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Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoria
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativa
Scheda Riassuntiva
Anno Accademico 2019/2020
Scuola Scuola di Architettura Urbanistica Ingegneria delle Costruzioni
Docente Comi Giovanni , Croset Pierre-Alain
Cfu 12.00 Tipo insegnamento Laboratorio

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

Obiettivi dell'insegnamento

The studio didactic activity allows to test the student's ability to apply to concrete issues the knowledge gained within the teachings.
The Architectural Design Studio 3 offers to the student the possibility of a critical and articulated understanding of the context of architecture at the different scales of relationship – local, urban, regional and of the landscape – with the aim of reaching the formal definition of feasible architectural organisms.
The Design Studio will deepen some relevant aspects of the architectural composition and design process like the relationship with other contextual references, the history and the technique for the formal and functional definition of architecture, related to its physical manifestation and its significance.
In this perspective, the project will deal with complex situations, in relation to which the principle of architectural insertion is identified, and the morphological, typological, spatial configurative characteristics are elaborated, considering the functional contents and the appropriate technologies.
The Design Studio aims to train and organize the necessary design skills from the initial idea to the elaboration of deepening and details through the definition of new architectural organisms, interventions on the existing buildings or urban and landscape redevelopments.

Risultati di apprendimento attesi

Through the experience of the Architectural Design Studio 3, the student will acquire the following knowledge and processing skills: relate the architectural work to the scales of the physical contexts and to the morphology of the settlement fabric; identify the relationship between architecture and the place and the open space; determine the type-morphological characteristics of the architecture with attention to the composition and distribution aspects of the buildings; experiment with complex types and innovative settlement methods; define the configurative characters of the space in relation to the functional contents and construction techniques; outline the architectural language based on the most appropriate technologies; develop the design process with consistency from the initial idea to in-depth studies of detail.

Argomenti trattati


Pierre Alain Croset (Architectural design, 8 cfu) 

Giovanni Comi (Architectural design, 4 cfu) 



The small city of Salemi is located in the core of the Belice valley in western Sicily. Founded with the name of Halyciae in the bronze age by Elymian people (around 1000 BC), the city was conquered by the Romans (II Century BC) with the new name of Alicia. The city grew in population during the middle age under Arab and Norman influence, reaching a peak of 23.000 inhabitants in 1860 at the time of the arrival of Garibaldi in Sicily. Even if for only one day, Salemi was proclaimed on May 14th, 1860, the first capital of the liberated Italy.
In recent times, a devastating earthquake destroyed in 1968 large parts of the historical centre, and a new city was planned and realized further down the valley, where the major part of the population has moved. After the earthquake, the dramatic urban depopulation didn’t stop: while diminishing from 23.000 in 1860 to 13.000 inhabitants in 1968, the residents in Salemi are only 11.000 today.
After 50 years of debate and very few realized works, the old centre continues to wait its “critical reconstruction”. At the same time, the empty and ruined houses reveal a fascinating beauty, and invite architects to imagine Salemi as an ideal place for proposing new forms of urban life and new strategies for the urban regeneration.
In continuity with the Architectural Design Studio 3 of the Academic Year 2018-19, we will work following an optimistic vision for the urban renaissance of Salemi, projecting a long term time horizon (2030). This vision is based on the idea that Salemi could invert the present trend of urban depopulation, with the arrival in the next 10-15 years of a new population attracted by two factors of development. The first one is related with the growing migration of cosmopolitan retirees in small cities and villages of southern Europe, in search for the best places for ageing in a serene context. The second one is related with the recent development in Sicily of some innovative experiences with young artists and professionals, using culture and creativity for stimulating a social and political regeneration.

The Design Studio will explore new scenarios for the renaissance of the historical core of Salemi. What could success if small groups of rich and well educated foreign people would like to invest capitals in Salemi, for their own retirement, attracted not only by the quality of climate and life, but also by the presence of creative clusters of professionals and artists? How could architecture facilitate an amalgam of different cultures and nationalities, and integrate new urban lifestyles with the local traditions? How could the arrival of a new heterogeneous population not only invert the demographic decline, but also generate new activities for the local residents (as for example housing accommodation, services, health assistance, education, wine and food industry)?

For avoiding the negative effects of a transformation of Salemi in a “touristic resort” or in a “museum city”, we will pay attention to the concept of “living community”. The proposal to attract a new population of retirees in the old Salemi would offer the possibility to start with a process of progressive urban renaissance. If this process would be a success, in a second time it would need to be reinforced with the return of local families from the “new town” to the old centre. For stimulating this positive process, it would be necessary to reinstall in the old city some basic services, starting with kindergarten and schools. The students will have to design at the scale of a single “block” of abandoned houses the spaces for this kind of “living community”, mixing two different programmes: a “co-housing” for old people, with single apartments and some shared spaces, and a small kindergarten, to be used by local families coming back to the old city. In this way, the students will imagine new communities of residents, based on the idea of an intergenerational dialogue and interaction between foreign groups and local families.


Pedagogic objectives 

The design task focuses on the dialectical relationship between architecture and the place, in the belief that an understanding of contemporary transformations should elaborate on the concrete heritage, recognizing permanence and variation and distinguishing the resilience of identity matrixes.
As a reference for the Design Studio, we will use the corpus of projects and realizations developed in Salemi in the 1980s and 1990s by Álvaro Siza, Roberto Collová and Francesco Venezia, who considered the ruins and voids of the damaged old Salemi as materials for “soft interventions”. The proposals of students will have to demonstrate a dialectical relationship between the conservation of material traces and the typological and linguistic innovation of the new buildings and spaces.  
As a social and political task, the design experience will investigate “new urban typologies” capable of holding together the many needs of different users, which aim to create a community and not merely an aggregate of individuals.


