Bianca Felicori, Behind Forgotten Architecture
What started as an architectural research Facebook group is now redefining architectural research.

My first encounter with Bianca was on Instagram. It was one of those days when you sit and scroll endlessly, jumping from page to page, unintentionally ending up on somebody’s cousin’s ex-girlfriend’s sister’s profile. An activity I like to call “the social media portal to hell,” or more concisely “the Insta-ozone.”
Her nonchalant feed expressed what I later learned to be a manifestation of her character in real life. A mix of casual selfies issuing a slightly sexy aura and funny sayings written on gritty city walls. Her age remained a mystery, and so did her career. I just knew she must work in some type of design field because “normal” people can rarely convey their wit through a two-dimensional image so well. Needless to say, I was intrigued by this person, and I needed to find out more.

Like every modern friendship story, after going back & forth on DM multiple times, we decided to meet up and become acquainted offline.

As the good patriotic Italians we are, we set the date on a cold evening at one of Milan’s most famous institutions, “Bar Cucchi,” to break the ice over some alcoholic beverages garnished with Mediterranean olives, fulfilling each and every aperitivo cliché.

Bianca arrived (late – or maybe I was just early) on her favorite means of transport: a bike rented from a sharing app. Her long mascara-coated lashes framed her deep, expressive blue eyes and when she greeted me with a big smile, I was immediately pervaded by a warm feeling. The kind you get when you come in contact with a person that carries extremely positive energy. Soon we discovered why we gravitated so seamlessly towards each other: Bianca is a Virgo and so I am. Our critical eye for society and analytical attitude towards everything happening on earth floats on the same frequency and our “hate” for the whole shebang surrounding us became the bonding ground for the establishment of a great fellowship.

Bianca is an urbanist by academic training but a curious researcher by definition. At only 25 years of age, she already boasts an incredible editorial resume having worked with titles such as DOMUS, ARTRIBUNE, and ELLE DECOR. Apart from her job critiquing and reviewing the latest in architecture, Bianca is the renowned founder and administrator of Forgotten Architecture, a continuous digital architectural archive in the form of a Facebook group.

The fast-growing, design-heavy forum is kept alive by the crowdsourced contribution of over 25,000 aficionados, who log in daily to discuss, review and speculate about the bizarre buildings constructed by some of the most famous architects yet forgotten – as the name itself states – by the public. 

Bianca’s determination to unearth and revive the decadent designs of some of the most prestigious names in the field of architecture has attributed her the aura of a futuristic social media historian, educating her followers through the use of witty captions, female heavy agendas, and unorthodox columns. 

Her segment Trap Architecture, live on Elle Decor Italia, explores the interaction between rap artists and the location chosen for their visuals, shelling out their relationship with housing projects and the notorious “block,” aka their home neighborhood. Her unorthodox approach to researching the topic has led her on various talk panels hosted by international cultural institutions such as the Triennale Museum in Milan and a TedX. The transcendent and metaphysical nature of Forgotten Architecture is the proof that slowly but surely even the most traditional and functional design careers are assimilating a rather democratic vernacular, and the discourse surrounding experimental construction, environmentalism, and urban preservation is moving out of big firm’s meeting rooms and city council bulletins to find space on a more informal platform such as Instagram. Accounts like Forgotten Architecture, Hood MidCentury Modern, Brutalism Appreciation Society are leading the conversation thanks to their founders’ multidisciplinary exploration and diverse backgrounds.

Achziv miilkiina
miilkiina 9 aldo loris rossi casa del portuale di napoli. foto di Fabrizio Vatieri

Architecture is fascinating yet obscure. The engineering process and physics behind soaring structures are something generally puzzling and mostly superhuman. The sense of safety and durability a building can convey is beyond comparison. After all, some structures have been standing for centuries, even when the tools and technologies available at the time of their construction were basic and rudimental. Architecture is all around us. We interact with architecture in our homes, our workplace, the monuments in our cities, the spaces where we go for art. So why has this industry been so sectorial thus far?

“Often, we treat this discipline as something alone-standing with no connection to reality. The architects themselves avoid contamination and keep in their bubble. I ask myself, how is it possible to live in a world full of infrastructures interacting with our routine daily and not be curious about architecture and city planning.” Bianca told me in one of our nerdy conversations about her practice.
Bianca is confused by the veil keeping architecture in the shadow, almost a taboo for regular people. “I don’t understand how architecture is not a popular topic nowadays. For popular, I mean literally for the people. The general public will visit Fondazione Prada but not know who Rem Koolhas is, and I think it’s a shame. Architecture should be popular knowledge. You know the name of the mayor of Milan; you should also know about the building he resides in”. 

For this reason, it is important to have platforms like Forgotten Architecture to debunk the stigma around architecture and divulge basic information to everybody instead of perpetuating the involuntary ignorance hovering over this subject. 

