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Scheda Riassuntiva
Anno Accademico 2018/2019
Scuola Scuola di Architettura Urbanistica Ingegneria delle Costruzioni
Docente Hofert Feix Karin Elke , Torrigiani Emanuela
Cfu 10.00 Tipo insegnamento Laboratorio

Corso di Studi Codice Piano di Studio preventivamente approvato Da (compreso) A (escluso) Nome Sezione Insegnamento

Obiettivi dell'insegnamento

Urban and Environmental Design studio focuses on the changing relationship between urban and rural areas, with the aim of defining design proposals able to re-organize the open spaces and enhance spaces of co-habitation between different “urban” and “rural” ways of life.

The Design studio activity takes advantages from the contribution of two disciplines: urban design and  agronomy and food sciences.

According to an interdisciplinary approach, Design Studio proposes a proactive manner to planning peri-urban areas, endorsing the reason of the open and agricultural spaces, taking into account the relevance of the multifunctional agriculture in peri-urban areas, due to the societal and lifestyle transitions in these areas.

Design studio offers also a different view of agricultural landscapes planning. For this, it will be proposed a conceptual model of agricultural landscape dynamics that illustrates the specific contribution of agronomy to landscape planning. This model describes the relationship between three elements: farming practices (food and energy production), landscape patterns (conventional vs agroecological landscape) and natural resources (water, soil and biodiversity). To avoid potential risk of misunderstanding and underestimating the role of farming practices in peri-urban and rural landscapes dynamics, which could lead to ineffective management decisions regarding these landscapes, the Design studio offers an effective interdisciplinary approach that includes agronomic and environmental knowledge and tools.

Grappling with the urban and rural in non-dualistic ways, the Design studio offers analytical and design tools to dealing with hybrid forms of landscapes characterizing the peri-urban fringes, re-defining the peri-urban agriculture and its functions as a producer of goods and services for the citizens.

In this framework and from a project-oriented viewpoint, the Design studio will be finalized to : 

  • selecting relevant issues relate to the urban-rural transition;
  • representing landscapes and urban practices where we can read the urban-rural transition;
  • integrate the goals of agricultural production into the multiple objectives of the landscape design and management;
  • testing a research by design approach, using the project as a mean of knowledge and research of urban-rural fringes, rather than a final prefiguration of a probable future.

Risultati di apprendimento attesi

The students will acquire:


  • awareness of the multiple dimensions and complexities of contemporary peri-urban areas and the role of the open spaces in these urban setting;
  • awareness of challenges, perspectives and approaches to analyze through a cross-scaling approach the urban-rural transition and the role of the open space   in the contemporary literature debate;
  • capacity to manage and discuss issues and key concepts of the debate on the “Urban transition” and regional urbanization processes;
  • awareness of the key role of integrating farming practices in the characterization of contemporary landscape patterns, and in the design of future agricultural landscape scenarios;
  • ability to read the rural and natural landscape to (re)design farming systems to minimize the impacts on natural resources;
  • capability to collect, manage and process data and maps to deal with open spaces and infrastructure design, project of the urban-rural fringes, promotion of peri-urban agriculture;
  • capability to comment them in a critical understanding of their trends and technical forms;
  • capability to communicate all that in effective products and formats (i.e., a paper, a poster, a presentation, etc.).


Argomenti trattati

THINKING THE CITY: Temporary versus definitive

                            From the REFUGEE CAMP to the consolidated neighbourhood



Barcelona since the Olympics in 1992 has gone through an important renewal of its cityscape, becoming a reference for the urban development of consolidated towns. The different proposals and the way they have been carried out, as well as the areas that still have to be arranged, mostly at the city borders and at the former industrial sites, provide a large range of opportunities to think upon urban space and civic life in the 21st century.

Barcelona has also changed its character; it has developed from provincial town to international city. People of all parts of the world share space and services, sorrows and joys.

The fact that the responsible of this master course (Prof. Karin Hofert) comes from Barcelona invites to use the town as case study and living laboratory.  BCN offers us the opportunity to transform and improve some specific area by developing a plausible proposal from city until detail scale.


