Just time to carry out their first projects and a group had already formed around two students from the architecture faculty in Valle Giulia. The Orizzontale collective is now made up of Jacopo Ammendola, Juan Lopez Cano, Giuseppe Grant, Margherita Manfra, Nasrin Mohiti Asli, Roberto Pantaleoni and Stefano Ragazzo. Their home is an office in the Pigneto district and they work with public space. They focus on initiatives which, for a brief period, modify urban public space, usually abandoned. While they were in the testing phase, few examples of similar groups existed, and those that did were mostly self-financing and in other countries. After the first partnerships with neighbourhood associations and community centres – creating links between the project and local communities – they started looking farther afield. The turning point was their participation in the 2013 Federico Maggia Prize, with Habitat, which involved the conversion of the Maurizio Sella Biella wool mill. A year later there was the ZAC project – the transformation of Largo Milano in Cinisello Balsamo, a former car park turned into a building site.
And then, in 2014, everything came to a head with 8½, built in the MAXXI in Rome for the YAP – Young Architects Program, a competition for young architects in collaboration with the MoMA. The Orizontale collective works on the borderline between activism, research and the study of architecture. Sometimes they experience first hand the irritation of citizens who, seeing them at work, take them for part of the institutions and therefore targets for protest. And in fact, rather than providing solutions to transform architectural spaces, they prefer to create conditions that allow citizens to communicate, taking into account all possible reactions. In this way, they have ended up working at the same time for a museum in Rome and in an abandoned space in the suburban district of San Basilio. And in the workshops that they organise, they are ready to pass on their legacy.
The story of Orizzontale has been written by Francesco Longo, writer.
The Orizzontale collective is now made up of Jacopo Ammendola, Juan Lopez Cano, Giuseppe Grant, Margherita Manfra, Nasrin Mohiti Asli, Roberto Pantaleoni, Stefano Ragazzo. It is based in Rome. It studies solutions for public spaces and counts among its many prizes the fourth edition of YAP MAXXI.