Portrait of Dr Manolo Guerci

Dr Manolo Guerci

Senior Lecturer
Director of Graduate Studies (PGR)
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

Publications

Article

  • Guerci, M. and Aymonino, A. (2016). The architectural transformation of Northumberland House under the 7th Duke of Somerset and the 1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, 1748-86 (with Adriano Aymonino). The Antiquaries Journal [Online] 96:315-361. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003581516000676.
    This paper is based on the authors’ longstanding interest in Northumberland House and follows two previous papers by Manolo Guerci, which appeared in this journal in 2010 and 2014 respectively. The first paper explored the house as originally built by the 1st Earl of Northampton between 1605 and 1614, while the second looked at both the ownership of the Earls of Suffolk, in the years between Northampton’s death and 1642, and the transformations of the 10th Earl of Northumberland, from that year to 1668. The changes initiated by the 7th Duke and Duchess of Somerset in 1748, and completed by the 1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland (third creation) in the 1750s and 1760s, finished the process of shifting the public side of the house from the Strand to the river side, begun by the 10th Earl of Northumberland. Never before fully investigated, this period is crucial in the long history of the house, as a large body of renowned craftsmen and builders (presented as supplementary material to the online edition of this paper) experimented with lavish interiors, which became a model for contemporary enterprises. In addition, Northumberland House acted as the showcase of the couple’s taste and patronage, as well as the venue for the private ‘Musaeum’ of the Duchess, within a larger remarkable collection, and probably functioned as a proto-academy for selected artists and connoisseurs.
  • Guerci, M. (2014). From Northampton to Northumberland: the Strand palace during the Suffolk ownership and the transformations of Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland, 1614-1668. The Antiquaries Journal [Online] 94:211-251. Available at: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9351812&fileId=S0003581514000614.
    This paper is based on the authors’ longstanding interest in Northumberland House and follows two previous papers by Manolo Guerci, which appeared in this journal in 2010 and 2014 respectively. The first paper explored the house as originally built by the 1st Earl of North- ampton between 1605 and 1614, while the second looked at both the ownership of the Earls of Suffolk, in the years between Northampton’s death and 1642, and the transformations of the 10th Earl of Northumberland, from that year to 1668. The changes initiated by the 7th Duke and Duchess of Somerset in 1748, and completed by the 1st Duke and Duchess of Northumberland (third creation) in the 1750s and 1760s, finished the process of shifting the public side of the house from the Strand to the river side, begun by the 10th Earl of Northumberland. Never before fully investigated, this period is crucial in the long history of the house, as a large body of renowned craftsmen and builders (presented as supplementary material to the online edition of this paper) experimented with lavish interiors, which became a model for contemporary enterprises. In addition, Northumberland House acted as the showcase of the couple’s taste and patronage, as well as the venue for the private ‘Musaeum’ of the Duchess, within a larger remarkable collection, and probably functioned as a proto-academy for selected artists and connoisseurs.
  • Guerci, M. (2012). Erasmus Building, Queens’ College. Cambridge in Concreate. Images from the RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection:50-54.
  • Guerci, M. (2012). The Architectural Book Collection of Andor Gomme. Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain Newsletter [Online]:18. Available at: http://www.sahgb.org.uk/UserFiles/File/Newsletters/SAH_Newsletter_Vol_105.pdf.
  • Guerci, M. (2010). A Stratford-upon-Avon, riaperto il teatro di Shakespeare. Il Giornale dell’Architettura [Online]:18. Available at: http://www.ilgiornaledellarchitettura.com/articoli/2010/12/106258.html.
  • Guerci, M. (2010). Mentre a Londra Nouvel osa sfidare Wren. Il Giornale dell’Architettura:18.
  • Guerci, M. (2010). Il Maxxi conquista gli Inglesi. Il Giornale dell’Architettura [Online]:18. Available at: http://www.ilgiornaledellarchitettura.com/articoli/2010/10/104733.html.
  • Guerci, M. (2010). 4 milioni per ’la Saracena’ di Moretti. Il Giornale dell’Architettura [Online]:18. Available at: http://www.ilgiornaledellarchitettura.com/articoli/2010/9/104191.html.
  • Guerci, M. (2010). Kyoto, cosa resta delle “Machiya”’. Il Giornale dell’Architettura [Online]:12. Available at: http://www.ilgiornaledellarchitettura.com/articoli/2010/2/101290.html.
  • Guerci, M. (2010). ‘The construction of Northumberland House and the patronage of its original builder, Lord Henry Howard, 1605-1614’. Antiquaries Journal [Online] 90:341-400. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0003581510000016.
    This paper affords a complete analysis of the construction of the original Northampton (later Northumberland) House in the Strand (demolished in 1874), which has never been fully investigated. It begins with an examination of the little-known architectural patronage of its builder, Lord Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton from 1603, one of the most interesting figures of the early Stuart era. With reference to the building of the contemporary Salisbury House by Sir Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, the only other Strand palace to be built in the early seventeenth century, textual and visual evidence are closely investigated. A rediscovered elevational drawing of the original front of Northampton House is also discussed. By associating it with other sources, such as the first inventory of the house (transcribed in the Appendix), the inside and outside of Northampton House as Henry Howard left it in 1614 are re-configured for the first time.

