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Graduated from Politecnico di Milano, with a thesis about the city of Porto, where she studied at FAUP (in the years 2002-2003 and 2005), PhD student in Architectural Composition, Carlotta Torricelli is tutor at the Iuav University of Venice, lecturer at the School of Architecture Urban Planning Construction Engineering AUIC of Politecnico di Milano since 2011, and from the next academic year Associate Professor at the University of RomaTre.

She carries out research and teaching activities in the field of architectural and urban design, focusing on the poetics of 'other modernity'.

In 2012 she was a scholarship recipient of the Italian Cultural Institute C.M Lerici of Stockholm. In 2014 she published the monograph Classicismo di frontiera, Sigurd Lewerentz and the Chapel of Resurrection; in 2018 the volume Ricostruzione Inventario Progetto, edited with G. Rakowitz. In 2021 she edited the Italian edition of Fernando Távora's book Da Organização do Espaço.

TA lab, casa a ordini sovrapposti, Villafranca, photo Marco Menghi


I inherited the studio from my family, who passed on to me the idea that the development of an architectural project should be a craftwork carried out with care and passion and whose solution should never follow a standardised path but be defined case by case; in the tension between the abstract idea, the invention, the concept and the specific condition given by the location, the client, the request and many different factors.

TORRICELLI ASSOCIATI scuola Cesano Boscone 1979/1981 photo Paolo Rosselli

Then in 2010, within the studio, I founded the TA lab section with Sara Riboldi, which continues the design research and leads it towards new typological experiments, an atelier where themes are experimented and the relationships between theoretical reflection, specific conditions and implementation are investigated.

Sara and I are the new generation of this studio and we felt compelled to carry on an already existing working method. I believe that architecture is a craftwork, and that the transmission of knowledge must also go through that kind of process.

TA lab, casa a ordini sovrapposti, Villafranca, photo Marco Menghi


I mention two experiments we conducted in the early years, one related to the working world and its transformations, and the other to the inhabiting world.

About fifteen years ago, the coworking sector was developing considerably and we made changes in workspaces. Offices divided into individual cells became large open spaces, collective workplaces that had to be transformable and adaptable.

TA lab, Domotica Labs, photo Marco Menghi

After the pandemic, this open space typology in the working environment has been transformed again and many customers now ask us to revisit old projects.

The other experiment concerns the inhabiting world, the home, the private residence, which has mutated so much over the years.

TA lab, Casa a ordini sovrapposti, Villafranca, photo Marco Menghi

In our interventions, we pay close attention to the relationship between the conceptual idea and the living experience inside the home, and this gives uniqueness to each of our projects. We try by all means to rewrite the history of the families we work for each time, to pay attention to the human history of the spaces we remodel or build from scratch.

Cantiere Mantova Curtatone


As a professional, one of the problems of current events that I encounter is the one I deal with specifically, namely the transformation of the existing building heritage into new buildings.

Milan is changing extremely fast, even through extraordinarily important interventions. However, it seems we are moving away from that fundamental relationship that must bind the new, also from a technical and constructional point of view, with the pre-existing, often very valuable, building.

Cantiere Pagno

This is an important aspect that I became aware of during my studies in Portugal. In Italy, at the time, there was a great separation between the work of the architect designer and that of the restorer. Instead, what I learnt from the lesson of architect Fernando Tàvora is that these two disciplines achieve excellent results when they work alongside each other.

The topic is highly topical and makes the architect's work more sustainable, not only in terms of energy efficiency but also in broader terms towards the responsibility we have in the transformation of reality. It’s possible to do highly modern projects even within old buildings without the designer feeling victimised by the existing architecture.

TA lab Casa a ordini sovrapposti, Villafranca, photo Marco Menghi


I believe that a topic on which we can still experiment a lot is that of school buildings; it’s a project that I’ve been pursuing together with Sara through a series of competitions, and it’s the work that I’ve been doing with my students at the Milan Polytechnic in recent years.

The pandemic has highlighted this problem most clearly, so as a teacher, I took the opportunity of the emergency and rethought what it means to teach today and what kind of spaces are needed.

TORRICELLI ASSOCIATI, Scuola materna elementare media, photo Marco Introini

An interesting aspect that I’ve noticed is that in the first years of university courses, the design of kindergartens or nursery schools represents an excellent field of experimentation, as it leads to consideration of the first space - or better the first home - that an individual, still a child, experiences outside his or her family.

This is a sensitive issue on which we should also reflect a lot about the issue of flexibility of spaces, new technologies and the new materials with which we can build.

The City of Milan, with which the Politecnico has shared the planning on the rethinking of some schools, has shown itself to be very sensitive to the issue. It’s therefore hoped that these didactic experiments will also have operational consequences.

Padiglione Infanzia, concorso per Asilo


The design process in the architectural composition is never a one-way operation: it must consider the reciprocal relationship between idea and place, a kind of dynamic at close quarters that creates a new form.

I often work in open spaces such as the countryside where I transform rural buildings into residences. The most interesting thing for me is the search for the specific traces of the place, something to cling to in order to give continuity to its memory, to implement an intervention that is artificial, but not necessarily conflicting.

Cantiere Pagno

The other thing I care a lot about is the responsibility of adapting the abstract design idea to the geographic specificity of the place based on the type of resources available; it’s necessary to pay attention to what the place offers to avoid the process that leads it to become distorted.


As far as my teaching activity is concerned, I often ask myself why I teach, and the answer always falls back to the fact that teaching is not a one-way process. It requires deepening personal research to be reflected in others. In the sense of reciprocity lies great wealth.

I teach Urban Architectural Design and I do it by sitting at the drawing table with my students, working with them, discussing and trying to lead them to develop their own design thinking.

In this case, the less authoritative my work is, the more effective the results.

Casale a Moncalvo


I had the opportunity to edit and translate into Italian for the publisher Nottetempo, Dell'Organizzazione dello Spazio, by Fernando Tàvora, a great master of Portuguese architecture, whose birth centenary falls this year.

The reason I wanted to translate his text into Italian, in addition to the esteem I have for his thought and his teaching model, is the concept of the human value he gives to the figure of the architect.

In Portugal, I had the chance to be in contact with masters who made me understand the importance, as human and social beings, of experience and knowledge as primary values of our profession.

Unfortunately, in Italy, architecture is strongly oriented towards the scientific-technological side because of the sectorisation of disciplines. It’s certainly a fundamental supporting part of our profession, but we lose sight of the many other cultural aspects that find a form of synthesis in the architectural project.

Giving shape to spaces that have the sense of being part of people's existence and history, the permanent setting of their lives, requires knowledge and culture, essential components to make an intervention not only unique but full of meaning.

It isn’t enough to build a series of perfect structures if the essence of the story to be told is missing. An architect must know how to narrate a space and I’ve learnt this from great literature.

If you are not aware of this, you run the risk of being a very good technician but of losing that component that binds this profession to the humanistic field, as well as to the artistic disciplines.

by DMM

for Dare Clan


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