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
One great way of reflecting on Rome is to go elsewhere for a few days and then come back. For the past couple of days that place has been Brescia and Lake Iseo, site of Christo’s latest site-specific art work, Floating Piers (and I’m writing on the train back toward the Capital). … read more
Of the many public parks in Rome none is better known than the Villa Borghese which comprises nearly 200 acres to the north of the Spanish Steps. Long the property of the wealthy and noble Borghese family, the gardens were purchased by the Italian state after the unification of Italy and make public in 1903 and are today a destination for those seeking green space, but also culture.… read more
At MAXXI recently (18 December 2015) 25 projects were unveiled for 25 quadrants of greater Rome. Inspired by the 1978 Roma Interrotta project exhibit which saw 12 international architects address the planning of Rome’s historical center, this initiative, titled Rome 20-25: New Life Cycles for the Metropolis addressed the city at a much larger scale.… read more
The language we use to talk about cities charts a map of our urban world-views. Defensive cities became Mercantile cities which then became Industrial cities, described by Dickens and depicted by Dore’ as smoggy and blight-ridden, invoking thinkers like Ebenezar Howard to envision Garden cities. … read more