    Cet article offre une analyse complète de la construction de l’Hôtel de Northampton (par la suite Hôtel de Northumberland) située dans le Strand (et démolie en 1874), qui n’a jamais fait l’objet d’une enquête approfondie. Il commence par un examen du patronage architectural très peu connu de son bâtisseur, lord Henry Howard, premier comte de Northampton à partir de 1603, et l’un des personnages les plus intéressants du début de l’ère Stuart. Faisant référence à la construction de l’Hôtel de Salisbury, qui est contemporaine, et qui est le seul autre palais dans le Strand construit au début du dix-septième siècle par Sir Robert Cecil, premier comte de Salisbury, les indices visuels et textuels sont étudiés de près. Un dessin de l’élévation de la façade d’origine de l’Hôtel de Northampton est analysé pour la première fois. En l’associant à d’autres sources, comme le premier inventaire du palais transcrit dans l’annexe, l’intérieur et l’extérieur de l’Hôtel de Northampton, telle qu’il a été laissé par Henry Howard en 1614, sont reconfigurés pour la première fois.

    Dieser Beitrag analysiert die Baugeschichte von Northampton House (später Northumberland House) am Strand in London (abgerissen 1874), die bisher nie vollständig studiert worden war. Er beginnt mit einer Untersuchung der wenig bekannten Bauherrentätigkeit von Henry Howard, ab 1603 1st Earl of Northampton, einer der interessantesten Persönlichkeiten der frühen Stuart-Zeit. Zeugnisse in Texten und Bildern werden detailliert ausgewertet, auch im Bezug den gleichzeitigen Bau von Salisbury House, dem einzigen anderen Stadtpalast am Strand aus der ersten Hälfte des 17. Jahrhundert, durch Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury. Ein wiederentdeckter Aufriß der originalen Fassade von Salisbury House und andere Quellen, so das erste Inventar des Hauses (im Anhang enthalten) erlauben es, zum ersten Mal das Innere und Äußere von Northampton House, wie Henry Howard es im Jahr 1614 verließ, zu rekonstruieren.
  • Guerci, M. (2009). Salisbury House in London, 1599-1694: The Strand Palace of Sir Robert Cecil. Architectural History 52:31-78.
    This essay focuses on Salisbury House in London, the Strand palace built by Sir Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, between 1599 and 1612. So far neglected, a detailed history of this house can be based on the primary sources in the Salisbury archives at Hatfield House. The study begins with an investgation of Cecil’s role, one of the most important architectural patrons of his age. The evidence is then discussed of contemporary views of London, which are often an unquestioned base for the description of this vanished house. This leads a new identification of two series of plans of Salisbury House, which are analysed in the light of documentary sources as also re-configured and completed by reconstruction drawings. An examination of later alterations of Salisbury House provides an overview of its development, until the demolition in 1694.
  • Guerci, M. (2008). Alluminio e plastica scongiurati, ma il look?. Il Giornale dell’Architettura:17.
  • Guerci, M. (2008). ‘Social Housing d’autore’. Il Giornale dell’Architettura:18.
  • Guerci, M. (2008). Barbican Centre e Robin Hood Garden Estate: più dinamite che naftalina. Il Giornale dell’Architettura:43.
  • Guerci, M. (2008). Smithson e Stirling dimenticati. Il Giornale dell’Architettura:24.
  • Guerci, M. (2006). ‘John Osborne, the Salisbury House “Porticus”, and the Haynes Grange Room’. Burlington Magazine CXLVII:15-24.
    During recent research in the archives at Hatfield, Joseph Friedman discovered in a folder of mostly nineteenth-century material relating to the London estate of the Cecil family a remarkable elevational drawing (Fig. 1). Measuring over 1,5 metres long, in three sheets originally pasted together, it can be identified as a long-lost design of c.1605-10 for a ‘Porticus’ in the riverside garden of Salisbury House, the Strand Palace of Sir Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury, built between 1599 and 1613 (Fig. 2). Hitherto the Salisbury House Porticus has only been known from an elaborate specification in the Public Record Office, written by an unidentified ‘Osburne’, which describes in extraordinary detail the proportional and constructional features of a two-storey colonnaded building to be erected at the bottom of the garden of Salisbury House, overlooking the River Thames (Appendix). The Porticus in the Hatfield House archives is the corresponding scale drawing for this specification. It can be shown to be in the same hand as the specification, both being the work of John Osborne (c.1550-1628), the Remembrancer or record keeper in the Exchequer of Robert Cecil.
