Risorse bibliografiche
Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoria
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativa
Scheda Riassuntiva
Anno Accademico 2018/2019
Scuola Scuola di Architettura Urbanistica Ingegneria delle Costruzioni
Docente Avermaete Tom Lodewijk Pieter
Cfu 8.00 Tipo insegnamento Corso Integrato

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

Obiettivi dell'insegnamento

The aim of the course is the formation of the student's critical awareness on the main topics addressed by contemporary architectural research, with particular attention to the deepening of theoretical and critical contributions, methodologies and techniques of the architectural project. The practice of the project, as a synthesis of multiple knowledge and knowledge, cannot disregard the complexity of theoretical and technical references that, from time to time, generate design paths in which knowledge and shared practices mix with original authorial contributions. The architectural project is then investigated through the analysis of the choices made, the explicit and implicit premises, influences and effects, placing the architect's work, both practical and theoretical, within the network of references, memories and experiments that inspire and support the results. Starting from the tradition of disciplinary knowledge, the course will address themes and forms of the theory of architecture, comparing the most significant contemporary theoretical positions, deepening concepts, paradigms, tools. In line with the objectives of the Master Program, the course aims to carry out an open and comprehensive action to provide the specific skills that, gathered within and at the margins of the disciplinary field, are necessary to provide theoretical and technical practice of architectural design.

Risultati di apprendimento attesi

According to the Dublin Descriptors (DdD), passing the exam certifies the acquisition of the following results:

DdD 1 knowledge and understanding

- knowledge and understanding of the extension of the problematic areas of contemporary architectural design.


DdD 2 ability to apply knowledge and understanding

-ability to analyze and interpret the contemporary architecture project in relation to the various problem areas.


DdD 3 (autonomy of judgment), 4 (communication skills) and 5 (learning ability)

- ability to communicate the issues of architectural design clearly and with independent judgment (DdD 3 and 4).

Argomenti trattati

UNLOCKING the Commons:
Another Approach to THE Architecture OF the City


Over the past few years, a panoply of innovative activism, scholarship and projects that focus on ‘the commons’ have gained momentum. This rapidly growing movement is based on new thinking in the domains of economy, political and social sciences, suggesting radically different ways to organize our societies. In her seminal publication Governing the Commons (1990) Nobel prize winner Elinor Ostrom put forward an idea of the commons as ‘collective action’ that challenges our understanding of politics, economy and culture. More recently Silke Helfrich and David Bollier in Die Welt der Commons (2015) have coined the commons as a matter of ‘shared resources’ that allow us to conceive our everyday life beyond the dominant discourses of market economy and state intervention. In these theories, however, there is little attention for the value of urban space as a shared resource and one of the main tangible forms in which ‘the commons’ exist in society. 


This studio claims that the new conceptions of ‘the commons’ can radically alter the way that we think about the role of the architect, the character of the project and the relation between architecture and the city. It proposes to focus on 'the commons' both as concrete spaces in the city where shared resources are unlocked in new ways and as innovative collaborative practices among citizens that contribute to urban development. The studio holds that the focus on the commons might offer us a fresh way to conceive, design and manage the architecture of the city. The studio has two main objectives: first to develop a set of tools to analyze and understand the commons and, second, to reflect upon a new articulation of what an architectural project is when we conceive it from the perspective of common urban resources and practices of urban commoning.


The studio will consist of two integrated components: lectures and assignments.


LECTURES: ‘the Commons’


  1. The Commons and its Tragedy: Introducing a Notion
  2. Lex Communis: The Commonality of the Discipline and the Discipline of the Common Place
  3. Praxis Communis: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation
  4. Res Communis: Common-Pool Resources in Architecture and Urban Design
  5. The Architecture of the Commons: A New Path of Contemporary Logos and Praxis


ASSIGNMENTS: Unlocking the ‘the Commons’


An Archeology of the Commons

A first axis of the studio will be dedicated to the study of how the commons have been defined in texts and projects in the field of architecture and beyond. Students will familiarize themselves with a set of texts and projects that have engaged with the commons. We will critically analyse these theoretical and designerly explorations of the commons. The result will be a leporello that illustrates a theoretical or designerly exploration of the commons.


