Educating architects to serve life and the people: a new International Master in Architecture at University Suor Orsola Benincasa

The University Suor Orsola Benincasa in Naples (UniSOB), offers a Master program in Architecture entitled “Building Beauty: Ecologic Design and Construction Process”. It proposes an integrated approach to: 1) direct hands-on construction; 2) low-carbon/low-tech building craftsmanship; 3) community empowerment. The proposed model process builds on Christopher Alexander’s principles, looking at international cooperation, right-to-build, emergency and place ecology in a profoundly sustainable perspective. It is an intensive residential program, taught in English and designed to offer a holistic experience of generating beauty that makes a difference based on the reality of feelings and an evidence-based approach to the building process.

The program is practice-based, offering an immersive experience of hands-on construction that links together self development, ecological thinking and building skills: students learn low-tech construction and decoration techniques over an intensive, fully human, feeling-based building process. Learning is organized in three axis: 1. Construction and Cultivation: full-scale replication of ancient building components/ ornaments and a new project in University’s courtyard. In cooperation with UniSOB’s Mediterranean diet and botanic labs, cultivation of plants/ food in the monastery gardens. 2. Seminars: leading international scholars from a wide range of scientific fields explore with students the potential of a truly interdisciplinary approach to design and construction where complexity and uncertainty are the positive condition of beauty generation; speakers tackle important challenges in the current international agenda of sustainable architecture and resilient communities. 3. Self, Community and Space: practical movement/art/ dance/therapy workshops aimed at recognizing and trust our feelings in relation to space. Feelings are referred to space, the body-mind, and the way they interact in hands-on physical work of making.

The program also includes: a) intensive Summer School construction experience in Cisternino (Puglia), learning to build the traditional “trulli”; b) Theory of Beauty Conference”: students present and discuss their experience with world leading scholars and professionals.

Entitlement to apply

The program is international, open to individuals holding a Bachelor degree or equivalent experience in Architecture or any other subject.


Upon successful completion of the program, students will be awarded the "Building Beauty: Ecologic Design and Construction Process" First Level Specializing Master Diploma (60 ECTS credits, equivalent to 120 USA/UK credits). The title is accredited by the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR).

Tuition Fees

EU students: €10,000 (full fee, including pre-enrolment and tuition). Non-EU students: €16,300 (full fee, including pre-enrollment and tuition).


Registrations will be accepted starting in mid April 2017, following announcement on the website.


  • Sergio Porta: sergio.porta at
  • Antonio Caperna: antonio.caperna at
  • Maggie Moore-Alexander: maggie.moore-alexander at