant for research projects related to the themes of connectivity and smart cities.
In 2000 I wrote my first book, New Wombs. Electronic bodies and architectural disorders released at short distance in English (Birkhauser, 2000), Italian (Testo & Immagine, 2001), and Chinese (Prominence Publishing, Taipei 2002). The book explores the new space-time of “webness”, where connectivity does not only effect ourselves as human beings, but turns also the built environment in a new sensitive space. A space-time where buildings can talk to each other and with us, processing information and energy. Buildings are no longer simple inert and resistant (to environmental stress as well as to the life that inhabits them) containers, but are going to become sensitive spaces able to feel the human presence, so as to effectively use low-impact renewable energy.
My essays have been published in several collective books: ECOWEEK The Book #1: 50 Voices for Sustainability, Ecoweek 2016; Le Quattro Stagioni. Architetture del Made in Italy da Adriano Olivetti alla Green Economy, Electa 2012; Per un’architettura come ecologia umana studiosi a confronto, Jaca Book 2010; Media Corpi Saperi, Franco Angeli 2006; Mediazioni. Spazi, linguaggi e soggettività delle reti, Costa & Nolan 2005; Architettura e Cultura Digitale, Skira 2003; La conquista del Tempo, Editori Riuniti 2003. My articles have been published in Abitare.it, Arch’it, Arte e Critica, Artribune, CyberZone, Domus, Domusweb, East, Gomorra, Metamorfosi, il Manifesto, Il Progetto, Left, Noi Donne, Parametro, The Plan.