Founded in Florence in 1988 by Laura Andreini, Marco Casamonti and Giovanni Polazzi, Archea is a architecture studio in which more than 100 architects work in Florence, Rome and Milan. In 1999, the founders were joined by Silvia Fabi, coordinator of the studio’s design activities. Thanks also to the collaboration with partner companies in Beijing, Dubai and Sao Paulo, the studio has realized works of Architecture, Design, Interior Design and Graphic Design all over the world. Archea Associati’s interests and research activities move from the landscape to the city, from building to design and, while focusing on architecture, the projects range from graphics to publishing – with the direction and editorial staff of the international architecture magazine “Area” – from exhibitions to applied research. The complementarity between the different activities focused on composition in relation to the various scales of the project opens a constant critical reflection on the themes of the construction of architecture.
In addition to research in the design field, each member of the firm carries out a parallel activity in the Faculties of Architecture in Genoa, where the architect Marco Casamonti is Full Professor of Architectural and Urban Design, and in Florence, where the architect Laura Andreini holds the Chair of Architectural and Urban Design.
Over the years, the firm has been invited to important competitions in Italy and abroad, and has received numerous prizes and awards, as well as being invited to participate, with the main works created, in several editions of the Venice Biennale Architecture Exhibition.
Among the most important projects is possible to include: the Municipal Library of Nembro (Bergamo), the extension and redevelopment of the Perfetti Van Melle headquarters in Lainate near Milan, the new Antinori Winery in Chianti Classico in San Casciano Val di Pesa, Florence, the Yanqing Grape Expo near Beijing, the Li Ling World Ceramic Art City in China, the Colle Loreto residential complex in Lugano, the recovery and transformation of the former Wines Warehouse of Trieste in Eataly, the recovery and transformation of the Central Market of La Valletta in Malta. Currently under construction are, among others, the Forevergreen commercial and residential tower in Tirana (Albania), the Changri-La winery in Penglai (China), the residential complex San Donato and the renovation and transformation of the Ex Cinema Astra 2, both in Florence (Italy).
Laura Andreini (Florence, June 17, 1964), Marco Casamonti (Florence, April 13, 1965), Giovanni Polazzi (Florence, December 19, 1959), architects, graduates of the Faculty of Architecture of Florence, founded in 1988, in the same city, the Studio Archea to which Silvia Fabi joined in 1999.
In addition to the main activity related to the experimentation in the design field and to the realization of architectures at different scales of intervention, from the object, to the building, to the urban project, each member of the firm combines an integrated research activity in the disciplinary field of architectural design within different Italian Faculties of Architecture. In particular, Marco Casamonti is Professor of Architectural Design at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Genoa and Laura Andreini is Associate Professor of Architectural and Urban Design at the Faculty of Architecture of Florence. This activity has been accompanied over the years by an intense work of in-depth study and critical reflection on the themes of architecture disseminated through essays and writings published in books and magazines in Italy and abroad, the organization and construction of exhibitions, events, workshops related to the project. Since 1997, Marco Casamonti has been the editor in chief of the international architecture magazine “Area”. From 1999 to 2013 he was co-director with Paolo Portoghesi of the magazine “Materia”; from 2006 to 2008 he was scientific director of the Foundation “Annali dell’Architettura e delle città, Napoli”.
The studio has created a series of works of architecture that have been published in major international magazines and books and have been selected for important architectural exhibitions and reviews. Archea has participated in many of the most important national and international architectural competitions and consultations, obtaining numerous awards and prizes: in 1999 it won the third prize for the new headquarters of the Faculty of Architecture in Venice. In 2001 and 2002 he was a finalist in the projects for the High Speed stations of Turin and Florence and in 2003 he was one of the nine Italian groups selected by Immobiliare Novoli for the construction of a block in the Ex-Fiat areas in Florence. In 2004, with architect Rafael Moneo, he was called to participate in the competition for the new Palazzo del Cinema in Venice. In 2005 he won the competition by invitation for the construction of one of the 10 towers inside the masterplan for the new center of Tirana. In 2005 he won the international competition by invitation promoted by Pirelli Re and Morgan Stanley – ex-aequo with Michael Maltzan Architecture – for the former Ansaldo area in Milan in the area Bicocca. In 2007 he ranked second in the competition for the “Parco della musica e della cultura di Firenze” and since 2006 he has participated in various competitions in China, including the important project for the Meixi Lake Cultural Center in Changsha in 2011.
In the context of exhibitions and events the studio participates, organizes and plans numerous exhibitions and events. In 1996, with the Stop Line Amusement Center in Curno (BG), the studio was invited to participate in the Italian section of the 6th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia; in 2002, with the House in Leffe, it was selected for the International Stone Architecture Exhibition and the Italian Architecture Exhibition in Tokyo entitled “From Futurism to the Possible Future”; in 2008 the project of the Library of Nembro was selected for the exhibition organized by the Design Museum of London and in 2010 it was exhibited at the exhibition “AILATI Riflessi dal futuro” within the 12th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. In 2011, the MuBe, Brazilian Museum of Sculpture in Sao Paulo, Brazil, hosts the monographic exhibition “ARCHEA Sustainable Landmarks”, presented in 2012 at the T Art Center in Beijing.
Among the projects realized are the new Municipal Library of Nembro and the Campeggio Albatros in San Vincenzo, Livorno, in 2007. In 2008, the Edison Library was inaugurated in Livorno, in 2009 the new Town Hall in Merate, Lecco, and the Municipal Library and Auditorium in Curno, Bergamo. In 2010, as part of the Universal Exposition, Archea realizes Pavilion B3-2 in the Urban Best Practices area of Shanghai. In 2011 the expansion and redevelopment of the company headquarters of Perfetti Van Melle in Lainate, Milan was completed; in 2012 the Green Energy Laboratory in Shanghai was inaugurated. The new Antinori Winery in San Casciano Val di Pesa, the Day Centre for the Disabled in Seregno, the International Grape Exhibition Garden in Yanqing, the Liling World Ceramic Art City in China and the transformation of the Former Wine Warehouse in Trieste have just been completed.
Work is in course to build a multifunctional Tower in Tirana and the redevelopment of the Piazza a Mare in Durres, both in Albania, the Shangri-La Winery and the Chang-li Winery in China. Inaugurated in November 2019 the New National Stadium of Albania in Tirana.
Currently about one hundred collaborators from different regions and universities in the world work at the offices in Florence, Milan and Rome.