Portrait of Dr Manolo Guerci

Dr Manolo Guerci

Senior Lecturer
Director of Graduate Studies
Erasmus Coordinator
Library Liason

About

Qualifications: Dip. Arch., M.Arch. (Laurea cum laude – Roma III), M.Phil. (Cantab.), Ph.D. (Cantab.), PGCHE (Kent), FHEA, FSA 

Manolo Guerci is an architectural historian trained both as an architect and historian in Rome, London, Paris, and Cambridge. His interests and expertise range from domestic architecture in Early-Modern Europe to Modernism, Japan, and Post War; from conservation principles and theories, to construction processes and building techniques. As part of his training on the conservation of historic buildings, he worked in France for the ‘Monuments Historiques’. In 2016, he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in London in recognition of his achievements in these fields. 

Dr Guerci joined the Kent School of Architecture and Planning (KSAP) in 2010, and is a member of CREAte, the Centre for Research on European Architecture. He teaches a range of subjects between design and cultural context throughout all stages. Prior to that, Manolo taught at Cambridge in the History of Art Department, where he carried out all his postgraduate studies. As an architecture student in Rome, he collaborated to research and cultural activities. Overall, he has been an active scholar and teacher in different countries for nearly twenty years. 

Manolo sits on the Strategy Group and is closely involved with the running of the school. He manages the Ph.D. programme as the Director of Graduate Studies, is the Erasmus Coordinator and Library Liaison Officer, and a member of the Curriculum Development Group and of the REF Steering Committee. He has held the position of Director of Internationalisation, and established a number of partnerships in Europe and beyond, including the ‘Venice Biennale Fellowship’, whereby students spend a month of research and work at the British Pavilion during the architecture biennale. 

As for Dr Guerci’s research: 

His ‘Tesi di Laurea’, the Italian M.Arch. final thesis (2003), published as a monograph in 2011, examined the Palazzo Mancini in Rome, a crucial example within the Roman Baroque for the relationships between the Roman and French courts. The French link allowed Dr Guerci to spend a prolonged period of research in Paris (2000-02), where he attended the Sorbonne while also working as an architectural surveyor and researcher for the ‘Monuments Historiques’. As such he followed the restorations of a variety of grade I listed buildings throughout France. This was to form the basis of his interest in architectural conservation and construction techniques, which he teaches in his MSc module on conservation theory and principles, part of our Masters in Conservation. 

From the Italian and French contexts Dr Guerci went on to study the English one, with an M.Phil. (2004), a Ph.D. (2007), and two subsequent Post-Docs (2006-10) at Cambridge. These concentrated on the so-called ‘Strand palaces’, eleven great houses built along the strand of the River Thames from the 1550s, which embody a crucial chapter of London’s artistic, architectural, urban, social and political history, whilst literally setting the basis for the development of a ‘truly’ English style. This extensive body of research has attracted fellowships and grants over more than a decade, and is now a forthcoming book on ‘The Great Houses of the Strand: The Ruling Elite at Home in Tudor and Jacobean London’ (Yale University Press). Many articles and book sections on various aspects of the subject have also appeared (see publications). 

Alongside this long-standing research Dr Guerci has looked at the broader theme of architecture and water, the subject of an international conference he co-organised at KSAP with Prof. Gerald Adler in 2014. This resulted in a collected book he co-edited with Adler on ‘Riverine. Architecture and Rivers’ (Routledge 2019), which deals with wide-ranging case studies, from Early-Modern Italy to the contemporary Bengal Delta, and investigates the culture of human interaction with rivers and the nature of urban topography. 

Equally, Dr Guerci has looked at the influence and relations between Modernism and traditional Japanese architecture, studied during a fellowship at Doshisha University in Kyoto in 2008-09. Part of the work, published in the ‘Giornale dell’Architettura’, was to raise awareness on conservation issues in the Far East. For the same journal Manolo has also written on issues related to the conservation of Modernist and contemporary architecture, from Sterling and Goldfinger’s, to Alison and Peter Smithson’s, as well as on Luigi Moretti, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, and others. 

More recently, Manolo has become involved on a brain storming project to address climate change at a pedagogical level, at the forefront of KSAP’s aims. This is intended to go beyond the ‘sustainable flagship’, often simply understood in terms of materials or climatic performance, as a multi-disciplinary approach as to how we teach design, starting from an appreciation of how to culturally embed such a change. 

