One August night, on a roof terrace in Rome, a young architect in a state of repose observes a speckled sky. It's the Night of San Lorenzo, the best night of the year to spot shooting stars.
“The air was cool, drifting from the sea, but the deck was still warm from the heat of the day,” recalls architect Matthew Peek, who studied architecture in Italy on a Fulbright Fellowship in the late '90s. “I absorbed the warmth of the deck through my back, gazing up into the stars. It was kind of magical. I knew I had fallen in love with roofscapes in Italy.”
Peek, now principal of San Francisco's Studio Peek Ancona, summons more memories of life above the fray in Italy: the “sea of domes” as seen from his Roman rooftop, and, from a modest terrace in Florence, adorned with lemon and olive trees, a postcard view of the famous Duomo. More than a decade later, Peek's enchantment with rooftops has long surpassed its statute of limitations as mere nostalgia for a hopeful and adventurous time in his life – the impact of these Italian terraces lingers, imbuing his architectural career.