The Research Unit DarMed originated in a group of teachers and researchers of the University of Florence in accordance with the Shared Declaration of 6 July 2015 made by the Ministers of Education of both Morocco and Italy, aimed at launching the École Euro-Méditerranéenne d’Architecture, Design et Urbanisme de Fès, co-created by the Università di Firenze and the Université Euro-Méditerranéenne de Fès. Stemming from this experience, the Unit operates in the Euro-Mediterranean contexts with the purpose of combining knowledge and competencies related to specific fields within a common vision focused on the role in terms of the project of both material and intangible heritage.


Framework and purpose

The processes of change that are taking place today in the Mediterranean countries involve, especially for those on its southern shores, fast and radical structural modifications that have an effect on the territory and urban fabric, as well as on the forms and quality of living, on landscapes, economies and relative production systems. “Modernisation” often entails the loss of relevant and strategic heritage values from a long-term perspective (environmental resources, settlement models, building techniques, local production). The answer to the challenge of how to combine the drive for change with the preservation of local cultures and sustainable development cannot be understood in conservative terms, or by rejecting innovation. It is rather in the way and intensity with which these imposing transformations are regulated that the crux of the matter lies, as well as in the determination of correct and innovative valorisation strategies. From this point of view, heritage knowledge systems - traditional knowledge – are considered as key elements since they are an expression of the meeting between community and place, a depository of knowledge developed from the specific resources present in an environment, as well as rules and principles for design characterised by a high degree of contextuality and sustainability which can be adapted to contemporary technological solutions.

The issues regarding heritage and the project (heritage, cultural heritage, design) – placed at the centre of the Research Unit – contain a series of transversal questions involving a variety of sectors and fields, thus offering the opportunity to intersect methods and experiences: the architectural, design, urban and territorial scales, the various categories of analysis, the various uses in time, the level of perception of the historical and identity values, and the technical-cultural know-how aimed at valorising the relationship between old and new. Heritage and project are in this sense the energy behind the transformation and recomposition of human and cultural landscapes of the cities and places of the Mediterranean.

The Research Unit, which includes academics from different scientific fields, aims to develop studies, research and pilot projects characterised by a strong interdisciplinary nature and focused on the Mediterranean basin through a heritage approach which – considering on the one hand the historical depth involved, and on the other the importance of the coevolutionary dialogue between nature and culture in the shaping of places – represents a project-analysis methodology which is especially fertile in this context.





The activities carried out by the Unit combine themes that are more directly related to the project, such as architecture, design, urban planning and landscape design with those related to the social sciences, such as anthropology, sociology and economy. The adopted approach combines the instances related to the sustainability, safeguarding, recovery and valorisation of the architectural, urban, landscape and material heritage with those concerning innovation, experimentation in the construction of policies, in terms of the architectural project and its settlement principles (types and variations of identity, confirmations and forecasts), as well as in processes linked to material and intangible culture.

Specific areas of competence of the Research Unit, among others:

  • project and safeguarding of the city, the territory and the landscape;
  • analysis and project concerning human settlements and dwellings (architecture of the city and of the landscape);
  • survey and diagnostics;
  • materials and structures for architecture;
  • design for cultural heritage (design starting from and for the cultural heritage);
  • design for sustainability and social innovation;
  • recovery of built heritage and sustainability;
  • knowledge, study and documentation of the historical-artistic, archaeological and architectural heritage.


The Unit aims to participate in national and international research programmes, fostering interaction at all levels, between academic institutions, public administrations, education and research institutions and associations, start-up businesses, productive entities, companies and civil society, promoting research and the exchange of ideas and experiences, detailed interdisciplinary studies and analyses, publications, and the generation of models, pilot projects and prototypes.