The trigger behind Bianca’s love for exploring and disclosing architecture is philosophical. She’s fascinated by the humans behind the structures, more specifically by their minds. “I love Rem Koolhaas work: De Rotterdam, Fondazione Prada, Casa Da Musica, but my heart beats for his publications. Junk Space above all.” 

It’s not hard to trip over a pile of books in Bianca’s apartment.
“I obsess over certain characters, to the point I almost become attached to them. I believe this is the base of my love for this profession,” she says about her extensive bookshelf.

The pages of the volumes I pick up during one of my visits are riddled with scribbles and highlight marks. They are new but so overused they carry a vintage flair.

It is not random that Bianca chose an artistic path as she comes from a family immersed in the arts. Her father is a well-known official that posed as the director of Reggia di Caserta until late 2018. During this time, he brought numerous improvements to the establishment, including an Instagram page collecting the Palace’s highlights and counting over 40 thousand followers. 

Her passion for art, design, and culture springs from a need to bring beauty to the world. This is why she chose a city planning major. Her practical demeanor influenced the academic path she followed, but her aesthetic inclination diverted her profession towards a less schematic discipline. 

Even commending a degree from a top-ranking university, Bianca makes it clear that the world of architecture is not all smiles and roses. 

 

She never considered a bachelor’s degree to be the finish line, rather she sees studying – hence her experimental research – as a platform for personal improvement. Her passion for learning is juxtaposed with “striving to do things well.” This cultural and working restlessness was instilled in her by her parents, who pushed her not to wait for graduation to get her hands dirty but to inject her academic curriculum with personal interests and research.

“For a young architect, gaining a degree simply means deciding how to develop and apply their practice,” she affirms. “I always knew I wasn’t made for technical design. Research and writing came naturally to me”. She was 21 and just about to finish her AA when she first got introduced to architectural literature. She wasn’t completely aware of what she was throwing herself into, but she felt an incredible attraction for the history of architecture, and so after meeting Nicola Di Battista (DOMUS’s editor in chief), she joined the magazine as an intern. Here, she had an epiphany and became aware of the need to write, read, and talk about architecture in all its iterations.

The steady growth of Forgotten Architecture, Bianca’s fast-evolving career, and the interest the project is receiving from entities alien to architecture and design prove that something in the machine is changing. Is the new generation of architects like Bianca, the trailblazer for the democratization of environmental engineering? We can’t say yet. Surely their open mind, collaborative and innovative spirit is making waves in the field and shaking industry standards, stretching a hand over to old school gatekeepers in the hope to pull them down from their Olympus and convince them shared knowledge is power.

Bianca Felicori, Behind Forgotten Architecture
What started as an architectural research Facebook group is now redefining architectural research.

My first encounter with Bianca was on Instagram. It was one of those days when you sit and scroll endlessly, jumping from page to page, unintentionally ending up on somebody’s cousin’s ex-girlfriend’s sister’s profile. An activity I like to call “the social media portal to hell,” or more concisely “the Insta-ozone.”
Her nonchalant feed expressed what I later learned to be a manifestation of her character in real life. A mix of casual selfies issuing a slightly sexy aura and funny sayings written on gritty city walls. Her age remained a mystery, and so did her career. I just knew she must work in some type of design field because “normal” people can rarely convey their wit through a two-dimensional image so well. Needless to say, I was intrigued by this person, and I needed to find out more.

Like every modern friendship story, after going back & forth on DM multiple times, we decided to meet up and become acquainted offline.

As the good patriotic Italians we are, we set the date on a cold evening at one of Milan’s most famous institutions, “Bar Cucchi,” to break the ice over some alcoholic beverages garnished with Mediterranean olives, fulfilling each and every aperitivo cliché.

Bianca arrived (late – or maybe I was just early) on her favorite means of transport: a bike rented from a sharing app. Her long mascara-coated lashes framed her deep, expressive blue eyes and when she greeted me with a big smile, I was immediately pervaded by a warm feeling. The kind you get when you come in contact with a person that carries extremely positive energy. Soon we discovered why we gravitated so seamlessly towards each other: Bianca is a Virgo and so I am. Our critical eye for society and analytical attitude towards everything happening on earth floats on the same frequency and our “hate” for the whole shebang surrounding us became the bonding ground for the establishment of a great fellowship.

Bianca is an urbanist by academic training but a curious researcher by definition. At only 25 years of age, she already boasts an incredible editorial resume having worked with titles such as DOMUS, ARTRIBUNE, and ELLE DECOR. Apart from her job critiquing and reviewing the latest in architecture, Bianca is the renowned founder and administrator of Forgotten Architecture, a continuous digital architectural archive in the form of a Facebook group.

The fast-growing, design-heavy forum is kept alive by the crowdsourced contribution of over 25,000 aficionados, who log in daily to discuss, review and speculate about the bizarre buildings constructed by some of the most famous architects yet forgotten – as the name itself states – by the public. 

Bianca’s determination to unearth and revive the decadent designs of some of the most prestigious names in the field of architecture has attributed her the aura of a futuristic social media historian, educating her followers through the use of witty captions, female heavy agendas, and unorthodox columns. 

