Marcella Del Signore is an architect and the principal of X-Topia, a design-research practice that explores the intersection of architecture and urbanism with digital practices. Her work concentrates on the relationship between architecture and urbanism by leveraging emerging technologies to imagine scenarios for the future of environments and cities. Her background in architecture and urban design has led her to explore and implement projects that investigate the relationships between contemporary architectural practice and the public/social/cultural scale in dialogue with technologically mediated systems. In her practice, she has been focusing on inter-scalar approaches to design, from small scale interventions, installations, and prototypes to buildings to the urban scale. This approach has led her to work across scales and protocols from material, morphological, spatial, and performative dimensions to the larger interlacement of spatial and urban systems. She holds a Master in Architecture from La Sapienza University in Rome and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in New York.
Del Signore is the author of Urban Machines: Public Space in a Digital Culture (ListLab, 2018, with Gernot Riether), which explores how information and communication technologies have radically changed the way we inhabit and operate in the urban space. She is the the co-editor of Recalibration: On Imprecision and Infidelity (with Phillip Anzalone and Andrew J. Wit) paper and project proceedings, published during the 2018 ACADIA (Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture) Conference, where she served as Technical Co-Chair and part of the ACADIA Board of Directors from 2016-18.
She has taught and collaborated with academic institutions in Europe and the U.S. including Tulane University, Barnard College at Columbia University, the Architectural Association, IaaC(Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia), University of Waterloo, LSU School of Architecture, IN/ARCH (National Italian Institute of Architecture and University of Trento). At Tulane University, she taught in the School of Architecture from 2008 to 2017, served as the Director of the Rome Study Abroad Program, and in 2016, was appointed the Kylene and Brad Beers SE Professor at the Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking.
Del Signore has worked nationally and internationally through an extended network of partners, institutions, and sponsors that have supported her work, receiving several awards and recognitions including the "Young Italian Talent" in architecture and design in 2010 by the Italian Ministry, the "Urban Urge Award" grant in 2014 (with Mona El Khafif), and the "American Architectural Prize" at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in the "other interior design" category in 2017 (with OSW). She has developed projects and research supported and promoted by the NEA(National Endowment for the Arts), Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, Zero1 Art and Technology Biennal, European Union, The Arts Council of New Orleans, Northern Spark Minneapolis, Emerging Artist Network, Fast Company– Design + Innovation, the BMW Guggenheim Lab, Milan Design Week, and the AIA New Orleans among others.
She is a licensed architect and has practiced in Rome, New Orleans, and New York. In New York, she worked at Eisenman Architects and Richard Meier & Partners. In 2018, she co-curated with Nancy Diniz and Frank Melendez at the ‘DATA & MATTER’ Exhibition at the European Cultural Center during the 2018 Architecture Venice Biennale. She has lectured, published, and exhibited widely.
- DATA and MATTER exhibition at the European Cultural Center during the 2018 Architecture Venice Biennale (with N. Diniz and F. Melendez).
- VectorFlow: responsive urban prototype for Duncan Plaza, New Orleans (with C. Roser Gray).
- DATAField: place making intervention designed to raise awareness through data feedbacks of the water network of the city of New Orleans (with C. Roser Gray).
- URBAN SYNCOPATION: performative skin and infrastructural device that as a responsive dynamic interface collects, transcodes, and re-transmits the collective ‘heartbeat’ of the downtown Toronto (with. I. Berman, M. El Khafif, S. Beites).
- CODED Space: master plan for dismissed infrastructures, New Orleans (with C. Roser Gray, G. Morando).
- HELIX: prototype for interior environments exhibited at the Milan Design Week (with G. Morando, E. Del Signore).
- PARKING for PEOPLE: urban prototype exhibited at the Milan Design Week (with G. Morando, E. Del Signore).
- Co-authored Urban Machines: Public Space in a Digital Culture, LISTLab, 2018 (with G. Riether).
- Co-edited Recalibration: On Imprecision and Infidelity. Paper Proceedings for the 2018 Association of Computer Aided Design in Architecture Conference (ACADIA). Mexico City. September 2018 (with P. Anzalone & A. J. Wit).
- Co-edited Recalibration: On imprecision and Infidelity. Project Catalog for the 2018 Association of Computer Aided Design in Architecture Conference (ACADIA). Mexico City. September 2018 (with P. Anzalone & A. J. Wit).
- Co-edited 7 Strategies for Urbanism University of Trento Press, 2017 (with V. Cribari).
- Co-authored "Learning from New Orleans: Social Resilience for Urban Ecosystems" in Architecture and Resilience- Interdisciplinary Dialogues, Routledge, 2018 (with C. Roser Gray).
- Co-authored "Recalibrating computational process and material + production systems" in Recalibration: On Imprecision and Infidelity, project catalog for the 2018 ACADIA conference (with P. Anzalone and A. J. Wit).
- Co-authored "Imprecision in Materials + Production," "Computational Infidelities," and "Notes on imprecision and infidelity" in Recalibration: On Imprecision and Infidelity, proceedings of the 2018 ACADIA conference (with P. Anzalone and A. J. Wit).
- Co-authored "DATAField" in 2017 Association of Computer Aided Design in Architecture Conference (ACADIA) Projects Catalog 37th Conference "Disciplines & Disruption," MIT Media Lab, Boston (with C. Roser Gray).
- "PneuSENSE: Transcoding Social Ecologies" in 2017 Education and research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe (eCAADe) 35th Conference Proceedings. Rome, Italy.
- "Collective shared Intelligence and open source models in Design Practice" in monograph, Research, 2016, ListLab.
- Co-authored "Topos and A-Topos in Design and Architecture" in 5th International Forum of Design as Process—Advanced Design Cultures Conference Proceedings, Monterrey, Mexico (with I. Caruso).
- Co-authored "Strategies for Allographic Urbanism" in XXV International Union of Architects World Congress Proceedings, Durban, South Africa (with M. El Khafif).
Professional Honors & Awards
- 1st prize, Duncan Plaza Competition, New Orleans (with C. Roser Gray).
- The Plan Award, Urban Syncopation – “Special Projects” Category – Shortlisted (with. I. Berman, M. El Khafif, S. Beites).
- American Architecture Prize, Gold Prize – Helix, ‘Other Interior‘ Design Category, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.
- 3rd Prize, eVolo_VModern- Helix (with G. Morando, E. Del Signore).
- 1st Prize, Berlin Design Week- Helix (with G. Morando, E. Del Signore).
- AIA (American Institute of Architects) – New Orleans, USGBC Excellence in Sustainability Award: Projects of Note-Coded Space and Helix (with C. Roser Gray).
- Young Italian Talent Award in Architecture and Design, Ministry of Development and Youth National Agency.
Courses I Teach/Have Taught at New York Tech
- ARCH 101: Design Fundamentals I Studio
- AAID 140: Visualization I
- AAID 240: Visualization II
- ARCH 340: Visualization III