Sofia Nannini

The Icelandic Concrete Saga. Architecture and Construction (1847–1958)

Tutor: Sergio Pace
Co-tutors: Atli Magnus Seelow (FAU, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg), Alberto Bologna (Politecnico di Torino)

This research project studies the political and technical role that concrete played in Icelandic architecture, spanning from the first applications of cement around 1847 to the construction of Iceland’s only cement factory in 1958. This study aims to trace the reasons behind the widespread architectural use of concrete in Iceland, together with the political and cultural meanings conveyed by the production and the employment of this material.


Sofia Nannini graduated in 2017 from the University of Bologna with a thesis on Pier Luigi Nervi’s Tobacco Factory in Bologna. Her research interests focus on construction history, with a particular attention to concrete, and on the connections between architecture, materials and politics. She is editor of the journal “Histories of Postwar Architecture” and journal manager of “in_bo”.


2011-2017 / MSc Building Engineering and Architecture, University of Bologna
2019 / exchange PhD student (Erasmus+), Háskóli Íslands (University of Iceland)

2018- / scientific collaborator of the Erasmus+ research project “Timeline Travel”, Department of Architecture, University of Bologna
2017-2018 / tutor of the PhD programme in Architecture and Design Cultures, University of Bologna
2016- / editor at Histories of Postwar Architecture
2016- / scientific collaborator of Centro Studi Cherubino Ghirardacci, Bologna
2015- / editor and journal manager at in_bo. Ricerche e progetti per il territorio, la città e l’architettura



Selected publications

Nannini, Sofia. “From Reception to Invention: The Arrival of Concrete to Iceland and the Rhetoric of Guðmundur
Hannesson”. Arts 7, no. 4 (2018): 68. (

Gaetani, Marianna, and Nannini, Sofia. “Zevi su Asplund. La riscoperta di un maestro per la nuova critica italiana
(1930–1948)”. Esempi d’architettura 5, no. 1 (2018): 61–72.

Nannini, Sofia. “Icelandic Concrete Surfaces. Guðjón Samúelsson’s Steining (1930–50).” In Iron, Steel and Buildings: the Proceedings of the Seventh Conference of the Construction History Society, edited by James W. P. Campbell, Nina Baker, Karey Draper, Michael Driver, Michael Heaton, Yiting Pan, Natcha Ruamsanitwong and David Yeomans. 541–52. Cambridge: The Construction History Society, 2020.

Nannini, Sofia. “The Silence of Modernity. Technology, Technique, and Reception of Giuseppe Vaccaro’s Works since the 1930s”. In The Routledge Companion Guide to Fascist Italian Architecture: Reception and Legacy, edited by Kay Bea Jones and Stephanie Pilat. Abington: Taylor & Francis/Routledge, 2020.

Nannini, Sofia. “Un lungo silenzio: l’assenza nella cronaca italiana e nella critica architettonica.” In Teatro di Marte: Il cimitero militare germanico al Passo della Futa, edited by Elena Pirazzoli. 77–102. Bologna: Archiviozeta, 2019.

Bartolomei, Luigi, Sofia Nannini and Marianna Gaetani, eds. “Glauco Gresleri (1930–2016). Parole, progetti, relazioni.” in_bo 10, No. 14 (2019).