  • Guerci, M. (2004). Palazzo Mancini dalle origini ad oggi. Palermo Parla:18.
  • Guerci, M. (2004). ‘Una colonia tutta francese: l’Accademia di Francia in Palazzo Mancini’. ‘Una colonia tutta francese: l’Accademia di Francia in Palazzo Mancini’ 130:63-82.
    The article reviews the way the Accademia di Francia in Rome used and transformed the Palazzo Mancini, which was its seat for roughly eighty years, from 1725 to 1804. The ‘Accademia di pittura, scultura, architettura e musica’ had been founded by Jean-Baptiste Colbert on the instructions of Cardinal Giulio Mazzarino in 1666. After various changes in location between the Gianicolo and Sant’Andrea della Valle, the French institution was eventually installed in the Palazzo Mancini in Via del Corso. This was a building of great interest, yet little known, a late work of the architect Carlo Rainaldi, who entrusted its execution to the young Sebastiano Cipriani (1686-1690). The long and distinctive presence of the Accademia di Francia in the Palazzo Mancini played a role of great significance in the building’s history. Charles Poerson and Nicolas Wleughels filled the posts of director and co-director of the academy since the early months of 1725, while the duc d’Antin was the superintendent of buildings of the crown. The superintendent and director were in fact the main protagonists in the administration of the building, and from a study of their respective correspondence the author has elucidated the salient events in the history of the Palazzo Mancini during this period. The analysis is mainly based on Italian and French archival sources and is correlated with largely-unpublished iconographic material. At the centre of Roman and French current affairs for almost two centuries, and one of the buildings most frequented by Roman high society in the eighteenth century, the Palazzo Mancini is now the property of the Banco di Sicilia, which has transformed it into its head office in Rome. Since then it has curiously remained ‘ a’ l’écart’ of the interest of historians.
  • Guerci, M. (1998). Le Macchine e gli Dei. CROMA, Roma ricerca e formazione [Online]:4. Available at: http://host.uniroma3.it/centri/croma/rrf/4-98/1.html.

Book

  • Guerci, M. (2018). Great Houses of the Strand: The Ruling Elite at Home in Tudor and Jacobean London. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
    The book transforms and expands my doctoral dissertation on the ‘Strand palaces of the early seventeenth century: Salisbury House and Northumberland House’ (University of Cambridge 2007), and the post-doctoral research which followed at Cambridge (2006-09) and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (2009-10), into a study on the whole of the great houses of the Strand, London. That is, it extends the analysis to a further nine case studies: Essex, Arundel, Somerset, The Savoy, Burghley, Bedford, Worcester, Durham and York Houses, all of which were built or remodelled between 1550 and 1650, largely arising from the old ‘Bishops’ Inns’, the metaphorical ‘power houses’ of the high clergy built on the Thames side since the thirteenth century.
  • Guerci, M. (2011). Palazzo Mancini. Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Rome.
    Description: Roma: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 2011. 31cm., hardcover, 320pp., 196 illus. Summary: Il volume prende in esame la storia dell’edificio e dell’antica famiglia romana dei Mancini. L’attuale palazzo fu costruito a seguito di un accorpamento tra alcuni edifici ubicati in via del Corso e la vecchia residenza di famiglia. Lorenzo Mancini aveva sposato la sorella del cardinale Mazzarino che, desiderando estendere l’intero isolato del palazzo su via del Corso, concluse l’acquisto delle case da abbattere a nord dell’edificio e affidò il progetto a Carlo Rainaldi. Il nipote del cardinale fece completare l’attuale nucleo tra il 1687 e il 1689. Negli anni successivi l’edificio ospitò diversi affittuari, da ultimo l’Accademia di Francia che decise nel 1737 di acquistare in nome del re il prestigioso palazzo. Dal 1919 è di proprietà del Banco di Sicilia/Unicredit. (Palazzi, ville e chiese di Roma.)

