The origins of European architecture and urbanism are always traced to Rome. Roman building continues to be a primary source and reference point for design, whether it be for material use, for construction methods, for spatial organization, or for advising the hierarchy and proportions of a building relative to its individual components. It is doubtless that contemporary Roman architects draw from this built history in which they are immersed and, for many, in which they have lived and were educated. While many Rome-based practices work on projects sited in cities around the globe, the focus for a great number is on the renovation and rehabilitation of heritage buildings and urban sites within Italy. Whether local or international in their work, the most talented Italian architects practicing in the 21st century are those that have discovered unique ways of successfully combining the standard rules of the ancient past with ground-breaking innovation. Selected here are 25 of the most forward-thinking architecture firms operating out of Rome today:
Studio Fuksas, led by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas and founded in 1967, is an international architectural practice with offices in Rome, Paris, and Shenzhen. Over the past 40 years, the company has developed over 600 projects receiving numerous international awards, with a staff of 170 professionals. Its vast compendium of completed projects includes Rhike Park, in Tbilisi, Georgia. The building consists of two softly-shaped volumes clad in stainless steel panels, which house a musical theater and exhibition hall.
Massimo Alvisi and Junko Kirimoto founded the architecture office Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners in 2002. It has completed projects ranging from the Bulgari Winery in Southern Tuscany to the Molino Casillo Headquarters in Puglia, the Naples Fine Arts Academy Theater, as well as residential buildings and temporary pavilions. Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners has cooperated with OMA on the project management of the ex-Mercati Generali project in Rome and the Prada Foundation in Milan, as well as with Renzo Piano Building Workshop on the Rocca di Frassinello Winery in Gavorrano.
OFL Architecture was founded in 2009 by Francesco Lipari and Vanessa Todaro. The studio, based in Rome and Sicily, is an interdisciplinary architectural practice that focuses on emergent design processes by integrating architecture with other disciplines. The work of OFL Architecture has been internationally exhibited and published, having been included, for example, in the CUT'N'PASTE exhibition at MoMA. Its projects include Zighizaghi, a multi-sensorial urban garden realized in Favara, Italy.
In a rapidly evolving world, cities are facing complex challenges. SCAPE Architecture designs architectural projects that are adapted to their context by combining an innovative collaborative working approach and the know-how of its multicultural team. SCAPE was founded in Rome by Ludovica Di Falco in 2004, and has since expanded to include an office in Paris. SCAPE has completed diverse projects that include the new SNCF Rail Operating Center, an urban logistics facility, and a campus for the SNCF in the northeast of Paris. SCAPE drew on its Italian origins to design the project for SNCF with the characteristics of a Renaissance villa: it is an iconic building, defined by a walled enclosure housing a microcosm of gardens, living, and working areas.
Based in Rome, Labics is an architectural and urban planning practice founded in 2002 by Maria Claudia Clemente and Francesco Isidori. The name practice’s namesake draws on the concept of a laboratory as a testing ground for advanced ideas. Combining a theoretical approach with applied research, the office’s work extends from interior small-scale projects to urban master plans. Its portfolio includes Città del Sole in Rome, an urban regeneration project for residences, commercial spaces, offices, car parks, and public spaces, built on a triangular site that was a former public bus depot.
Margine is an architectural firm founded in 2012 by Giulio Ciccarese and Valentina Pontieri, two architects who share the same vision for an architecture capable of narrating and supporting the transformation of space to meet changing needs of humans, nature, and society. The studio “tackles the enhancement and protection of the landscape and the design of networks for sustainable mobility and slow observation.” Margine’s interesting portfolio includes Dots Office, a renovation project commissioned by a construction company based in Puglia, the design for which included wrapping an existing building with a system of sunscreens in perforated sheet metal.
3GATTI is an interdisciplinary innovative design studio that integrates cutting-edge architecture and the visual arts. Founded by Francesco Gatti in 2002, 3GATTI is a group of architects, designers, artists, builders, and thinkers based in Rome and Shanghai. 3GATTI specializes in the design of complex projects for public, commercial, and cultural buildings. Architecture, art, research, and development are the playground for a continuous ethical commitment. Its projects include the Nanjing automobile museum and the Shanghai “Red Wall” mixed-use development.
