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The Seaside Institute | The Pienza Institute
The Seaside Prize

The Seaside Pienza Institute

The Seaside Pienza Institute convenes an interdisciplinary group of professionals each year to visit beautiful, historic environments in order to distill lessons that can guide 21st century development. Pienza, the first Citta Ideale (City of Ideas) of the Renaissance, is the primary subject of study; the embodiment of the principles of humanism, it continues to provide lessons for town building.


Proposed Dates: October 7 - 13, 2011

The architecture of New Urbanist developments is one of the keys to their success. Many of the most beautiful of these have been built with New Classical and Traditional Architecture.

This revival of Traditional and Classical architecture follows many such revivals in the course of history. During the Renaissance, the revival of Classical architecture was a key part of the Humanists' revival of all aspects of Classical culture and presented a vision of a new, more humane way of building cities. In the 18th Century, the architecture and treatises of the Renaissance served as inspiration for an architecture created for a democratic society, as well as for ways of creating more sanitary cities.

By revisiting these past revivals, we can learn valuable lessons to inform our current practices.

The 2011 Seaside Pienza Institute program will visit three places in Italy to experience examples of these revivals, including 20th and 21st Century buildings and gardens. These visits will provide the setting for presentations of current work by some of the leading traditional and classical architects of our time and serve as inspiration for post-presentation discussions.

Pienza, the Val d'Orcia and Cecil Pinsent
We will begin in Pienza, the first ?Citta Ideale? of the Renaissance. Pius II, with Alberti and Rossellino, created a series of room-like spaces which overlook the Val d?Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most beautiful agricultural landscapes in the world.

In the Val d?Orcia, the Villa LaFoce is a remarkable example of how a traditional agricultural landscape can be preserved and adapted for changing economies and times. It is also a superb example how a 20th Century architect was able create new architecture in harmony with the traditions of the region.

When the Origo family bought the property in the 1920s it was derelict. They spent their lives restoring the landscape, its traditional buildings and building new structures. Their architect was Cecil Pinsent, an English architect who practiced in Italy between the two World Wars. His work at La Foce includes the Fattoria, or working part of the Villa; a chapel in the church of Casteleuccio; numerous residential buildings; the remarkable gardens of the villa; and a cypress-lined, serpentine farm road that has become an icon for Tuscany.

Cecil Pinsent in Fiesole
Much of Cecil Pinsent's work is in Fiesole. He designed the restoration of several villas and created some of the most beautiful gardens in the world on the hillsides near Florence. These include the Villa Medici , Villa Le Balze and Bernard Berenson's I Tatti.

Pier Carlo Bontempi, Parma and Reggio nell' Emilia
Pier Carlo Bontempi has devoted his life to finding ways of building traditional architecture with contemporary building technologies. His work in the region around Parma includes insertions of new construction in historic town centers, a classical villa and Fonte S. Mathilde, a golf resort designed as a village. His latest work is a museum for Franco Maria Ricci located in a truly extraordinary garden.

Email us for more information about the 2011 Pienza trip.

The program will be limited to 50 participants.

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2011 Pienza Institute Program



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