The URBAN AND LANDSCAPE REGENERATION STUDIO activity is based on the assumption that the built environment where we all live and act is the specific ecological system of the human species: humans build up their own settlements over time, modifying and adapting the physical environment according to their own needs, giving ever-changing shape to landscape, in a continuous, increasingly powerful process which evolves together with the ever-changing human societies over history. The Studio offers a strong sustainability approach to design and construction in architecture, promoting a vision that moves away from a carbon-based globalized economy, which damages our ecosystem (desertification, forest depletion, water and air pollution, destruction of agricultural land and cultural and material heritage…), towards a solar and better locally rooted economy, based on renewable energy and sensible use of social, cultural and material resources.
The Environmental Technology module will mainly deal with:
- performance appraisal of the built environment: open urban spaces and existent buildings as an actual resource embodying many different values;
- appraisal of the environmental quality of the morphological characters of the built environment (intermediate spaces, arcades, shade and sunlight, greenery, shading devices, natural ventilation and lighting) and of the “naturally” well-tempered architecture;
- design process, construction techniques and materials for the rehabilitation of existent buildings, according to the principles of sustainable architecture and adaptive re-use.
The General Ecology module aims to provide students with conceptual and operational tools to understand the interactions among organisms and between the organisms and their environment, as well as how human activities are increasingly affecting those interactions.
The major topics covered by the module are the following:
- basic concepts of ecology (higher levels of biological organization, fundamentals ecological processes, ecological interactions);
- biodiversity (introductory concepts, major threats to biological diversity, biodiversity indices)
- fundamentals of climate change (natural and anthropogenic components of the carbon cycle, carbon footprint of products and services)
- urban ecosystems (rural-urban gradient, landscape fragmentation, effects of urbanization on the physical and biological environment, responses of organisms and biodiversity to urbanization)
- sustainability (basic concepts, local and global problems, sustainability metrics)
- life cycle assessment (life cycle thinking, general concepts and major steps of life cycle assessment).
The Landscape as Heritage module focuses on how the two key issues of conservation and sustainability relate to each other in the context of historic sites. The aim of the module is to provide students with basic knowledge, cultural premises and methodologies to approach the conservation of cultural heritage (both buildings and landscape), increasing the students' knowledge of the Italian culture on heritage, with a specific attention to the rural architecture and landscape.
The topics will focus on:
- landscape as a system at different scales (reading and assessing historical transformations);
- conservation and enhancement of tangible and intangible cultural heritage;
- improvement of rural heritage (urban agriculture and landscape).
The general aim of the Studio is providing the ability to implement appropriate environmental and technological design strategies in relation to a given problem of design and construction, as well as the ability to assess the degree of compliance of design and technical solutions, with a strong accent on key requirements such as sustainability and resilience, comfort and delight.
Specific objectives include:
- promoting a design approach focused on the relationships between the buildings, the people living and acting inside and around them, the multi-faceted qualities of the physical environment;
- promoting a deep understanding of the relationship between environment, technology and design, the knowledge of the existing connections between the design phase, the construction process and material/energy exchanges with the environment along the life cycle of buildings and infrastructures;
- promoting the ability of making design choices according to the environmental, economic and social context, providing effective solutions focused on the sustainability of the entire building process, in a life-cycle perspective;
- proposing design methods and approaches capable to support the ecological transition in a climate change perspective.
The core of the Studio is the workshop activity: students shall work in groups (max 4 students per group), developing their design scheme under the teachers’ tutorship. Lectures and seminars specific to the workshop topics will be provided all along the workshop activity, as well as on-site visits. All groups will be requested to present their work to the whole class at 3 intermediate deadlines: one before mid-term, one at mid-term, one at the very end of the term before the exam.
Further indication and additional readings will be provided on the BeeP site.
Compulsory attendance is required.