ON THURSDAY JULY 9, 2009 AT 3 PM the ninth edition of BEYOND MEDIA, international festival for architecture and media, will open at the Stazione Leopolda in Florence, Italy. It includes a rich program of videos, exhibitions, and a symposium in which the protagonists of the international debate on media in architecture will participate. A plurality of overviews on architecture and its ever more intense relation with diverse media will be debated. The festival is open to the public through July 17.

The BEYOND MEDIA festival ( is back in Florence at the Stazione Leopolda, July 9 to 17, 2009. The festival will expose the audience to proposals for the near future with a series of interrelated events.

The theme for the ninth edition of the festival is VISIONS. It is dedicated to the conceptual visions produced by architects, the forms and the limits of various media, and the effectiveness of their expression in interpreting the needs of the architectural project to detach itself from the present and look beyond. Says Marco Brizzi: “It seems that, in the last few years, contemporary architects have lost their ability to pursue grand visions and to construct a broad outlook that engages complex transformations of the built environment. They are unable to construct thoughts and a conscience beyond that which is usual, empirical, and visible. The massive production and consumption of architectural images has resulted in a greater proximity to design issues by the general public. But at the same time, images alter the way people conceive of architecture, and they affect the ability and the opportunity to generate visions, and hence theories, that are deeply rooted in our time and, at the same time, receptive to new, possible scenarios.”

In its previous editions, the BEYOND MEDIA festival explored the changing conditions of intimacy and publicity of the architectural project (INTIMACY, 2003) and focused on the various forms of writing produced by contemporary architects and critics (SCRIPT, 2005). With VISIONS, the BEYOND MEDIA festival considers topics including figuration and representation, and will propose effective visions that may be useful in constructing a framework for the future.

The theme was conceived by the festival’s curator and shared by the wide and qualified festival’s advisory board. Its objective is to question popular convictions about the use of assorted media in architectural practice. A diverse group of experts in many disciplines will be involved: recognized architects and designers, journalists, writers, artists, philosophers, and graphic designers will participate in the talks and discussions. Videos will be presented and discussed; exhibitions will be set up for the occasion. The symposium, curated by Pietro Valle (Stazione Leopolda, July 9 to 12) will address the conference themes in 6 panels.

Twenty-five internationally recognized architects, critics, artists, historians and scholars have been invited to take part in the debate. They include Peter Wilson, Tony Fretton, Derrick De Kerckhove, Beatriz Colomina, Marcos Novak, Ruggero Pierantoni, Paul Polak, John Frazer, Alberto Garutti, and Mario Carpo. In the tradition of the festival, a program of 80 architecture videos (selected from over 600 international submissions) will be presented and on public view in order to construct an understanding of the issues that represent the world’s architectural thought and production, that interpret the potential of the audio-visual medium and qualify the architectural discourse. Special recognition will be given to three noted practitioners of contemporary architecture, “THE VIEW MASTERS”, who in different ways demonstrated peculiar and fertile employment of video: UNStudio, Zaha Hadid Architects, and MVRDV.

The exhibitions “URBAN VISIONS”, curated by Michele Bonino, and “SPOT ON SCHOOLS”, curated by Paola Giaconia, will present the results of a selected group of distinguished, international investigations carried out in 10 cities and 19 architecture schools. The “PRIME VISIONS” workshop, especially conceived for children, directed by the Spanish team, Que es arquitectura?, and organized in collaboration with the Istituto degli Innocenti in Florence, will offer to the youngest in the audience the possibility to explore architectural space. n addition, a series of special events that range from the reinterpretation of the famous exhibition “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape” (MoMA, 1972) to a debate on the remarkable case of the “Koolhaas Houselife” film by Bekafilm.

With VISIONS, the BEYOND MEDIA festival will encourage reflection and comparison, will promote discussion of emerging issues, and will involve young architects and artists who are active in the construction of contemporary architecture. The event has been constructed to promote imagination and collegiality. Squint/Opera will welcome the public at the entrance of the Stazione Leopolda with a VISIONS-themed installation; Antonio Piccirilli, together with NABA, will interpret the festival theme with the magic of a light installation; zpstudio has designed a “Tavolo della condivisione” (an Italian expression which suggests the idea of “sharing our visions around a table”). The table, located at the core of the exhibition area, is a place where the protagonists of the event will gather together with the guests and the public to share food, ideas and visions.

