A dark triangle in the middle of the desert. The clean lines of the waterfront in Porto Brandão, in the suburbs of Lisbon. The transformation of a former NATO base in the Balkans into a modern university campus. The project of a modular stadium in Tétouan, Morocco. When I realised that I would not be able to meet the guys from Ultra Architettura personally, as they were all travelling around Europe, I thought that it was right that way, since nothing could clip the wings of such a strong internationalist flair.
The studio came up in 2012, in Frascati, from an idea by Emanuela Ortolani, Michela Romano and David Vecchi, three study mates from the architecture faculty at La Sapienza University in Rome, a group that Emilia Rosmini, an engineer, joined soon after. Immediately, the studio presented itself as a real likeness to a Roman pontifex, a figure that could throw up bridges between opposite shores to allow the incommunicable to be understood. This is the same role that Ultra has: to understand and sublimate the changeover from the ancient, solid world, to understand architecture and the love for foreign things, the passion for competition and for research in the field. «Ours is a monumental, solid, matter architecture, even nostalgic in a certain way, that wishes to have an exchange with the territory without corrupting itself», Michela tells me on the phone. Work and ideas have been rewarded: the studio was called upon to test themselves in the design of the Morocco pavilion at the fourteenth Biennale in Venice. They achieved the Premio Federico Maggia, they took part in Europan 12 and won with their project in Portugal. The studio takes part in many national and international competitions and collaborates with many overseas architects. Travertine as a minimum idea, the desire to give the territory the possibility of expressing itself with the changing landscape, and the idea that nothing is more interesting than building the future respecting the past, even if it is difficult like living in a desert.
The story has been written by Matteo Trevisan, writer.