Aim: an approach to the complexity of the city

The workshop will introduce to the complexity of the city structure.

Working in successive approaches, from city scale to architectural scale, forth and back, will allow understanding the urban form and its determining aspects: the morphology of the territory, the incidence of climate, the pressure of infrastructure, the traces of history, etc.; and of course the socio-economic aspects, related to human activity and its translation to space.

Barcelona is rich and complex, structured by all kind of patterns different in geometry, size, shape and contents.  The working area is chosen strategically to give the opportunity to saw these contrasted realities; we will check in what amount the intervention on the site is capable to respond to this challenge.

The pedagogical aim is to get the skills and knowledge to be able to propose a piece of town; of course a simplified piece of town, but capable to support the discussion about its borders and about its relationship with the neighbour pieces, and capable to allow the reflection on diverse building typologies and their (physical) relations.

To achieve this aim special emphasis will be given to the understanding of space in its three dimensions. Sections, perspective drawing and models shall be used from the very beginning, understood as tools more then as result representations. The learning process, participative and experimental, will be taken very much in consideration. At the same time skills concerning the best way to explain aims and results will be trained.


Topic: proposal for a  ‘Multiple sustainable non-static city’

The specific theme of the course consists in urbanizing a part of the former industrial sector of Barcelona’s well-known grid (Poblenou 22@).

The design is called to re-qualify the area from a physical, social and cultural point of view (requalification of: the built, the void and the relationship with the existing urban landscape), according to an overall strategic decision.

The strategy has to be flexible and at the same time tight enough to take in account and be able to host the changes in settlement that will take place in the next 30 years.

In the immediate future the site will harbour a refugee camp. The project will discuss the degree of “provisionality” of the camp, and will study how it can be developed into, or substituted by, a “definitive” settlement. We will fix and define two moments within this process, exploring how the initial urbanisation can contain the clues for a later development.

The themes to sound along the design process will be tightly connected to a ‘projective vision’ of the qualities of the place (regarding use, social environment, pre-existences, sustainable development, etc). Careful reading and understanding of the place identity will lead the design process to an integrated proposal.

Focusing the site itself special attention will be paid to public and open space. Understanding that public space is what makes a town be a town, by providing the space for socialisation, is a crucial point. Public space will work both in city scale and in local scale, in leisure terms and in production terms.

As for the program, the first urgent necessity of housing from the very beginning will be attached to an offer of working spaces and public and private services. A mixed use is proposed: working, housing, facilities. Hybridisation is the key to make towns alive.

As a transversal requirement the concept of sustainability will inform any decision taken. Non-sustainable architecture/urbanism is useless; infrastructure and buildings should achieve solvency and comfort by passive means as much as possible.

By working both multiscale and multiuse we pursue the integration of diverse components of our discipline: landscape, history, sociology, technology, art.


Interdisciplinary contributions

In coherence with the previous arguments the integration will be completed deepening in specific themes, such as: “Sociology of the environment” and “Agronomy and Food Science”. These topics will be developed in an integrated way by the assistant teachers. The work on these issues at the studio will be underlined by specific lectures and (collective) discussions.


Structure: A theoretical and practical itinerary

 The course will be shaped as follows:

- Learning-oriented basic thematic lectures.
- Applicative experimental workshops supported by case studies.
- Mid-term evaluations, referring to the project’s different stages of evolution.

- Related activities such as seminars and exhibitions.

- Study-tour to Barcelona (Spain) with onsite visits and lectures.


These joint activities count with the presence of external professionals of national and international reputation.


No prereqiostes are required

Modalità di valutazione


Forme didattiche
Tipo Forma Didattica Ore di attività svolte in aula
Ore di studio autonome
Laboratorio Informatico
Laboratorio Sperimentale
Laboratorio Di Progetto
Totale 120:00 130:00

Informazioni in lingua inglese a supporto dell'internazionalizzazione
Insegnamento erogato in lingua Inglese

Note Docente
schedaincarico v. 1.6.5 / 1.6.5
Area Servizi ICT