Firmitas, utilitas, venustas: for the rebirth of a humane architecture

All these [edifices] should possess strength, utility, and beauty. Strength arises from solid foundations built deeply within the ground and using materials chosen with care and without parsimony. Utility arises from a functional distribution of the inner spaces, so that their purpose be duly answered, and that each have an appropriate placement. Beauty is produced by the pleasing appearance of the whole, and by the harmonious proportion and correct symmetry of all the parts.

Haec autem ita fieri debent, ut habeatur ratio firmitatis, utilitatis, venustatis. firmitatis erit habita ratio, cum fuerit fundamentorum ad solidum depressio, quaque e materia, copiarum sine avaritia diligens electio; utilitatis autem, cum fuerit emendata et sine inpeditione usus locorum dispositio et ad regiones sui cuiusque generis apta et commoda distributio; venustatis vero, cum fuerit operis species grata et elegans membrorumque commensus iustas habeat symmetriarum ratiocinationes.

Vitruvius, De Architectura, I.3.2

The Accademia Vivarium novum of Frascati, with the moral support of the School of Architecture of Notre Dame University, New Traditional Architecture, Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Villa Mondragone Convention Centre, FAI Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano - Delegazione di Roma, the Order of Architects of Rome, the Order of Engineers of Rome, Pulchria, Studio ACAM, and the Festival dell’Innovazione di Frascati, is happy to present the Conference Firmitas, utilitas, venustas: For the rebirth of a humane architecture which aims at identifying the principles of a truly humane architecture which, in its practical, material and spiritual outcomes, intends to be commensurate to the human nature.
Indeed, the Academy strongly believes that human beings should feel at ease in the edifices they inhabit and that architecture should respond to their needs, and not vice-versa. While expressing the urges of progress, technological advances, new cultural modes and aesthetic trends, modernism in architecture has often created uninhabitable spaces that clash with the surrounding environment and the basic social needs of human beings. In this sense the Accademia Vivarium novum advocates for cultural, artistic, and architectural practices that place our natural humanitas and disposition to harmony and beauty at the centre of their efforts, while pursuing a sustainable impact on the natural environment, and a continuation, rather than a break or juxtaposition, with the surrounding landscapes of cultural heritage.

How to participate

In person: reservation required by writing to

Virtually: it will be possible to register on the Zoom platform to follow the conference remotely, through the following link: Registration form.

A simultaneous translation of all speeches in Italian will be available both remotely and in presence.

Training scholarships

The Academy Vivarium novum is offering 15 training scholarships for participation in the conference, covering the costs of board and lodging at the Campus facilities.
The scholarships are reserved for young people in the last two years of high school, university students, graduates and teachers of all levels. Priority will be given to students from architecture faculties. The scholarship includes the obligation of residence and course attendance and the submission of a final report (max. 25,000 characters) to be delivered by 30 June 2024. A certificate of attendance will be issued upon receipt of the report.

It is requested that you arrive on the evening of Thursday April 25 (or, at the latest, at 1 p.m. on the 26th), and leave at the end of the conference by Monday 29th.

Applications for the scholarship, accompanied by the enclosed forms duly completed and signed (Application form, regulations), a short letter of motivation, an essential CV and a photo ID, must reach the following address by 20 April 2024: Replies will be communicated by 22 April.


Download the program in PDF

FRIDAY APRIL 26 – Villa Mondragone (Università di Roma Tor Vergata)

  • 15:00 Institutional greetings
    • Massimo Pulcini (Mayor of Monte Porzio Catone)
    • Fabio Rampelli (Vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies)
    • Marcella Pisani (Director of the Conference Centre Villa Mondragone – Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”)
    • Francesco Scoppola (President of IRVIT - Regional institute for the Tusculan villas)
  • 16:00 Luigi Miraglia (President of the Accademia Vivarium novum): Introduction to the Conference

Session I: Urban regeneration and inheritable architecture – chair: Ettore Maria Mazzola

  • 16:30 Michael Lykoudis (University of Notre Dame, USA): Richard H. Driehaus: from Chicago to the world stage - via Zoom
  • 17:00 Maxim Atayants (Maxim Atayants Workshop, Russia): The experience of church building in the post-Soviet space. The problem and attempts to answer it.
  • 17:30 Break
  • 18:00 Ettore Maria Mazzola (University of Notre Dame, Rome): Implementing the lesson of early 20th century traditional buildings for an inheritable city. The examples of Corviale (Rome) and ZEN (Palermo) districts
  • 18:30 José Cornélio da Silva (practice in Portugal): The classical narrative or contra Zoilum. A tribute to Marc Fumaroli in Frascati
  • 19:00 Questions and discussion
  • 19:30 Conclusion of the first day