Research interests

  • Domestic architecture in Early-Modern Europe 
    • Sixteenth- to eighteenth-century Italy and France, with particular attention to Rome and Paris
    • Sixteenth- to nineteenth-century Britain, with particular attention to London

  • Early-Modern drawings
  • Construction techniques and Architectural Conservation
    • Construction process and building techniques in seventeenth-century Rome
    • Conservation history and theories
  • Influence and relations between Modernism and traditional Japanese
  • Social housing from the 1950s to present

Current projects include:

  • A book, Great Houses of the Strand: the Ruling Elite at home in Tudor and Jacobean London (Yale University Press, forthcoming), concentrating on the so-called ‘Strand palaces’, eleven major buildings borne out of the old ‘Bishops’ Inns’, the metaphorical ‘power houses’ of the clergy built on the Thamesside from the 13th century and gradually adapted as private residences of the political elite after the dissolution of the monasteries from 1536. During the 17th century the Strand palaces were mostly demolished and have since gone out of our cultural picture.

  • A collaborative interdisciplinary project titled 'On the wall: display of antiquity in Rome and London in the late Eighteenth Century', together with Professor Loredana Lorizzo at the Department of Science, Culture and Patrimony, University of Salerno (Italy). Merging cross-country European expertise from the history of art, architecture and collecting, the aim is to compare and contrast both Italian and English interiors of the 18th century, and to investigate the influences each played on one another and on display more generally.

  • A new edition of the album of John Thorpe, the famous surveyor and designer of the Tudor and early Jacobean period, whose drawings, preserved at the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, were catalogued by John Summerson in the 1960s. This runs parallel to the re-cataloguing of the contemporaneous drawings by Robert and John Smythson, preserved at the RIBA, by Olivia Hosfnall-Turner (V&A), it too first catalogued by Mark Girouard in the 1960s. A much-awaited project, well in tune with my specialism on Early-Modern drawings, and one which is likely to attract a good deal of attention from scholars and professional engaged with the cultural and conservation sectors alike, the aim is to produce an on-line as well as a published catalogue (potential funders include the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Getty Foundation).

  • A new research project on ‘The Strand in London and the Via del Corso in Rome: urban and architectural relations in the Early-Modern period’. Both are longstanding interests of mine, the first as the subject of the ‘Great Houses of the Strand’ (forthcoming), the second closely analysed in my ‘Palazzo Mancini’ (2011). Potential funders are the American Academy, Rome, and the Leverhulme International Fellowship.

Teaching

Module CodeModule TitleInformation
AR844Conservation Principles (MSc)Module Convenor
AR544Renaissance to Neoclassicism (Stage 2)Module Convenor
AR552Architecture and Landscape (Stage 2)Tutor
AR554Urban Intervention (Stage 3)Tutor
AR597Dissertation (Stages 3,5)Tutor
AR541Collective Dwelling (Stage 2)Tutor
AR836Design 4A (MArch)Co-unit Leader
AR838Design 4B (MArchCo-unit Leader
  • Twighlights - cross stage tutorials

Supervision

Dr Guerci is interested in any subject broadly related to his research expertise. Topics he currently supervises, either as first or second supervisors, range from the Henrician castles in the South East, to Post War English Chuch Architecture; from the development of St Radegund’s Abbey at Dover, to strategies for the regeneration on inland areas in central Italy. Completed dissertations included one on the regeneration of small coastal towns in the Mediterranean. 

PhD Supervision

  • Christopher Moore
  • Omer Pamak
  • Lorenzo Grieco (in co-tutelle with the university of Rome Tor Vergata)
  • Benedetta Castagna
  • Anske David Bax

Professional

  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Brittain
  • Member of 'Centro Studi sulla Cultura e Immagine di Roma'
  • Member of 'RATS', Renaissance Architecture Theory Scholars, UK
  • Member of 'CREAte', the Centre for Research in European Architecture, Kent School of Architecture and Planning
  • Member of the Centre of Heritage, University of Kent
  • Part of Kent Signature Theme on 'Time Heritage Technologies and Futures'
  • Contribution to the Attingham Trust course on London
  • Regular reviewer of grants and publications
  • Ph.D. examination and assessment
  • Ph.D. supervisory chair
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