Book section

  • Aymonino, A. and Guerci, M. (2019). Building and Refurbishing the London Town House during the mid-eighteenth century: Francophilia in Interior Decoration. In: Retford, K. and Avery-Quash, S. eds. The Georgian London Town House. Bloomsbury, pp. 71-98. Available at: https://bloomsbury.com/uk/the-georgian-london-town-house-9781501337291/.
    Based on the authors' longstanding interest in Northumberland House, this essay develops out of a recent study on its mid-eighteenth-century refurbishment. Starting from a summary analysis of the team of craftsmen involved at the house, it suggests how they were involved at other contemporary aristocratic London palaces. The question is whether these craftsmen represent a circle that met the demand for a new French taste in interior decoration, fashionable among Francophile patrons of the likes of the Northumberlands and indeed de rigeur with Frederick, Prince of Wales. This essay relies on an appendix thematically organised - based on previously unpublished material - of all craftsmen, builders and architects involved at Northumberland House, where biographical information as well as cross references between all figures involved with our examples are given in full.
  • Adler, G. (2018). Sauf aux Riverains: the riverine memorial of Georges-Henri Pingusson. In: Adler, G. and Guerci, M. eds. Riverine: Architecture and Rivers. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 145-158. Available at: https://www.routledge.com/Riverine-Architecture-and-Rivers/Adler-Guerci/p/book/9781138681781.
    Riverine has echoes in English of the sign you see on streets near to rivers in France: ‘sauf aux riverains’. This refers to the access given to locals to the narrow passageways leading down to the river, and seeks to bar ‘foreigners’ from getting too close to the water. In towns, most buildings like to keep a healthy distance between themselves and the flowing river, apart from those parts that have an intimate relationship with the water, such as landing stages and warehouses. Nonetheless, the general principle obtains, that urbanised rivers become embellished with raised embankments, raising houses and gardens well above the waterline, and out of harm’s way. We see this most clearly in those cities with well-developed riverside terraces, such as in Dresden with its Brühlsche Terrassen, in London with its Adelphi development of the late eighteenth century, and generally by the banks of the Seine in Paris, where the streets end abruptly in a precipitous canyon into which the river appears to be sunk, to be reached by narrow stone steps accessed through chinks in the closely packed bouquinistes lining either bank.
    At the extreme eastern end of the Ile de la Cité, behind the chevet of the cathedral of Notre Dame, you find a low concrete mass split in two places by narrow stairs. Descending, you pass between a pair of concrete ‘grindstones’ and arrive at a hard, concrete courtyard, hemmed in by bush-hammered walls. Above, the sky, while ahead, you see and hear the Seine rushing past, its waters virtually level with the pavement at your feet. This was the scene designed by the French architect Georges-Henri Pingusson (1894-1978) and is his late masterpiece completed in 1962. The external sunken courtyard leads to a labyrinth of cave-like spaces that tunnel beneath the tip of the island; the whole ensemble is the monument to the deported, the place of ‘collective memory’ for Paris to remember those of its citizens, largely Jews, who were rounded up and deported during the German occupation of the Second World War, en route to being sent east to the extermination camps in the Reich.
    Pingusson’s work is, to borrow the subtitle of the monograph on his oeuvre by Simon Texier, ‘la poétique pour doctrine’, and represents one of the great brooding and evocative spaces of modern architecture. Like the great bulk of his practice output hitherto, it is accomplished by recourse to simple geometries and everyday materials, yet manages to evoke an almost mythical atmosphere, as if one were descending into Hades, stopping awhile at the lapping waters before Charon, the ferryman, carries us off. The spatial configuration and material presence remind us of other, uncanny, riverside ensembles, such as the Traitors’ Gate at the Tower of London, the skateboarders’ undercroft at the South Bank, or Harry Lime being given chase through the sewers of Vienna, before they empty into the Danube. The location behind Notre Dame lends the memorial a sacred aura, while its location upstream from the site of the 1961 massacre of peaceful demonstrators against the Algerian War, led by the Paris police chief (and later convicted war criminal) Maurice Papon, further intensifies this, the most haunting of memorials to the infamies of the twentieth century.
  • Guerci, G. (2018). ’I palazzi londinesi dello Strand: 1550-1650’. In: Conforti, C. and Sapori, G. eds. I Palazzi Del Cinquecento a Roma. Rome: Bollettino d’Arte, pp. 419-430.
