CIVILIVN transformed a former embassy in Palazzo Capizucchi—a 16th-century ecclesiastical residence in the heart of Rome—into a new academic center for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). The renovated space now serves as the CIEE Global Institute in Rome, helping advance the nonprofit’s mission of providing meaningful study-abroad experiences that prepare students to live in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world. CIVILIVN was involved in all stages of the renovation, supporting project management firm DBI with the initial property search and leading the project from the space planning phase through concept development and execution.
For the project, CIVILIVN took advantage of Rome’s unique concentration of traditional craft skills, creating a location-specific facility that enhances the experience of study-abroad students arriving in the city. CIVILIVN worked closely with local artisans and collectors to source handcrafted furniture and carefully restore the building’s historic elements. This included its baroque frescos, ornate wood-carved ceilings, hand-laid terrazzo floors, crystal chandeliers, and marble fireplaces and door frames. Throughout, the project’s sensibility pays homage both to the attenuated language of Baroque interior ornamentation and the asymmetrical geometries of 1950s Italian design. The result is a space where the program, architecture, and interior design coincide to offer study-abroad students a singular experience that is deeply rooted in the culture and history of Rome.
In collaboration with local architect AeV, CIVILIVN reorganized the existing 10,000-square-foot space—which included a trove of 18th’-century artworks and furniture—into a contemporary learning environment that supports CIEE’s mission and expands enrollment in Rome. A new reception area welcomes students and orients them in the building. Beyond, previously residential areas were converted to a series of learning spaces, including classrooms, seminar spaces, lounges, reading rooms, and offices for both faculty and administrative staff.