  • S. Bertocci, G. Pancani, P. Puma, A. Ricci, G. Minutoli. Survey, redevelopment and redesign of an urban void in Sefrou.
  • F. Collotti, E. Martinelli, C. Morea, L. Antichi, A. Meliani, Fès: a new meaning to spaces and landscapes. Redevelopment of archaeological area of the Merinidi tombs (C. Signorini, dissertation in Architecture 2017), Recomposition of the walls and access to R’cif square (M. Piol, dissertation in Architecture 2017), Places for culture at Borj South (G. Gioachin, dissertation in Architecture 2017).
  • L. Dipasquale, S. Galassi, G. Tempesta, N. Ruggieri, Timber roof structures in Northern Morocco: constructive analysis and mechanical assessment.
  • L. Dipasquale, S. Mecca, U. Tonietti, L. Rovero, M. R. Gisotti, Architectural heritage and building culture of the Sefrou medina. Analysis, conservation, innovation.
  • L. Dipasquale, S. Mecca, S. Caccia, S. Bertocci, V. Stefanini Pennucci, Built heritage and sustainable development. Research-development-innovation project, financed by Fès-Meknès Region.
  • D. Giorgi (coord.), Projets de Recherche-Développement-Innovation 2016 – Région Fès Meknés: Création d’un Cluster sur le design et l’innovation pour le développement des productions artisanales et manufacturières dans la région Fès – Meknès (2016 in progress), partnership with UEMF and the Centre de Formation dans le Métiers de l’Artisanat de Fès.
  • M.R. Gisotti, M. Carta, Mediterranean neo-metropoles: the great ongoing transformation of Morocco facing sustainability’s challenge.
  • L. Hadda, The minbars in wood of the mediaeval mosques of Fès.
  • G. Lotti (coord.), M’ART: support to the craft production and to the social economy in Fès and Tanger (Morocco) (2017 in progress), partnership with COSPE.
  • G. Pancani, S. Galassi, G. Zuppanti, M. Bigongiari, Survey and seismic vulnerability assessment of the Caracalla’s arch in the archaeological site of Volubilis (Morocco).


pianta città rurale



  • Carta M., Gisotti M.R. (2018), “Urbanistica e metropolizzazione nei paesi emergenti del Mediterraneo: il caso della nuova ‘ville nouvelle’ di Fès”, in Proceedings of XX Conferenza Nazionale SIU. Urbanistica e/è azione pubblica. La responsabilità della proposta, Roma 12-14 june 2016.
  • Carta M., Gisotti M.R. (2017), “Urbanizzazioni mediterranee a confronto. La grande trasformazione marocchina e la lezione del cantiere interrotto italiano”, in Talia M. (a cura di), Un futuro affidabile per la città. Apertura al cambiamento e rischio accettabile nel governo del territorio, Planum Publisher, Roma-Milano.
  • Galassi S., Dipasquale, L.; Ruggieri N., Tempesta G. (2018) “Andalusian timber roof structure in Chefchaouen, Northern Morocco: construction technique and mechanical behavior assessment”, in ASCE’s Journal of Architectural Engineering.
  • F. Privitera, M. Métalsi (2016), Le signe de la Mèdina. La morphologie urbaine selon Roberto Berardi, EEM DiDAPress, Firenze.
  • Dipasquale L., Gisotti M.R. (2018), “Material and immaterial heritage as strategic resource facing complex risks: the case of Fès-Meknès region (Morocco)”, Le vie dei mercanti - XVI International Forum, World Heritage and Knowledge. Representation, restoration, redesign, resilience, Naples-Capri 14/16 june 2018.





Scientific Coordinator
Saverio Mecca
Università degli Studi
di Firenze
di Architettura
Santa Teresa
via della Mattonaia 8
50121 Firenze

Thematic coordination

Francesco Collotti

Città Territorio e Paesaggio:
Maria Rita Gisotti

Giuseppe Lotti


Alessandro Brodini
Susanna Caccia Gherardini
Francesco Collotti
Letizia Di Pasquale
Fabio Fratini
Stefano Galassi
Debora Giorgi
Maria Rita Gisotti
Anna Lambertini
Giuseppe Lotti
Saverio Mecca
Giovanni Pancani
Claudio Piferi
Alberto Pireddu
Luisa Rovero
Ugo Tonietti

External collaborations

Massimo Carta
Lamia Hadda
Eliana Martinelli
Claudia Morea
Valentina Stefanini Pennucci
Giacomo Zuppanti


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