    Originating from the author’s book on the Great Houses of the Strand: the Ruling Elite at home in Tudor and Jacobean London (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, forthcoming), this essay provides an overview of the so–called Strand palaces, a highly significant if much neglected chapter of London’s architecture. The Strand palace phenomenon, in which owning a residence close to Westminster became de rigueur after Henry VIII established a permanent court at Whitehall, itself originates from the far older “Bishops’ Inns”, metaphorical power houses of the high clergy strategically built along the Strand in the 13th century. The Strand was the ‘main channel of communication’ between London’s economic heart in the City and its political centre at Westminster, while the Thames furnished the conditions for rapid public transport to all the royal palaces, from Greenwich to Hampton Court. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, the inns passed to the emerging political élite, becoming a satellite court and seat of refined patronage both for art (many of these palaces became ante litteram museums) and architecture, considering the involvement of all the greatest architects of the period, comprising Inigo Jones, celebrated “surveyor” of royal building and a resident of the Strand. Between the 1540s and the 1650s, 11 palaces either replaced or incorporated the old inns, from East to West: Essex House, Arundel House, Somerset House, The Savoy, Burghley–Cecil House, Bedford House, Worcester House, Salisbury House, Durham House, York House and Northampton (later Northumberland) House.
  • Guerci, M. (2018). ‘From Bishops’ Inns to Private Palaces: the evolution of the Strand in London from the 13th to the 17th century’. In: Riverine: Architecture and Rivers. Routledge.
    Book chapter based on my long-standing work on the Strand palaces in London. See books
  • Guerci, M. (2016). Palazzo Mancini, culla della cultura romana e francese: 1660-1804. In: Bayard, M., Beck-Saiello, E. and Gobet, A. eds. L’Académie De France à Rome. Le Palais Mancini: Un Foyer Artistique Dans l’Europe Des Lumières (1725-1792). Rennes: Collection Art & Societe’, pp. 59-75.
    Il saggio ripercorre le vicende di Palazzo Mancini, che dal 1660 vedono coinvolti il Cardinale Giulio Mazzarino e i suoi familiari a Roma e Parigi. In particolare, si analizza il periodo in cui l'edificio fu sede dell'Accademia di Francia, dal 1725 al 1804, concentrandosi sulle numerose e ricche trasformazioni volte all'adattamento di Palazzo Mancini a manifesto della Francia, e sugli eventi culturali di spicco che vi ebbero luogo.
  • Guerci, M. (2014). Un’architettura di diversi’: Carlo Rainaldi and the controversial attribution of the Palazzo Mancini in Rome. In: Avcioglu, N. and Sherman, A. eds. Artistic Practices and Cultural Transfer in Early Modern Italy. Essays in Honour of Deborah Howard. Ashgate, pp. 65-73.
  • Guerci, M. (2009). Laure Martinozzi protectrice des Vigarani: de la simple “Mazarinette” à la régente de Modène. In: De la Gorce, J. and Baricchi, W. eds. Gaspare & Carlo Vigarani. Dalla Corte Degli Este a Quella Di Louis XIV. Paris: Châteaux de Versailles and Silvana Editoriale, pp. 182-199.
    Lorsque le jésuite Domenico Gamberti relate que « nel regno degli Este è meglio tacere di case maledette e cavalli infernali », Laure Martinozzi est une femme en proie aux cauchemars . L’angoisse qu’elle ressent en tant que régente d’un duché dans lequel elle est traitée en étrangère doit être dissimulée.
    Cette régente, «femme de tête et de vertu, très Française par le cœur», comme l'a écrit Edouard de Barthélemy en 1875 , est l’une des nièces du célèbre cardinal Mazarin qui a fait le moins parler d’elle. Et cela peut être considéré comme un compliment dans le contexte des « Mazarinettes ». Le Cardinal l’avait appelée en France en 1653 avec ses cousins Mancini - « Les Mancini, les Martinosses, Illustres matières de noces » diront les poètes de la Fronde - et l’avait mariée, deux ans après, à Alphonse IV d’Este, héritier du Duché de Modène.
    Dans sa jeunesse, la nouvelle duchesse de Modène ne vit que des deuils : à la mort de son premier fils en 1658, suivie par celle de l’oncle Mazarin en 1661, s’ajoute la disparition du duc de Modène son époux. A l’age de vingt-trois ans, Laure Martinozzi devient ainsi régente de l’état au nom de son enfant Francesco (le futur François II), âgé de deux ans. A Modène, Laure est une étrangère, comme elle l’avait été en France dans une cour hostile aux « noirauds » venus de Rome. Cependant, attentive aux conseils de ses confidents, cette jeune dame, en assurant stabilité à son état, donne d'elle-même une image renouvelée. Elle s’entoure de figures importantes, soutient les Vigarani, et souligne d’une manière remarquable pour son temps l’efficacité du rôle des femmes dans la vie politique active. Que savons-nous de cette nièce de Mazarin, restée dans l’histoire comme une femme réservée, presque toujours négligée par les historiens ? Il est question ici de tracer un portrait général de sa vie : son éducation romaine, son mariage manqué avec un Barberini, ses goûts artistiques, ainsi que son caractère particulier, facteurs qui ont tous déterminé l’importance de son rôle dans l’Europe du XVIIème siècle .