Design and Research Process

Students are expected to conduct during all the semester an individual design and research process, to be documented for the final submission. As a minimal requirement, the students will annotate their critical observations in a personal sketchbook, collecting sketches and written notes based on the lectures, their readings, and on the evolution of their design.
Teamwork and individual work are complementary in the design studio.
The design process is based on the interplay between different scales of application, used as a tool for the progressive focusing of the project, not as a mechanical concatenation of phases.
The main theme is the design of new communities of residents in abandoned areas of Salemi. The design aims to regenerate these areas, to measure the empty space, to define its limits and to design new buildings and spaces, focusing on the transition between the individual life and the collective one.
The design task covers a large range of scales and themes from the urban design level and the design of open spaces to the definition of an architectural organism at detailed scales, including technological features developed in relation to the language of the building.
There will be three phases of design:

  • Phase 1: Urban exploration (3 weeks, groupwork of 3-4 students). Analyse of Salemi and its territory, production of topographical sections, physical and digital models related to the specific site of the urban project, and based on the comparison between historical maps, plans and drone photos. Analyse of reference case-studies related with the topics of “building in the slope”, and with the building types of “co-housing” and “kindergarten”. Elaboration of a scenario and a functional program of regeneration of a single “block” of abandoned houses, based on the idea of mixing different functions, activities, communities of users, foreign and local populations.
  • Phase 2: Urban vision (6 weeks, groupwork of 3-4 students). Definition of a complete urban and architectural design for a single “block” of houses at the scales 1:500 to 1:200, to be submitted and discussed in a public review in Week 9 (11-15 Nov.). This intermediate submission will not be marked, but will be evaluated with an informal feedback, indicating to the students if the performance in the design studio will have been considered as excellent, good, sufficient or insufficient . During this phase will be organised a study trip to Salemi and Sicily (4 days from 18th to 21st October , recommended but not mandatory).
  • Phase 3: Architectural design (7 weeks, individual work). Individual development of a small building at the architectural scale, with the definition of an appropriate architectural language based on the most appropriate technologies and on the principles of “composing with ruins”.


Teaching and learning strategies
The learning is articulated through the intersection of different lines of investigation. From one side, we will study and analyse the site and we will build critical-interpretative models of reference case studies; from the other side, we will develop the architectural and landscape design. Indeed, we will use drawings and models not only to illustrate the design work, but as tools to investigate the place, to interpret case studies, to compare different situations and to examine design approaches and solutions.
The design and the study of architecture, through the tools of drawing and study model, form the centre of activity of the studio, which takes place in the classroom under the supervision of teachers and tutors, with weekly reviews and monthly presentations with the critics of outside collaborators. In parallel, lectures and seminars are held on topics related to the development of the project.


During the educational path the sequence of the courses and the order of registration of the related exam must follow the priority specified in the study programme regulation.

Modalità di valutazione

The students will be evaluated on the base of their preliminary analytical work, their attendance and active participation in the collective discussion, and the quality and depth of their design proposal at various steps. The evaluation will focus on the acquisition of critical awareness.
Final exams as well as intermediate deliveries will consist in the presentation and discussion of the requested materials. Marks will be individual and based on the students’ understanding of the issues involved. The evaluation for the interim review will not be marked, but will only be made as an informal feedback, indicating to the students if the performance in the design studio is considered as excellent, good, sufficient or insufficient. The final marks will be assigned only to the final project which will ought to be concluded by the end of the semester.
The assessment of the learning outcomes and of the competences of students will follow the objectives of the Dublin indicators. In the final review and submission, the learning skills and the capacity of knowledge and understanding of the contents of the lectures and readings will be assessed through the elaboration of a written presentation, while the capacity of applying knowledge and understanding, of making judgements and the communication skills of the students will be assessed through the oral presentation and the delivery of models, boards and a portfolio collecting all the works elaborated during the studio.

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaK. Frampton, Studies in tectonic culture: the poetics of construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century architecture, Editore: MIT Press, Anno edizione: 1995
Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaJ. Utzon, Platforms and Plateaus: Ideas of a Danish Architect/Zodiac, Anno edizione: 1962, Fascicolo: 10
Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaP. Nicolin, After the earthquake/Lotus Documents, Editore: Electa, Anno edizione: 1983
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaA. Deplazes, Constructing Architecture: materials, processes, structures. A Handbook, Editore: Birkhäuser, Anno edizione: 2013
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaA. Zimmermann, Constructing Landscape, materials techniques structural components, Editore: Birkhauser, Anno edizione: 2007
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaA. Corboz, The Land as Palimpsest/Casabella, Anno edizione: 1985, Fascicolo: 516
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaT. Berlanda, Architectural topographies. A graphic lexicon of how buildings touch the ground, Editore: Routledge, Anno edizione: 2014
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaP. Richardson, Nano Houses. Innovations for small dwellings, Editore: Thames and Hudson, Anno edizione: 2011
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaO. Heckmann; F. Schneider, Floor Plan Manual Housing, Editore: Birkhäuser, Anno edizione: 2017

Software utilizzato
Nessun software richiesto

Forme didattiche
Tipo Forma Didattica Ore di attività svolte in aula
Ore di studio autonome
Laboratorio Informatico
Laboratorio Sperimentale
Laboratorio Di Progetto
Totale 144:00 156:00

Informazioni in lingua inglese a supporto dell'internazionalizzazione
Insegnamento erogato in lingua Inglese
Disponibilità di materiale didattico/slides in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di libri di testo/bibliografia in lingua inglese
Possibilità di sostenere l'esame in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di supporto didattico in lingua inglese

Note Docente
schedaincarico v. 1.6.9 / 1.6.9
Area Servizi ICT