web information: 

Showed for the first time at the Maker Faire Rome, St Horto is the first prototype of an interactive garden that creates an ideal synergy between architecture, nature, music and social technologies.

Architecture has a key role: the asymmetric but well-proportioned spaces , which are  uneven  but  harmonious at the same time, create unusual tactile, olfactory and visual perspectives designed to provide a deep sensorial experience that could be suitable for children too. When you go into the St Horto, you are immersed in a dynamic space characterized by a sequence of solid and empty triangulations that provides mainly educational functions. St Horto represents to Maker Faire Rome  an explosion of technology, carpentry and advanced design techniques.

Cultivation areas, sonic harps, dining seating  and an interactive lighting system  alternate within 31 triangular tanks .

Furthermore, an accurate study on 93 nodes allows the project  to have different triangulations that increase, in this way, its own technical complexity and originality.

St Horto is the winner of the international competition Hortocontest.

International press has so far widely recognized it especially thanks to the exhibition Cut ‘n’ Paste, curated by Pedro Gadanho that exposes the project St Horto until December 13rd, 2013 at the MOMA Museum in New York. 

Images © OFL Architecture


Architecture: Francesco Lipari, Vanessa Todaro (OFL Architecture) and Federico Giacomarra 

Consultants: Mitchell Joachim (Terreform One), Nicola Corona (Agronomo), Alberto Serra (Informatic Tecnologies), Vincenzo Core (Musician), Domenico Canzoniero (ndb marketing), Marco Pesoli (Sound Engineer), Felice Allievi (DOF Structural Engineer).



Location: Rome, Italy | Client: Lanificio 159
Phase:  Winner competition
Year: 2012               
Design Team: OFL Architecture, Mitchell Joachim, Alberto Serra, Nicola Corona, DOF Engineers

The project was born from the idea of creating a perfect synergy between architecture, nature and social technologies.

The name “St. Horto” is a pun, between Italian and English language. The two words “Horto” and “St” give at the same time the idea of a sacred, intimate garden and of something crooked, apparently disordered but full of life, just like a plant. Together they represent the irregular geometry (crooked or oblique) but highly controlled architectural design of the garden. 


St. Horto fits perfectly within the project area and at the same time it redefines the boundaries through a game of compressions and expansions creating  a dynamic and attractive space. The concept comes to life from the observation of spinning methods: mechanical (woolen mill) and manual (spindle or mistaff).

These two elements have been reinterpreted and incorporated into the project and represented by wooden poles and ropes of white canvas. The triangular tanks containing the real garden are obtained by the repetition of three modules, which in combination create endless compositions.

In line with the Lanificio’s inner cultural activities, we have chosen to adopt this geometry by the analogy with various forms of art: painting, drawing, music, cinema. 

The architecture plays a fundamental role: spaces which are asymmetric but proportionate, uneven but harmonic, create unusual tactile, olfactory and visual perspectives designed to facilitate a complete and suitable experience for children.

The access to the garden is on the west side of the roof, in front of the entrance to the terrace.

From here you can immerge yourself in a space characterized by a succession of energetic triangulations, full and empty, which follow one another along a path of particular educational functions. 


The innovative feature of St. Horto is definitely its integration with the 2.0 technology through a customized project.

Inspired by other projects of interactive gardens with sensors and thanks to the direct experience of Alberto Serra, creator of Jardimpu, it was decided to install a technology allowing realtime monitoring of the growing plants in the garden, through the use of hardware tools (Arduino with sensors and webcam) and software.

In three particular points of the garden, we use steel cables which become veritable harp instruments.

The St. Horto project combines four inseparable factors among them: functionality, aesthetics, production and teaching. The production is essential in the designed layout. Inside the tanks the usable area for cultivation is 115 square meters (flexible for future expansions) and is therefore enough for a real farming production, not only purely educational/disciplinary. 

Images © OFL Architecture

© DOF engineers 2017 . All rights reserved. Disclaimer and legal notice