SATURDAY APRIL 27 – Villa Falconieri (Accademia Vivarium novum)

Session II: Contemporary classical traditional urbanism and architecture - Chair Ettore Maria Mazzola

  • 10:00 Institutional greetings
    • Francesca Sbardella (Mayor of Frascati)
    • Gianluigi Peduto (former Senior Advisor of the Bank of Italy– Coordinator of the Festival of Innovation of Frascati)
    • Massimo Cerri (President of the Order of Engineers of Rome)
    • Roberta Bocca (Vice-president of the Order of Architects of Rome)
  • 11:00 Jonathan Weatherill (University of Notre Dame, Rome): The spirit of place
  • 11:30 Break
  • 12:00 Ana-Maria Goilav (Bunesti School, Romania): Hands of man, prefabs of God
  • 12:30 Oleh Stepunin (Studio Praktik, Ukraine): Designing classical buildings using modern AI, BIM modeling, real-time visualizations, and virtual tours
  • 13:00 Questions and discussion
  • 13:30 Lunch
  • 15:00 Visit of Villa Falconieri and presentation of the Poikile project

Session III: Contemporary classical traditional urbanism and architecture - Chair Michael Diamant

  • 15:30 Tomasz Geras (Architektura Klasyczna, Poland): How does beauty “work” in architecture? A scientific glance at proven solutions
  • 16:00 Craig Hamilton (Craig Hamilton Architects, UK): The sacred memory of the temenos and its continuing relevance to the design of poetic architecture
  • 16:30 Break
  • 17:00 Eric Norin (Tradition Arkitekter, Sweden): A contemporary struggle - following classical architectural traditions
  • 17:30 Nils Freckeus (Nils Freckeus Architects, Sweden): New world – eternal ideals
  • 18:00 Duncan Stroik (University of Notre Dame, USA): Firmitas, utilitas et venustas: on the Renaissance of architecturevia Zoom
  • 18:30 Questions and discussion
  • 19:00 Concert of the Choir Tyrtarion of the Accademia Vivarium novum
  • 19:30 Conclusion of the second day

SUNDAY, APRIL 28Villa Falconieri (Accademia Vivarium novum)

Session IV: Contemporary Classical traditional urbanism and architecture - Chair Michael Diamant

  • 10:00 Institutional greetings
    • Giuseppe Morganti (Regional President FAI Lazio)
    • Damiano Minozzi (Studio ACAM)
  • 10:30 Mark Wilson Jones (Apollodorus Architecture, UK): The dance of sameness-yet-difference. Imitative principles in ancient art and architecture.
  • 11:00 Evan Amato (Rewire the West, Italy): Dante & Shakespeare on the essence of humane Architecture
  • 11:30 Break
  • 12:00 Thomas Albrecht (Hilmer, Satter, Albrecht Architects, Germany): Failed modernism and new traditionalism
  • 12:30 Ulrich Becker (Adam ve Rehov, Israel): ‘Fighting the Ideal!’ - the modernist fear of beauty and the traditional cure in matter and mind
  • 13:00 Maher Abu-Samra (MAS Design Studio, Giordania): Traditional architecture and construction techniques in Jordan. - via Zoom
  • 13:30 Lunch

Session V: Pedagogy and architectureChair: Ettore Maria Mazzola

  • 15:30 Alejandro García Hermida (School of architecture of the Universidad politécnica de Madrid): Iberian programs on traditional building, architecture and urbanism
  • 16:00 Samir Younés (University of Notre Dame, USA): On six interrelated concepts in architecture - via Zoom
  • 16:30 Break
  • 17:00 Panel Discussion with Michael Diamant (Founder of New Traditional Architecture)
  • 18:00 Conclusion of the conference
  • 19:00 Concert


  • Accademia Vivarium novum
  • School of architecture of the University of Notre Dame
  • New traditional architecture
  • Centro congressi e rappresentanza di Villa Mondragone - Università di Roma “Tor Vergata”
  • Fai - delegazione di Roma
  • Pulchria
  • Festival dell'innovazione di Frascati
  • Acam

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