STUDIOTAMAT is an Italian architecture and design studio based in Rome. It was founded in 2014 by Tommaso Amato, Matteo Soddu and Valentina Paiola, who are united by their passion for energy and environmental issues, industrial design and attention to detail. The studio’s design method is based on the search for balancing the usability of space with the functionality of its materials. STUDIOTAMAT’s work includes residential architecture, interior design, exhibition design and retail projects. In 2015, it won the competition for the renovation of the Rowing Club on the Tiber River in Rome, and the following year, that of the Italian Pavilion for the 67th Berlin Film Festival. Its portfolio also includes Gawa, an open air, temporary restaurant project situated on the banks of the Tiber river in the neighborhood of Ostiense, Rome.
Viennese-born architect Markus Scherer founded his studio in Rome in 2001. His work has covered a wide range of topics with a focus on the revitalization of listed buildings, wineries and exhibition designs. The studio has completed projects ranging from the revitalization of the fortress of Franzensfeste, to a building for the Italian winery Nals Margreid.
Punto Zero is a studio based in Rome with a portfolio of projects constructed across Italy. It was founded in 2020 and is run by partners Giorgio Marchese, Arianna Nobile and Silvia Firmani, based on the philosophy that architecture has an ethical function, as well as a practical and aesthetic one. Inhabitants of projects are the “Punto Zero” for which a space is measured, conceived and designed. Punto Zero deals with projects ranging from the renovation of residential and commercial interiors to interior design, temporary installations and urban spaces.
11. Altro Studio
Altro Studio was established in 1998 by an interdisciplinary group that originally included an architect, artists, a historian and an urban planner. It initiated research that focused on various forms of housing to understand the changing needs of the individual. Research continues to propel the studio, which today focuses on new technologies and materials with a particular concern for environmental sustainability.
Carola Vannini Architecture focuses on interior design. Her approach stems from her diverse international experiences and respect for the use of existing contemporary architectural languages. Her design strikes a balance between the best of old and new with a careful eye towards a clients’ aesthetic and functional needs, involving them in the entire creative process to yield unique, coherent and personalized designs.
Westway Architects was founded in 2005 by Luca Aureggi and Maurizio Condoluci with offices located in Rome and Milan. In its 15 years of activity, Westway Architects has completed complex projects which synthesize knowledge from different disciplines. Its portfolio includes the redesign of a winery and industrial buildings of the Santa Margherita complex in Portogruaro, a new residential and commercial building along the historical via Monte Grappa in Milan, shops for Nike, the auditorium for the Caltagirone Group in Rome, as well as private residential projects.
Enrico Realacci Architectures Studio, founded in 1999, focuses on the creation and transformation of cultural and exhibition spaces, working environments and living spaces, with special attention paid to the reuse of existing buildings. It is a creative, flexible and specialized studio, capable of managing complex projects and has a design philosophy based on three key points: a search for sense by posing questions before finding answers, the construction of balanced systems sensitive to each user, and a search for technological innovation. Its portfolio includes the rehabilitation of the Piazza Madonna di Loreto in Rome, for which it designed an elliptical and transparent glass canopy to preserve archaeological remains while retaining public visibility.
Nemesi is an architectural and urban design agency based in Rome, Milan and Shenzhen. It is a network originally founded in 1997 under the guidance of Michele Molè and, since 2004, in collaboration with Susanna Tradati. Nemesi has significant experience in the design of offices, residences, infrastructures, cultural and leisure spaces, public buildings and master plans, with a view to satisfying the different needs of public and private clients. In response to the specificities and challenges of the contemporary world, Nemesi’s approach is characterized by the ability to focus on the potential of the project, enhancing its functional, environmental and economic aspects. Its outstanding portfolio includes the realization of the Italy pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo.
16. Nooow Architects
Nooow Architects is a studio that works in the different fields of architecture, urban planning, design and graphics. The studio was founded by architects Karolina Studzinska and Daniele Panci in 2011 and is based in Tivoli, Rome. The projects are developed through a careful analysis of customer needs and the context in which the work fits, making sure that they are as unique as the people and places that inspire us.