  • Guerci, M. (2009). A late Seventeenth-Century Case Study in Rome: The Construction of the Palazzo Mancini, 1696-1690. In: Kurrer, K., Lorenz, W. and Wetzk, V. eds. Proceedings of the Third International Congress on Construction History. Berlin: Neunplus1, pp. 759-766.
    The study deals with the construction of the Palazzo Mancini in Rome, an important, yet little- known palace on the via del Corso, conceived in 1660 by Cardinal Jules Mazarin and eventually built in c.1686-1690. From 1725 to 1804 it was the seat of the French Academy. The analysis concentrates on a period starting from 1686, when the so-called “Casa Mancina”, a series of old houses that had previously been incorporated into a single unit, was further extended with a new wing and gradually became a magnificent palace. It shows how pre-existing structures were integrated into the new fabric, and what type of foundations, walls, floors, and ceilings were used. The nature of important changes in the early aftermath of construction up to the early 1700s is also investigated. Thanks to its well-documented history, this case study provides important insights into Roman building materials, processes and techniques of the seventeenth century.
  • Guerci, M. (2008). ‘Charles Barry’s Designs for Northumberland House, 1852-55’. In: Salmon, F. ed. The Persistence of the Classical: Essays on Architecture Presented to David Watkin. London: Philip Wilson, pp. 136-150.
    This essay is concerned with three remarkable sets of designs made in 1852-4 by Sir Charles Barry for Northumberland House in London, the greatest representative of the old aristocratic palaces on the Strand. Presented and analysed here for the first time, they can be reckoned amongst the most accomplished achievements of England’s leading interpreter of the Italian Renaissance palace, whose work has received no attention in recent years
  • Guerci, M. (2006). ‘Le Palais Mancini à Rome: d’une idée de Jules Mazarin au Palais du Duc de Nevers’. In: de Conihout, I. and Michel, P. eds. Mazarin, Les Lettres Et Les Arts. Paris: Monelle Hayot, pp. 122-134.
    Le palais Mancini, au 271 de la via del Corso, est situé au début d’une des artères les plus significatives de Rome. Près de la piazza Venezia, sur la droite, on rencontre la façade principale du complexe (fig. 1) ; la façade secondaire, entièrement étendue sur la ruelle del Piombo, est cachée par les bâtiments limitrophes. Le palais, siège romain de la Banque de Sicile depuis 1919, est composé de deux ailes orthogonales : à partir des caves, on retrouve sept niveaux sur le Corso et cinq donnant sur la ruelle del Piombo, composant l’ancienne et la vieille demeure (fig. 2). Le vieux palais, connu dans les documents comme « Casa Mancina » , est constitué d’une série d’unités d’habitation dont les façades discontinues ont été réunies au cours des siècles. L’aile sur la via del Corso, symbole de la croissance socio-économique des premiers propriétaires, contraste avec l’aile la plus ancienne. La façade principale, bien conservée dans son aspect d’origine, est décorée de bossages et corniches et articulée selon des bandeaux et des pilastres; une entrée centrale, flanquée par des colonnes doriques et surmontée d’un balcon et d’une corniche imposante, complètent la décoration.
    L’historique du palais Mancini se déroule du moyen-âge jusqu’à la fin XVIIème siècle . Les premières informations qui intéressent son histoire sont liées au mariage de Paolo Mancini ( ?-1635) et de Vittoria Capocci ( ?-1620) en 1600 qui habitaient le vieux palais donnant sur la ruelle del Piombo, autrefois appelée « dei Signori Mancini » (fig. 3). Paolo Mancini - homme savant, fondateur de l’Académie des Humoristes installée dans le vieux palais - entreprend de transformer les vieilles maisons en petit palais. La seconde phase de croissance est marquée en 1634 par le mariage de Lorenzo Mancini (1602-1650), fils de Paolo, avec Geronima Mazzarino (1614-1656), sœur du célèbre Jules Mazarin (1602-1661). Celui-ci devient dès lors l’administrateur incontesté des biens matériels et spirituels des Mancini.
    Au début de 1660, Francesco Maria Mancini (1606-1672), frère de Lorenzo élu à la pourpre cardinalice, est le troisième cardinal de la grande famille du Ministre ; il se doit désormais d’avoir une demeure qui soit digne de son rang. De cette époque date la volumineuse correspondance de Mazarin et les projets de l’architecte romain Carlo Rainaldi (1611-1691), relatifs à l’extension sur le Corso de la « Casa Mancina ». Trente ans plus tard, en 1690, les Stati delle Anime de l’église Santa Maria in Via Lata attestent la présence, sur le Corso, d’un « Palazzo novo » appartenant à Philippe Mancini-Mazarin, duc de Nevers (1641-1707) et neveu de Mazarin.
    La question que l’on se pose, outre la durée de l’entreprise, est relative aux motifs d’un tel projet, en considérant que le duc de Nevers était déjà propriétaire, à l’époque, du palais Mazarin à Monte Cavallo et qu’il ne résidait pas à Rome. Cette question, à laquelle on pourrait répondre en supposant des raisons spéculatives devient en fait complexe et curieuse surtout en considération des personnages intéressés : les Mancini, les Colonna et Carlo Rainaldi. Ce dernier meurt en 1691. Le complexe, qui semble achevé à cette date, n’a peut-être pas encore son apparence actuelle.

