Project LAB: Urban Re-generation of abandoned places
CRITICAL HOUSING: A LOCAL PERSPECTIVE
Background: The project as a Tactical process
At the centre of the Workshop of Architectural Design, there is the attention at the project understood as a 'Tactical process', intended as a recognizable path, conscius and oriented, acting on a small scale of intervention, however able to trigger significant effects in medium and large scale.
Tactical process acts as a 'vehicle' to respond to urgent questions, such as the problem of the Social housing in the contemporary city, able to return the new life cycles in contexts that are often underutilized or abandoned.
Just the theme of abandonment is increasingly characterizing our villages, from the most inner and dense, to more external, unstructured and degraded situations, where decommissioning of disused buildings draws a new map of important places, can in a near future to become important resources for the transformation of our cities.
Project Outline: 'Housing: Critical Future'
The occasion of the didactic project starts from an International Student Competition, 'Housing - Critical Future', that is organized by the Journal Architecture-MPS and involved in a bigger network of events (academic conferences, film/media events, books and articles, web platform for the sharing of project informations) organised in collaboration with a range associations and universities. The aim is to enlist artists, fimmakers, academics and activists from around the world. They will raise the issue of the crisis in affordable, healthy and sustainable housing that plagues countries across the globe. At the moment many universities in the world are involved in this important competition: University College London, UK; Pulu University, Finland; Technical University of Athens, Greece; the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Universidad Gestalt of diseno, Mexico; Glasgow School of Art, Scotland; Liverpool John Mors University, UK; Temple University, Philadelphia, USA; National University of Singapore, Singapore; Greenside Design Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa; University of Seville, Spain; Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
Topic: From 'local to global'- Proposals for new Social Housing in the contemporary city
In this period the issue of providing affordable, healthy and sustainable 'Social-Housing' takes on many forms. It crosses over disciplines as much it crosses over geographical boundaries. It can be a question of planning prevision or an issue of community empowerment. In some instances it may be dependent on the development of technological fixes: resilient materials, easily transportable buildings as Kit-of parts etc. It may, however, also be a question of planning strategy and regulation - the freedom of self-build, or the freeing of land for high density living accomodation. It may be a question of developing new forms of finance or alternative forms of space planning. It may require new forms of construction, or ever cheaper and faster ways of renovating what buildings we already have. Sometime the best re-use of existing houses is sufficient to meet the housing needs.
Reflecting this inherent diversity of needs and possible solutions, The Workshop of Multi-scale Architecture and Urbanl Design Studio 3 proposes to the students different geographical project-areas, located in three different countries, in which the question of housing is very 'critical' and opened to different solutions:
Milano and Rome, in Italy, where the competition 'Housing - Critical future', can be involved in big projects such as: Re-forming Milan, that this academic year proposes the re-generation of important strategic areas in the North-west Sector of the City, close to the EXPO 2015 site;
Barcelona and Sevilla, in Spain, where the proposal is made in response to one of the main ghallenges they face european public administrations: the obsolescence of residencial neighborhoods built in the second half of the twentieth century
Lyon and Paris, in France, where the problem of social housing is referred overall to the renovating of the peripheries and margin areas along the main rivers of the two big cities.
Program: An innovative and creative project
In congruence with the requirements of the Competition the students have to develope the project inside these problematic sections, that include the main goals of the proposals:
a-Planning and strategic approaches: a design solution that permise innovative approaches to legal, financial or planning issues;
b- Urban Design initiatives: a design that is able to reflect the inevitable urban implications of housing large numbers of people in specific locations;
c- Sustainable house initiatives: a design that proposes innovative ideas at the scale of individual building
d- Renovating for life: a design able to propose creative and practical ideas on how to best reuse existing housing or other building stock to meet the housing needs.
The proposals have to answer to architectural issues (Typological disengagement, technical deficiences, physical deterioration), urban (isolation, functional deficiences, degradation of public spaces) and social (unemployment, segregation, conflict).
Besides the proposals have to follow a process design that have to involve urban and architectural analysis (enviromental, social, heritage, functional etc.), infrastructural and cultural diagnosis of the site to determinate the right strategies and finally the configuration of actions and lines of proposed intervention, with attention to the architectural and technological components of the design.
The degree of innovation will derive from a project able to reflect on new ways of living that affect the typological redefinition and urban design, from which can derive the new upgrade strategies and the new sustainability criteria and energy efficiency that be addressed from the architecture.
Keywords: project, architecture, creativity, sustainability, enviroment, landscape, strategy, re-generation, re-use, re-cycle
Opening: interdisciplinary integrations
In coherence with these presupposes the integration will be finalized deepening in specific themes, according to a designing glance oriented to:
ENVIROMENTAL ARCHITECTURE AND SUSTAINABLE DESIGN, by Professor Juan Carlos Dall'Asta
and STREET DESIGN AND URBAN CONNECTIONS, by Professor Federico Jappelli, concerning the integration between sustainable mobility, urban design and public spaces:
"Present-day changes in the use of public realm are linked to urban mobility and transporattion and hence to the nature of roads and streets. This class-focusing upon certain morphological and functional key features in order to define some design principles with a multi-scale approaches to improve connectivity and accessibility to the urban spaces: starting from the analysis of movement and route structure as well as understand patterns of usage.It aims to identify specific solutions for the handling of the spaces between roads and buildings, for the design of streets layouts as qualified and safe parts of city routes: pedestrian paths, cycle paths, networks of open spaces, greenways, 'shared streets' with traffic calming measures, linkages with public transports and so on."
Structure: A Theoretical and Practical Itinerary
Starting from these assumptions: the workshop structure articulates in:
- Basic lectures, learning-oriented thematic nucleus;
- Applicative workshops, experimental applications supported by case study experiments;
- Mid-term evaluations, referring to the projects different stages of evolution.
These joint activities include the presence of external architects and authors of national and international reputation including related activities such as seminars, exhibitions, study-trips.