Dunamis Architettura was founded in L’Aquila in September 2007. We are a multidisciplinary architectural team operating under the direction of its two founding partners Stefano Balassone and Lorenzo Cantalini. In May 2012 the team expanded with the arrival of a new partner, Giovanna Marchei, and the simultaneous opening of a new office in Rome.

Based on a coordinated method of collaborative work and constant research, our activities gravitate at various scales around the theme of historic buildings, accompanied by themes of restoration and retrofitting of existing buildings, to the design of new buildings in consolidated urban contexts or primarily natural settings.

The underlying theme of our research is the desire to bring the language of contemporary architecture toward the consolidated built environment; we investigate the evolution of manmade spaces through the interconnection of social, material and environmental questions, with a particular focus on the relationship man-building-site. The always unique character of each site and client dictate the starting point of any architectural concept and later serve as the guide for the entire design process.

Founding Partner

Stefano Balassone

(L’Aquila, 9 March 1979) Founding partner of Dunamis, civil engineer and architect with a PhD in Recovery, Design and Preservation in urban and territorial contexts of elevated Environmental and Landscape value. His professional work focuses on relations with historicised contexts in which architecture is an element of continuity and bonds between past and future: since 2018 he is contract professor of Building Recovery and Construction with the graduate course in Civil Engineering-Architecture at the university at the Università degli Studi dell’Aquila. Both his professional work with Dunamis and his academic pursuits tend to involve people in the process of design, imagining architecture as a space of social exchange and relations, the metaphor of a place of work that over time defines a path and line of growth.

He has always been seen “building” as a collective exercise, rather than an individual expression. An exercise typical of communities that becomes identity and expression of the ties between man and the natural environment. The social role of the architect is the spirit that led him, in the wake of the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake, to found the Collettivo99, an association of young designers with whom, until 2010, he developed a plan for the rebirth and growth of the entire urban area damaged by the earthquake. He has participated in numerous conventions, including the opening session at the International Congress “Sismo UCAM 2015” (Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia, Spain) comparing three seismic events - L’Aquila 2009, Murcia 2011 and Emilia-Romagna 2012 – during which he presented a lecture titled “Reconversion Beyond Reconstruction”.

Founding Partner

Lorenzo Cantalini

(L’Aquila, 29 October 1979) Founding partner of Dunamis, architect and specialist in the restoration of monuments. Curious and pensive by nature, the focus of his research begins with the arts and the desire to transform diverse expressions of architecture into an effective ‘narrative voice’ capable of stimulating the emotions of any user. His professional development is stimulated and draws inspiration from different landscapes: this constant permeability of the surrounding environment is the origin of a profound respect for context and for man, forever at the heart of architectural design.

His attention is focused principally on the legacy of the built environment, on the contamination between the existing and the contemporary, and how to graft architecture onto the environment. At Dunamis his contribution to design is linked to a constant study of space and perception, with a particular focus on the interaction between architecture and public space, to create spaces with a strong identity that favour social contact and suggest permanence. In the academic field he has been involved in various research projects – including the ‘Progetto sperimentale della Carta del Rischio del Patrimonio Culturale per l’Abruzzo’ and the study of monumental buildings in the area of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II in Rome. He has also participated in numerous international projects: two Neptune Projects (Finland 2003 and Great Britain 2005) on themes of sustainability and the social role of architecture and, as a professor, the UNESCO ‘Berat Workshop’ programme (Albania, 2008-2009).


Giovanna Marchei

Giovanna Marchei (Rome, 29 September 1978), partner with Dunamis since 2012, architect and specialist in the restoration of monuments (Università ‘La Sapienza’ di Roma, 2010). Giovanna dreamt of being a designer since the age of 4, growing up with the idea that designing architecture means creating vessels for air; from a young age, during long summers spent in the countryside, she enjoyed designing ‘containers for air’, building small treehouses. Her motto is Architettare…

With Stefano and Lorenzo she shares not only a passion for this profession, but also an approach that characterises the earliest stages of the group’s activity: the desire to bring a contemporary language into everyday construction. Prior to joining Dunamis – where she now heads up Business Development – she worked on various projects in Italy and abroad, as a consultant to public entities such as the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities (MiBAC), including a study of Archaeological Parks. She also participated in international projects, including ‘Urban Historical Park of Sultanahmet: cultural itineraries’ (Palatina Association Istanbul, Turkey) for the promotion of the Great Palace of Constantinople and the project for the creation of roof to cover the Arslantepe Mound (Malatya, Turkey, directed by arch. G. Berucci).

During her studies and after graduating she worked with important international architects, including Giovanni Carbonara, Franco Purini and C.F. Møller Architects, with whom she participated in the international competition for the Requalification of the Mausoleum of Augustus and Piazza Augusto Imperatore, reaching the final phase (Rome, 2006).


Francesca Palmerini


Debora Emili


Simona Santarelli