Edited book

  • Guerci, M. and Adler, G. (2018). Riverine: Architecture and Rivers. Guerci, M. and Adler, G. eds. Routledge.
    Edited book based on a conference run with Gerald Adler in 2014.

    Human settlements may be broadly divided between inland ones often located on high ground, such as the hill towns of Urbino and Jerusalem, those of inland plains such as Brasilia and Novosibirsk, and those located on waterways or rivers close to the sea, which form by far the great majority of cities. In this new volume we concentrate on the latter, and seek to tease out and explore architectural, planning, artistic and literary backgrounds to cities as diverse as Ahmedabad, Amsterdam, Isfahan, London, New York, Paris, Rome and Shanghai; that is, we are interested in human settlements whose origins depend upon rivers. And not just the cities proper, but also their hinterlands, or more precisely their riverine conditions up and downstream of their urban centres.
    This book investigates the relationship between architecture and rivers at a number of scales, from the geographical/topographical, through the urban/infrastructural, down to that of the individual building or space. Here, we examine the interface between terrain and water through the techniques and cultures of landscape, urban, architectural and material history and design, and through cross-cultural studies in art, literature, as well as social and cultural history

Review

  • Guerci, M. (2013). A Review of Architecture and Climate: An Environmental History of British Architecture,1600–2000. Architectural Histories. [Online] 2013:1-1. Available at: http://journal.eahn.org/article/view/ah.ae/6.
    A Review of Architecture and Climate: An Environmental History of British Architecture,1600–2000 by Dean Hawkes, Routledge, 272 pages, 2012, ISBN: 9780415561877.

