INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENTS: city and housing for all(der) generations .
051562 - ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN STUDIO 1
Professor: António da Silva Ferreira de Carvalho
Semester 1 - Academic Year: 2017/2018
The studio will promote architectural design as a powerful tool to analyze, understand and “change through intervention” the built and social reality of a specific urban area that will be selected prior to the start of laboratory classes.
It will be mostly a “learn-by-doing” studio where students will be encouraged to actively engage at the Studio topic with their personal view but, mostly, with their design proposals. Drawing, redrawing and improving earlier drawings will be the normal practice in Architectural Design Studio 1, along with presentation and discussion of the ideas and theory supporting those design solutions.
We are living in a complex world.
In 21st century Europe is ageing very fast, technology is developing even faster, social and environmental issues are demanding from all of us new ethical behaviors.
Architecture can have a major impact upon the quality of life for citizens, either by intention or by omission.
The spaces where we live, work or enjoy leisure time, can be reimagined according to new issues: ageing societies, young people’s interests, citizens’ rights, global trade, internet and electronic connectivity, indoors vs. outdoors living, environment and climate change… and many more.
Under this complex scenario, we’ll be dealing in Architectural Design Studio 1 with a pair of central issues, involving mainly two age groups (elderly and students) and two spatial types (urban space and housing). Therefore we’ll be developing innovative architectural solutions for spaces where these groups of people can fulfill their daily living, in universal design environments.
INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENTS: city and housing for all(der) generations.
How to design new community environments for ageing societies: landscape, urban, housing, commerce, work, leisure — places for the elderly, places for all people.
In that sense, older = all(der) people.
People for the spaces:
The projects we are going to develop will have two main types of users:
Aging population is an unavoidable reality in Europe, specially in Italy which is currently the second (!) most aged country in the world with 28,6% of its population aged 60 or over (UN, 2015). The demographics are clear: by 2050, the only age groups in growth will be the elderly (over 65 years) and the very old (80+ years). It is in confronting this social and demographic reality that we will work on Architectural Design Studio 1.
Milano is a "student city" with its important Città degli Studi quarters in which the university population has a very significant weight at various levels, constituting a population dynamic layer in constant renewal, generating intensity fluctuations according to the school year. POLIMI university students will therefore be one of the project's target population to consider.
3- People with Special Needs:
No matter their age, people with special needs should always be considered, under Universal Design principles so that all spaces will be accessible and ready to be used by everyone. Instead of thinking about “special solutions for the handicapped”, all spaces must be designed for universal access in a pleasant and human way. The good space will be the space where everyone feels welcome, where everyone uses and takes advantage of the spatial features without even noticing the existence of Universal Design solutions.
This coexistence is one of the future socio-demographic frameworks with which the new generations of architects will be faced in Italy and Europe in the coming years. It’s time to start working on it.
Spaces for the people:
1- Elderly housing:
To avoid the panacea of institutionalization in nursing homes, it is urgent to propose a new paradigm of housing for older people: aging in place. This new paradigm can (and should) however translate into human spaces and innovative solutions, well located in the city center, where people are close to the trade, services and real life they need for active aging.
2- Student housing:
On the other hand, not all college students want to live at university dormitories. On the contrary, most of them dwell in "normal" buildings scattered throughout the city. And the proximity to the city center is usually desired and valued.
3- Other spaces:
All people, no matter their age, need other spaces for a quality living: parks, gardens, urban spaces, sport facilities, cultural facilities, social facilities, religious facilities, commerce, offices, transportation: all those features that make up a good city. We’ll discuss that as well.
Thus, the challenge will be to design housing types for different age groups, different social strata, different cultures, within intergenerational and multicultural community logic. It will not be designing separate housing for seniors, but multifamily dwellings always with Universal Design solutions that respond to the needs of the most fragile and dependent citizens, including the elderly and people with physical (or other) constraints, regardless of age, ethnicity or economic capacity.
