Savina Romanos holds a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. With the recommendation of the Department of Urban Planning and Design faculty, Romanos was selected for the prize that requires the “highest standards of leadership, excellence in academic studies, and promise in the field.” Romanos decided to pursue graduate study to further investigate the interplay between architecture and urban contexts after graduating The Cooper Union Irwin S Chanin School of Architecture with a Bachelor of Architecture. Romanos' portfolio has been published and featured internationally. Her architectural thesis project was exhibited at the Center for Architecture in New York City, as well as digitally featured in The Architectural Review and Wallpaper*.
Her work aspires to push the scalar limits of form. Most interested in the relationship between form and geography, her projects address context with scalar ambiguity and complexity. Regardless of scope or scale, this is consistent in Romanos' preoccupation with the relationship between form, terrain, and the city.
Testing such interests, Romanos is currently an Associate at !melk urban design (www.melk-nyc.com), a leading practice dedicated to the design of large-scale urban and landscape interventions (as well as public spaces and gardens) with deliberate references to context, history, urban setting and surrounding ecology.
View Savina Romanos’ CV here.
Projects & Links
Breakwater: Mediterranean Port Cities
An Atlas of Clearings & Constructions
Fire is at the center of the collective. According to Vitruvius, the discovery (and subsequent control) of fire inspired the coming together of men, which sparked conversation, creativity and construction. In this interpretation, fire can be read as an essential environmental condition that is both regenerative and transformational. NASA reports, “on Earth, something is always burning.” This sheds light on the relevance of fire as a temporal and spatial phenomenon as seen from space.
There is a deep connection between fire and geography—from local to global contexts. Rooted in journeys through fire histories, “Pyrogeography: An Atlas of Clearings & Constructions” uses visual essays and case studies to investigate varying temporal and spatial scales of fire operations. From festivals to materials, to land management and settlement patterns, the atlas is a taxonomy ofthemes that invites speculation around the constructive dimensions of fire.
EVENT | OBJECT
Fire is an urban festival; it is a positive debasement--a ritual of renewal and refertilization.
STRATA | SETTLEMENT
A settlement has archaeological horizons; collective fire practices continuously add new layers.
RESILIENCE | TERRITORY
Fire as an agent, treating terrains symptomatic of wild conflagrations.
COMMUNICATION | REGION
Fire as a signal chain--a geographic referencing system.
CRISIS | WORLD
Fire as a global rupture sparking a transformation, creating new foundations.
Pyrogeography: the potential of dist[urban]ce in territorial clearings
Formal scenarios for new wildfire urbanities in the Cyprus foothills
Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Master of Architecture in Urban Design Thesis, Advisor: Hashim Sarkis
In 1755, the city of Lisbon confronted an earthquake, and subsequently, a conflagration quickly blanketed the city. Primary sources reflect, “that was the year that Lisbon town saw the earth open and gulp her down.” This crisis—a crisis of immense natural destruction—marked the beginning of the Enlightenment and an awareness of Nature. Certain urban values were extracted from this event; the city immediately began to draw plans to reconstruct the downtown. The notion of the sublime emerged simultaneous to city forming: a grid in the form of the “New Baixa” was introduced. If we can acknowledge such a crisis (and the subsequent re-conception of Lisbon) to be a defining moment in urban planning and design, fire becomes a critical element in the creative destruction of the city and one can draw a parallel between natural crisis and opportunity. This thesis aspires to synthesize the territory using fire metrics; it proposes a spatial network relating form with geography.
Cooper Union Bachelor of Architecture Thesis
Ceramics studio in Zografos, Athens, Greece
Fire is both a constructive and destructive phenomenon. The act of burning is a transformation; it has the ability to perish, renew, degrade and then repair an object. The name wildfire was once synonymous with Greek fire, but in recent history, Greek forests have seen “accidental” wildfires annually since 1995. Amidst these conflagrations, I look for a new possibility for architecture. Architecture can use fire to construct. The architectural project equips an unburned forest (just east of Athens suburb, Zografos) with kilns. Scattered around the perimeter of the forest, the kilns re-introduce control by implementation of a system of ‘drying and coaling.’ Each set of kilns relates to a zone from which excess forest fuel is collected and burned to produce charcoal. This charcoal would then be planted to fertilize the forest ground. While cleaning the forest of excess leaves, branches and other organic matter, the kilns establish an active ‘fire wall’ that reclaims and protects the territory of the forest. The proposal works with fire, allowing for a transformation rather than destruction.
Moving Centers, Shared Lines: there is no post-industrial city
Beijing periphery, China
In collaboration with landscape architect Daia Paco Stutz
There is no post-industrial city.
In October 1949, Mao Zedong stood in Tiananmen Square to announce the formation of the People’s Republic of China, saying: “We will see a forest of chimneys from here.” With this, he presented his vision of
Beijing as a productive, anti-bourgeois city where industry is included within the city fabric in factory-dominated work units. As a result, heavy industry operated extensively in the center of Beijing throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Large industrial corporations like the Capital
Steel Corporation (one of the country’s largest steel manufacturer) established plants in different parts of the central city. The essence of this productive era can be grounded in contemporary pressing issues in China.
Structured along the main existing rail lines of the Qinglonghu district, a transition hybrid-economy of mining and remediation is introduced. Mobility and resource extraction sets the stage for multiple educational and research campuses to activate an urban transformation that aspires to increase “mobility, income, and leisure.” Destructive practices will evolve into constructive ones, setting the stage for an urbanization rooted in both traditional and new industries.
Along the rail, a linear city will be used to cross mobility infrastructure and mediate topography. These “urban bands” and “ecological corridors” will be phased with strategic campus-catalysts centered on alternative energy and material research & development.
Cartographic Grounds: projecting the landscape imaginary
These projects are done by !melk urban design llc, for more information visit their website here.
City of West Sacramento, California
Pier 57 Hudson River Park
New York, New York