Thesis

  • Guerci, M. (2007). The Strand Palaces of the Early Seventeenth Century: Salisbury House and Northumberland House.
    The dissertation focuses on two case studies, Salisbury House and Northumberland House, arguably the most important, and the only newly-built palaces along the Strand in London in the early seventeenth century. These houses, like most of the Strand palaces, have so far been neglected, largely because they were demolished so long ago. However, the archives of the families who built or owned them preserve a wealth of primary sources, thus far mostly unexplored, which have allowed a comprehensive study of the history of both houses.

    The dissertation begins with a general introduction offering an overview on the history and development of the Strand palaces. Particular attention is given to Somerset House (1547-52), which, due to its architectural influence within the English context, provides essential elements for the study of the topic. The first case study on Salisbury House (1599-1613; dem. 1694) affords a full analysis of its building history. It begins with an investigation of the role of the builder, the mighty Sir Robert Cecil, Secretary of State under Elizabeth I and James I, 1st Earl of Salisbury from 1605, and perhaps the most important architectural patron of his age. The evidence is then discussed of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century views of London, which are often an unquestioned base for the description of this vanished house. This scrutiny highlights the limits of the standard views and provides the background for a new identification of two series of plans of Salisbury House. These plans, re-configured and completed by reconstruction drawings, are fully analysed in the light of documentary sources. Next, the study focuses on a remarkable design for a Porticus of 1605-10 intended for the river front of the garden of Salisbury House, which I analyse, measure and re-configure for the first time. This allows a reconsideration of the Haynes Grange Room, a controversial piece of woodwork datable to the 1580s. The Porticus and the Haynes Grange Room can be attributed to John Osborne (c.1550-1628), a ‘gentleman architect’ who proves to be a lone precursor of Inigo Jones in the development of classicism in England. Finally, the study provides an examination of later alterations of Salisbury House.

    The second case study on Northumberland (former Northampton) House (1605-1611; dem. 1874) affords a complete analysis of the early stages of the original Northampton House, which have never been fully investigated. This begins with an examination of the hitherto little-known architectural patronage of its builder, Lord Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton from 1603 and one of the most interesting figures of the early-Stuart era. In an analysis of the building activities of Northampton and Salisbury, textual and visual evidence is closely investigated, while an elevational drawing of the original front of Northampton House is presented for the first time. This I associate with other sources re-configuring both the inside and outside of the house as Henry Howard left it. The role of subsequent proprietors, prominent in what is the only Strand palace to survive the turn of the seventeenth century, is also fully described. I look at the Suffolk period, a short interval of twenty-eight years, when the house was owned by the Earls of Suffolk, as well as at the alterations carried out by Algernon Percy in the 1640s and 1650s, when the house became the London seat of the Earl of Northumberland. This important stage is closely analysed through a fresh examination of all relevant sources. The last part of this study provides an overview in appendix of the continuous adaptations and improvements of the house, which remained a Percy property, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

    The conclusion highlights the contribution of this dissertation, which is not only that of filling a void, but also that of providing a new fertile background for further discussion. In addition, a number of unpublished sources, both documentary and topographical, will change our understanding of a remarkable chapter of London history. The dissertation is completed by an appendix of relevant documents and reconstruction drawings which show the original aspect of these vanished palaces. A selection of comparative plates, as well as a catalogue raisonné in which all topographical sources are listed and analysed, are also included.
  • Guerci, M. (2004). Seventeenth-Century-London: Robert Cecil and His Strand Palace. Construction and Development.
  • Guerci, M. (2003). Palazzo Mancini in Via Del Corso a Roma.

Forthcoming

  • Guerci, M. (2019). ‘Un palazzo “mezzo italiano e mezzo francese”. La facciata di Palazzo Mancini a Roma’. In: Lousktoff, Y. and Michel, P. eds. Mazarin, Rome Et l’Italie. To be confirmed.
    Book chapter based on long-standing research on the relationship between Rome and France in the Early Modern Period. See books
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