The “Architectural Heritage Design Studio” offers to the students both references of method and tools in order to face the preservation plan of historical buildings and existing contexts in the framework of the European historic cities, and to manage their transformations. In the lectures and the workshop activities of the studio, the different disciplines propose a wide and well-integrated approach which face these themes connecting different scales, from the building to its urban and social context.
The approach regarding existing buildings - aimed to pass down to future generations the architectural heritage, identified as a source and unique historical document - proposes a research path that moves from the knowledge of the past events of the buildings, and their current condition. As the first and necessary phases in the preservation plan, lectures will examine methods and instruments used for surveying and deepening a wide knowledge of the built heritage and of its present state and performances, such as the identification of the history of buildings from the construction to the phases in the transformations which defined the present geometries; the past uses; the characteristic features of construction techniques; the properties and performances of materials; the decay phenomena regarding finishings and structures.
These data point out specific questions and themes that allow to guide well-informed and careful preservation plans. About planning approaches, a first focus is related to maintenance and the so called planned maintenance. Besides, inside the framework of the theoretical references and of the Italian legislation and the international charters concerning the preservation of cultural heritage, the lessons will cover the topics related to possible re-uses and their compatibility with the preservation of the existing buildings, as well as the necessary interventions due to adapt them to new requirements and regulations (e.g. accessibility; comfort and energy saving; fire systems; anti seismic measures). Among the matters: the arrangement of the internal rooms; structural strenghtening, also connected to earthquakes; the suitability and the compatibility of the intervention techniques proposed; the careful addition both of plant systems and new architectural elements upon ancient buildings. According to these lines, Building Performances Evaluation, as an operative instrument, aims to intervention quality considered as satisfaction of requirements through the analysis of the building’s values and behaviour and the users’ needs. The studio will face the specificity of each phase in the building process: from briefing to design, to construction, use and managing.
Moving from specific to general and vice versa, studio activities are articulated to achieve the design definition within different scales. We encourage students to consider that strategies and design outcomes are not limited only to a single construction, but to a wider range of urban spaces in which it’s placed. Today it is rather difficult to define “urbanity” attributes: density, well-defined public spaces, mix of functions, social animation, iconic presence are all part of the game. But regarding what we can define an “urban” project, the studio will propose a deeper feature: the awareness of the city as an articulated system of textures, objects, layers, integrations and destructions, and of the part we design as a meaningful alteration with complex cross resonances rather than an isolated, self-sufficient object. The aim of this approach is not a neutral environmental gentrification, rather a pursuit and definition of uses and of architectural and spatial patterns that re-govern and re-interpret the places and the role of existing and historical buildings. Workshop activities will look for two main complementary contextualizations. Firstly a cultural contextualization who has to do with relationships among history of places, forms, dimensions, “exempla” with affinity to the workshop contents. Secondly a physical contextualization has to do with a confrontation between the settlement principle and the real place of insertion with its constraints and qualities.
Among the aspects to consider, from the beginning of the studio a key role is granted to past buildings, which are not considered as ideal or formal elements, but within the real limits and potentialities connected to their material being.
Didactic work and organization
Lectures will be given either by professors and by external guests who deeply researched and worked on specific topics. These occasions are not intended as a generic symposia or a personal showcase of singular authors, rather as a meeting place where different experiences are interpolated in not-formulaic ways, offering to students up-to-date positions on these themes and useful tools and suggestions for their parallel works on a case study. These corresponding workshop activities will give to students the opportunity to experience the subjects of the lectures coming from the different disciplines in this studio. For this reason, the lessons will be proposed also by taking into account the practical work.
Due to the limited time, the groups of students will face the global approach proposed, and they will mainly deepen in detail some aspects of the project, connected to their work area and also to their interests.
Drawings, models and other media are not used mechanically only to represent something but to portray peculiar architectural objects and their stratified properties, the results of a delicate balance.
B. M. Feilden, Conservation of historic buildings, Elsevier, 2003
Raphael Moneo, Remarks on 21 Works, The Monacelli Press, New York 2010
Joseph Rykwert, The Seduction of Place: The History and Future of Cities, Weidenfeld & Nicholson , London 2000
W. Preiser, J. Vischer (eds.), Assessing Building Performance, Elsevier, 2005.
B. Bridgwood, L. Lannie, History, Performance and Conservation, Technologies of Architecture vol. 5, 2009
Other bibliographical references will be suggested to students during the studio, also in relation either to the case study and to the each work group's themes.