The Curators

Marco Brizzi, curator of the BEYOND MEDIA Festival

Marco Brizzi taught at California State University in Florence, at the Faculty of Architecture in Ferrara, at NABA in Milan. He gives lectures on topics related to the history and theory of architecture and to the relationship between technolgical innovations and the project; he participates in conferences and symposia and promotes cultural events in Italy and abroad. He is director fo ARCH’IT, since 1995 the first and one of the most widely read Italian digital magazine on architecture. He is advisor for the Mies van der Rohe Award and, as director of ARCH’IT, he was finalist for the Golden Medal to criticism awarded by the Triennale di Milano. He organizes events devoted to the promotion of contemporary architecture and to the enhancement of digital technologies. He is founder and president of Image, a company whose aims are enhancing the design discourse by means of a wider knowledge of media issues in architecture.

Paola Giaconia, curator of the SPOT ON SCHOOLS Exhibition

Paola Giaconia graduated with honors in architecture at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy. Recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, she received her Master’s Degree in Architecture from SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) in Los Angeles, where she worked for Morphosis studio. She couples her activity as a designer with scholarly research: she is visiting professor at California State University and at Kent State University, Florence programs. Paola has been lecturing on contemporary architecture and participating at round tables at various cultural institutions and schools of architecture. She contributes to the most important Italian architectural magazines. Her articles and essays have been published in “Abitare”, “ARCH’IT”, “Domus”, “Ottagono” and “Rassegna”. She is co-editor, with Marco Brizzi, of the catalogues of the last two editions of BEYOND MEDIA (INTIMACY and SCRIPT), and curator, since 2003, of the “SPOT ON SCHOOLS” exhibition. Her monograph on Eric Owen Moss (Eric Owen Moss. The Uncertainty of Doing) was published by Skira in 2006.

Pietro Valle, curator of the VISIONS Symposium

Pietro Valle, architect (Udine, 1962), studied architecture at the IUAV in Venice where he graduated in 1987 and at Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge where he received a Master of Architecture in 1989. He collaborated with the offices of Boris Podrecca in Vienna (1985-86), Emilio Ambasz in New York (1989) and Frank O. Gehry in Los Angeles (1989-90). From 1998 to 2008 he worked as an associate with Carlini & Valle Architetti Associati in Trieste. Since 1990 he has been collaborating with Studio Valle Architetti Associati in Udine where ha became an associate in 2003 and is currently responsible of the design department of the firm. Since 1992 he has been teaching as a visiting professor of architectural design in various universities, first in the USA (The University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Syracuse University, 1992-96) and then in Italy at the faculty of Architecture of Ferrara (1997-2007). He has been writing essays and reviews on many architecture and art magazines like arch’it (, Juliet, Lotus and Casabella. He is the author of two books; the anthology Arch’it Papers and the monograph Mecanoo, Experimental Pragmatism.

Michele Bonino, curator of the URBAN VISIONS Exhibition

Michele Bonino is assistant professor in Architectural and Urban Design at the Politecnico di Torino. He holds a PhD in History of Architecture and Urbanism. He has taught at Konkuk University in Seoul, at Tsinghua University in Beijing and at Sint Lucas School of Architecture at Bruxelles. He is responsible for the “projects” section in the Italian architecture paper “Il Giornale dell’Architettura”. He is the authors of 3 monographs and is curator and translator, with Daniele Vitale, of the writings by Ignasi de Solà-Morales. His writings have been published on “Cahiers de la recherche architecturale et urbaine”, “Abitare”, “de Architect”, “Controspazio”, “Parametro”, “Ilsole24ore-Domenica”, “Il Manifesto”. He founded MARC studio with Subhash Mukerjee, and their works have been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, at London Festival of Architecture, at the Milan Triennale, at the Venice Biennale. He was a speaker at the XXIII UIA World Congress of Architecture. Projects by MARC have been presented on “Casabella”, “Abitare”, “A10. New European Architecture”, “Monitor”, “Interni”, “arch’it”, “Diseño Interior”.

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