ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN STUDIO
Learning outcomes of the course unit
At the end of the learning experience every student should have acquired the tools and the basic knowledge of urban morphology, sustainable urban design and public space configuration. He will have to be able to critically connect these skills with each other in order to control the design experience in a comprehensive and conscious way.
To all this he will add the ability of graphically present a project and the working knowledge of some of the major programs of automatic drawing, photo editing and rendering.
Course contents summary
A city is an organism made of "fabrics". Social, economic, cultural and environmental fabrics, energy and information networks: the very functioning of an urban structure depends on their interaction. The more such fabrics are interrelated and efficient, the more the organism will be dynamic, versatile and capable of meeting the demands and aspirations of its citizens. While it is unnecessary and perhaps impossible to try and understand the form of such fabrics, it is possible and necessary to understand the logic of their relations. The modes of interaction between fabrics in fact express how citizens inhabit their city, express how citizens transform the city through their daily actions. Understanding such logic or, better still, understanding the logical basis of such relations and discerning their role in the definition of urban fabrics is one of the main objectives of urban morphology. Urban morphology is therefore the platform where all networks that make up global society naturally find their place: information, energy, environmental, functional networks, which find in urban fabrics their necessary economic, social and cultural plug-ins. Fabrics that morphology can ‘read’ and plan in order to respond effectively to the needs of contemporary cities. But fabrics tend to "polarize" in specific locations of urban areas, and "become active" through routes, generating hierarchical systems which are unstable in as much as they are dynamic and constantly changing. Therefore, polarities, routes and fabrics are key concepts on which the city has been founded and transformed for thousands of years: morphology relies on them to read urban phenomena. But above all, it is on such concepts that a design methodology can be established for the construction of the smart, sustainable, livable city of the XXI century.
The project of the city, as the foundation of a new and sustainable global society, in which all scales of contemporary living are enclosed, is the theme of the Studio. The urban morphology, as an operational tool able to "read" the environment and "translate" into a conscious design synthesis is the common thread of the learning experience.
The Studio consists of two learning modules: "Architectural and Urban Design" and "Landscape Architecture". The project of the city and that of the landscape are, in fact, two sides of the same coin, two inseparable fields if you want to effectively address the design of the sustainable city of the XXI century. To paraphrase J. B. Jackson exists, shall we say, just a single landscape: the anthropic landscape.
The work in the Studio is divided in two phases so interrelated: a theoretical-critical one, during which the student will learn the essential tools for a morphological ("structural") reading of the city and its environmental features; a purely operative one, during which the student will apply the knowledge acquired to the project of the city. An analytic and design Workshop will hinge between the two phases.
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- M. Maretto Il Paesaggio delle Differenze. Architettura, città e territorio nella nuova era globale. ETS Edizioni, Pisa 2008.
- European City Architecture. Project-Structure-Image, Festival of Architecture 6, FA Edizioni, Parma 2011.
- Public Landscape, Festival of Architecture 4, FA Edizioni, Parma 2008.
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The work in a Design Studio is a complex educational experience that come into play along with theoretical knowledge and operational skills in which the critical ability to put together and make a synthesis of the acquired content is perhaps the most important of the entire educational experience. For this reason the first part of the Studio is characterized by a number of lectures integrated by a sequence of exercises to functionally verify the actual learning of the main topics of the course. The second part of the Studio sees on the contrary, the predominance of the design experience intended as a key moment in which the student has to learn how to make that synthesis that, as mentioned, is the basic ingredient of the whole learning experience. Between the first and the second part is expected a one week Workshop of urban and environmental analysis on the site of the intervention.
Assessment methods and criteria
A series of scheduled deliveries will assess, in the course of the academic year, the progress of the project developed by the student.
The final exhibition of the project will be the moment of the final evaluation.
To formulate the latter will contribute a number of factors such as the intrinsic quality of the project done, the knowledge of the topics covered in the Studio and their application to the project, the performance quality of the work done during the academic year (documented by deliveries) favoring those situations where it is clear an individual growth and maturation.