Umberto Napolitano: Founding Director
of LAN ( Local Architecture Network)
April 11, 2018
Presented by Space.City
LAN (Local Architecture Network) was created by Benoit Jallon and Umberto Napolitano in 2002, with the idea of exploring architecture as an area of activity at the intersection of several disciplines. This attitude has developed into a methodology enabling LAN to explore new territories and forge a vision encompassing social, urban, ecological, functional and aesthetic and economic questions. The firm’s projects give shape to this universe at different scales and through very diverse programs. LAN is in charge of the redevelopment of the Grand Palais in Paris, the construction of the Maillon Theater in Strasbourg, the development and coordination of new neighborhoods in Bordeaux and Nantes and the construction of one of the highest wooden Buildings in France. With the belief that practice must be nurtured through research and theory, the firm is an active participant in debates around architecture. Umberto Napolitano was admitted to the French Academy of Architecture in 2016 and teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) in New York. He is a regular speaker at conferences in Europe, the United States and Asia. In 2016, LAN represented France at the 15th edition of the Venice Bienniale of Architecture and the following year was scientific curator of the Paris Haussmann, a Model’s Relevance exhibition. The firm’s has received many prizes and awards both in France and internationally.
BORN IN NAPLES ON NOVEMBER, 27 1975
Umberto Napolitano was born in Naples on 27 November 1975. After initially studying literature, he began to study architecture at the Università Federico II in Naples and then at the Ecole d’Architecture de Paris-La Villette. A firm believer from the outset in the importance of acquiring hands-on experience alongside one’s academic study, Umberto worked in a number of firms of different sizes, methods, and ambitions. This is when he met and became friends with Benoit Jallon, with whom he began working together on projects. He and Benoit both earned their official French architecture degree (or “DPLG”) in 2001. Their thesis focused on changes in habitat and proposed a new narrative centered on cities, or perhaps on one sole, large city, especially one made up of both men and women. Their diploma thesis probably represented the point at which Umberto and Benoit knew that they would set up their own firm. After spending a year in Rome, they returned to Paris in 2002 and founded LAN. Since then, Umberto has given himself wholeheartedly to the firm while also maintaining extensive teaching, writing, and lecturing engagements. Curious and creative by nature, he is inspired by many things: the visual arts, esthetics, literature, and music are all longstanding interests, while cities and travel remain veritable obsessions. All these concerns have conspired to internationalize his personal and professional trajectory, and enabled him to open himself to other cultures and ways of seeing, thinking and doing.