In this sense, every student is free to propose for the intervention area, as many buildings, types and functions as he/she thinks necessary (justifying it) for a lively and healthy city. Emphasis will be given upon hybrid buildings (dwellings of various types associated with shops, offices, etc.) and their exterior spaces, creating a close vicinity environment to consolidate a lively urban center.
More specific guidelines will be provided along the semester, based on the work progress (including deadlines), in order to achieve final results with high formal and functional quality: the corollary of the creative process of each student.
The Final Design to be submitted for Final Assessment must however correspond to the development of one or more buildings, scale 1/50 (or above), in which the fulfillment of the basic regulations such as accessibility, fire safety and acoustics should be considered — besides the basic functional and formal principles of the project. Other drawing scales shall also be used.
To strengthen and consolidate students’ sensibility towards the different components of the architect’s and urban designer’s work in a comprehensive way, so that all types of knowledge will converge towards a main goal: the plan, the design and the built work.
To consolidate the ethical dimension of the profession and the architect’s responsibility before society as creator of cultural works of inevitable public exposure.
To give students a real approach of design problems, emphasizing the multidisciplinary essence of urban analysis, urban design, architectural composition and construction detailing.
To assure students the necessary creative freedom and self-confidence in order to become good architects.
Skills to be achieved: design scales mastery, flexible thinking, theoretical speech, building techniques knowledge, design autonomy, working method.
The study of an existing hybrid territory, complex and consolidated, within the city of Milano at the Casoretto “ATM Tram Depot” for which new ideas and proposals are intended, in order to improve the living quality of its diversified users, namely the elderly.
Each student must observe and analyze the study area in a idiosyncratic way, pointing out its main characteristics and the main clues for its urban transformation, proposing in a justified way the limits of the intended intervention.
The existing urban rules and laws may point out general directions for the intervention objectives, which must be interpreted by each student and translated into his/her design proposal.
Students must design an effective urban layout to consolidate or revitalize the area, with different uses such as innovative types of housing, commerce and offices. All this must be balanced by green areas and public facilities, globally considered in terms of the 21st century society, which is ageing fast.
Demonstration of the syllabus coherence with the course objectives:
The coherence comes out of the theme itself and the study object (the hybrid urban area of a Milano parish):
The study object stimulates students to face the complexity of the urban and architectural phenomena, dynamically, in its several programmatic components and design scales.
The theme stimulates students to reflect upon the complexity of urban life and the different functions and spaces that must host it within, therefore putting into practice the ethics of the profession.
Working on a consolidated territory, composed of buildings from different periods — and yet with empty areas and residual spaces —, students must reflect upon the design options throughout History, and their own.
Having a real location to work upon, with a realistic program and yet of broad spectrum of intervention, will stimulate students’ imagination to develop the urban environment.
The functional program and intervention area are large enough to allow the freedom of individual options that stimulate personal engagement with the imagined solutions and the self-confidence to stand up for them.
This design freedom allows the consolidation of working methods and personal research.
Teaching methodologies (including assessment):
The teaching methodologies aim to communicate to the students the complexity of “conceiving architecture”, so the professor will guide, debate and advise students on the several tasks and phases of design:
- visits to the study area to collect information, taking notes and making drawings;
- analysis of the intervention area and surroundings;
- theoretical research of the theme based on bibliography, case-studies and legislation;
- production of design ideas (formal options);
- options of building materials;
- tridimensional representation of design solutions (in virtual or real model);
- individual presentations and critiques;
- group debate with students and teachers;
- assessment is a continuous process, accompanied by the course teachers in every class;
- in each class students must bring on paper their recent design developments to submit to discussion with the professor and classmates;
- to promote a better class interaction and dynamics, individual discussion will be done in groups of 5 students, according to their arrival time at the Studio classroom;
- class attendance is compulsory;
- Assessment will be a continuous process, so there will be a monthly assessment by the professors of the work evolution — which will be given a mark with a progressive importance:
- 1st monthly assessment: 10%
- 2st monthly assessment: 20%
- 3st monthly assessment: 30%
- 4st monthly assessment: 40%
- for the Final Assessment other architects may sometimes be invited to take part in the jury;
- the Final Mark will result from the sum of the previous monthly marks.