Carlo Berarducci Architecture is an internationally recognized architectural firm based in Rome. The studio works with a consistent design approach at a wide range of project scales, from architecture and urban scale to interior and furniture design. The studio has realized a number of residential complexes and large developments in Rome, as well as urban projects in Italy, France, Germany, Libya and the UK. The studio delivers designs with a simple and clear shape configuration, open and fluid spatial organization, and using materials made to touch. Its projects include Haus Bavaria, a contemporary intervention within an UNESCO protected urban environment in Germany.
18. Archea Associati
Archea Associati is an architecture studio founded in Florence in 1988 by Laura Andreini, Marco Casamonti and Giovanni Polazzi. It is composed today of a team of more than 80 architects, operating in Florence, Milan, Rome, Beijing, Dubai and Sao Paulo. Archea Associati’s research activities range from landscape to the city, from building to design, from graphics to publishing. Some of its most important projects include the Antinori Winery near Florence, the World Ceramic Art City in China and the Kiss Bridge in Vietnam.
Established in 2001 by Matteo Monteduro, Emiliano Roia and Andrea Quagliola, MORQ is an internationally positioned yet locally engaged firm based in Italy and Australia. Its work, ranging from small scale residential and retail spaces to large landscape and urban plans, is the recipient of numerous awards and has been widely published internationally. The founding partners are also committed academics and regular contributors to design lectures and exhibitions. MORQ is dedicated to the making of meaningful spaces within simple and thoughtful buildings, spaces that are intimate yet open, utilizing shades of natural light that change throughout the day and are activated by the emotive and sensorial qualities of materials.
n!studio is an international architecture studio founded in Rome in 1991, with completed buildings and projects in Italy, France, China and Vietnam. The studio has focused its activities on the design of public works and international architecture competitions, specializing in the creation of cultural buildings and the recovery of historic buildings. The studio works to advance architectural research in the experimentation of new sustainable materials and technologies.
Nir Sivan Architects (fka associates) is a dynamic and creative practice whose international projects are of architectural, sculptural and experimental significance. Founded by architect Nir Sivan in 2012, and based in Rome, the company is also currently setting up a practice in Brazil. Design approach: they believe that the creation of architecture and design should not be limited by conventional instruments, but expanded through a multidisciplinary approach. The terms ‘sculpture’ and ‘automotive design’ are common in their everyday language and influence their way of thinking. They pay special attention to the continuing evolution of technology and planning methodology.
22. Studio Strato
Studio Strato was founded in Rome in 2007 by Martino Fraschetti and Vincenzo Tattolo. It is an experimental, research-based studio focused on the intersections between architecture and interior design, with a portfolio that includes residential, commercial and cultural projects. It considers each intervention as an interesting opportunity to integrate a wide variety of disciplines. Its portfolio includes Clay House, a residential renovation project that investigates issues related to the relationship between the precision of contemporary architectural design and the imperfections of the construction materials used at the beginning of the century.
Established in 1982, Lazzarini Pickering Architetti is a design oriented practice headed by Italian Claudio Lazzarini and Australian Carl Pickering, based in Rome. Lazzarini Pickering Architetti has developed an international reputation for continuously innovative design concepts for retail spaces, restaurants, interiors, nautical work, furniture and graphic design. The studio prides itself on its multidisciplinary nature and on the diverse designs it achieves through a confident but elastic approach to understanding and designing for complex realities.
modostudio is a multidisciplinary practice established in 2006 by three principal architects: Fabio Cibinel, Roberto Laurent and Giorgio Martocchia. The practice offers services in architecture, urban planning and industrial design. Profiting from the diversified skills of the founding partners and the continual collaboration with experts from various fields, modostudio combines architectural theory, research, innovation and experimentation with high technical knowledge and professionalism. The studio’s works have been exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Biennale of Public Space in Rome and at Shanghai Expo 2010.
25. Filippo Bombace
Rome-born Filippo Bombace manages an office operating in the fields of architecture and design. His projects are notable for their long and careful analysis of the expressive possibilities of the materials, on the evocative and composite qualities of the light, the study of execution techniques and for their integrated furniture designs. The studio’s work includes Casa Pietrina, a light-filled apartment renovation in central Rome for a Jazz musician.
The selection curated by the Archello editorial team is based on a mixture of the amount of featured projects and the views they generated.