Her segment Trap Architecture, live on Elle Decor Italia, explores the interaction between rap artists and the location chosen for their visuals, shelling out their relationship with housing projects and the notorious “block,” aka their home neighborhood. Her unorthodox approach to researching the topic has led her on various talk panels hosted by international cultural institutions such as the Triennale Museum in Milan and a TedX. The transcendent and metaphysical nature of Forgotten Architecture is the proof that slowly but surely even the most traditional and functional design careers are assimilating a rather democratic vernacular, and the discourse surrounding experimental construction, environmentalism, and urban preservation is moving out of big firm’s meeting rooms and city council bulletins to find space on a more informal platform such as Instagram. Accounts like Forgotten Architecture, Hood MidCentury Modern, Brutalism Appreciation Society are leading the conversation thanks to their founders’ multidisciplinary exploration and diverse backgrounds.

Achziv miilkiina
miilkiina 9 aldo loris rossi casa del portuale di napoli. foto di Fabrizio Vatieri

Architecture is fascinating yet obscure. The engineering process and physics behind soaring structures are something generally puzzling and mostly superhuman. The sense of safety and durability a building can convey is beyond comparison. After all, some structures have been standing for centuries, even when the tools and technologies available at the time of their construction were basic and rudimental. Architecture is all around us. We interact with architecture in our homes, our workplace, the monuments in our cities, the spaces where we go for art. So why has this industry been so sectorial thus far?

“Often, we treat this discipline as something alone-standing with no connection to reality. The architects themselves avoid contamination and keep in their bubble. I ask myself, how is it possible to live in a world full of infrastructures interacting with our routine daily and not be curious about architecture and city planning.” Bianca told me in one of our nerdy conversations about her practice.
Bianca is confused by the veil keeping architecture in the shadow, almost a taboo for regular people. “I don’t understand how architecture is not a popular topic nowadays. For popular, I mean literally for the people. The general public will visit Fondazione Prada but not know who Rem Koolhas is, and I think it’s a shame. Architecture should be popular knowledge. You know the name of the mayor of Milan; you should also know about the building he resides in”. 

For this reason, it is important to have platforms like Forgotten Architecture to debunk the stigma around architecture and divulge basic information to everybody instead of perpetuating the involuntary ignorance hovering over this subject. 

The trigger behind Bianca’s love for exploring and disclosing architecture is philosophical. She’s fascinated by the humans behind the structures, more specifically by their minds. “I love Rem Koolhaas work: De Rotterdam, Fondazione Prada, Casa Da Musica, but my heart beats for his publications. Junk Space above all.” 

It’s not hard to trip over a pile of books in Bianca’s apartment.
“I obsess over certain characters, to the point I almost become attached to them. I believe this is the base of my love for this profession,” she says about her extensive bookshelf.

The pages of the volumes I pick up during one of my visits are riddled with scribbles and highlight marks. They are new but so overused they carry a vintage flair.

It is not random that Bianca chose an artistic path as she comes from a family immersed in the arts. Her father is a well-known official that posed as the director of Reggia di Caserta until late 2018. During this time, he brought numerous improvements to the establishment, including an Instagram page collecting the Palace’s highlights and counting over 40 thousand followers. 

Her passion for art, design, and culture springs from a need to bring beauty to the world. This is why she chose a city planning major. Her practical demeanor influenced the academic path she followed, but her aesthetic inclination diverted her profession towards a less schematic discipline. 

Even commending a degree from a top-ranking university, Bianca makes it clear that the world of architecture is not all smiles and roses. 

 

She never considered a bachelor’s degree to be the finish line, rather she sees studying – hence her experimental research – as a platform for personal improvement. Her passion for learning is juxtaposed with “striving to do things well.” This cultural and working restlessness was instilled in her by her parents, who pushed her not to wait for graduation to get her hands dirty but to inject her academic curriculum with personal interests and research.

“For a young architect, gaining a degree simply means deciding how to develop and apply their practice,” she affirms. “I always knew I wasn’t made for technical design. Research and writing came naturally to me”. She was 21 and just about to finish her AA when she first got introduced to architectural literature. She wasn’t completely aware of what she was throwing herself into, but she felt an incredible attraction for the history of architecture, and so after meeting Nicola Di Battista (DOMUS’s editor in chief), she joined the magazine as an intern. Here, she had an epiphany and became aware of the need to write, read, and talk about architecture in all its iterations.

The steady growth of Forgotten Architecture, Bianca’s fast-evolving career, and the interest the project is receiving from entities alien to architecture and design prove that something in the machine is changing. Is the new generation of architects like Bianca, the trailblazer for the democratization of environmental engineering? We can’t say yet. Surely their open mind, collaborative and innovative spirit is making waves in the field and shaking industry standards, stretching a hand over to old school gatekeepers in the hope to pull them down from their Olympus and convince them shared knowledge is power.

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