Drawing Common Ecologies

The commons are not only a matter from the past. In the contemporary city practices and places of commoning are part of the everyday. The citizens of Milano recognize common resources, use and manage them. In this second axis we will probe into the city and analyze the common pool resources (green space, open space, water, materials, typologies, etc…) and the way that the citizens of Milano are engaging with them. We will investigate, draw and understand these resources as elements of an ‘ecology’ (see Reyner Banham’s study of LA) of human and non-human actors.  Special attention will be paid to the role that the built environment plays in articulating, defining and unlocking these common pool resources. Students will ask questions as what are the commons of the city? What role does architecture play in this commons ecology? And how can we draw these commons? The result will be a drawing of the ‘commons ecology’ in Milano.


Articulating a Project for the Commons

A third axis will explore what a ‘design project’ for the commons in Milano can be, beyond a simple plan for a building. Starting from the information that was assembled by the entire group in the previous phases, students will be asked to reflect upon how they –with architectural means (which need to be identified)— can act within the ecologies that they have mapped. How can a project for the commons be articulated? With which instruments and approaches can they intervene in these commons ecology, or even create a new one? Which material or immaterial interventions are needed to unlock the common pool resources in a new fashion and for a wider group of citizens? The result will be a design project for the commons in the city of Milano.


The STUDIO as Commons


The studio organization will follow the theme of the commons in that the studio explicitly wants to act as a commons. Students will contribute to intellectual and designerly information (texts, mappings) that are considered common resources for the entire group, while common practices are cultivated and explored. A common knowledge base will be created that will serve as a resource for all of those involved in the studio and beyond.  As an important resource this common knowledge base will form the ground for collective and individual invention in the studio.


Common Texts

This common resource will take the form of a ‘reference library’ of texts and projects that will be produced and appropriated collectively. The reference library will be developed in analogous and digital way. The analogous reference library will be composed of leporellos that consist of images and texts and can be stored in the library as little booklet but that also can serve as an exhibition device. At the moments of discussions and presentations in the studio it will literally function as a horizon of theoretical and projectual reference points.  Students will be asked in the first phase of the studio to investigatea text and historical project which will, after it has been presented to the group, become part of the common reference library. The format of the reference library with leporellos explicitates the idea that this knowledge is constructed, managed and consulted collectively –it suggests a different way of engaging with architectural knowledge, the authorship of the architecture and the complexity of architecture.


Common Drawings

Specific for the studio will be that common drawings will function as a main tool of analysis and projection. These drawings can be qualified as common because they focus on instances of commoning in the historical and contemporary city but also because they –literally- function as a common ground on which several students are working together. Three students will collaborate on a single drawing and all focus on a single aspect of the commons, respectively the lex communis, res communis and praxis communis. The students will have to negotiate among them how these different aspects relate and constitute an urban commons.


Modalità di valutazione

The course will be assessed by a written position paper of 2.000 words in English. This theoretical paper will explore the relation between the commons and the architecture of the city from a theoretical perspective. The paper may be a critique or advancement of an existing theory; or an own formulated theoretical approach in the context of the commons-architecture nexus. The paper should be case-based in that it takes concrete design projects or approaches (different from those discussed in the course) as the basis for a theoretical exploration of the relation between architecture and the commons.


Deliverables and evaluation:

- a leporello that illustrates a theoretical or designerly exploration of the commons (15%).

- drawing of the ‘commons ecology’ in Milano (25%).

- design project for the commons in the city of Milano (60%).

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaAvermaete, Tom, The Architect and the Public: Empowering the people in Postwar Architecture Culture, Anno edizione: 2010, ISBN: 978-9056627430

in Hunch. The Berlage Report on Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape, no.14

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaGerhard Bruyns, Commoning as Differentiated Publicness, Editore: Delft University of Technology, Delft, Anno edizione: 2015

in Footprint#16, pp. 10-20.

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaKip, Markus, Moving Beyond the City. Conceptualizing Urban Commons from a Critical Urban Studies Perspective, Editore: Birkhäuser, Basel, Anno edizione: 2015, ISBN: 978-3038216612

In Urban Commons. Moving Beyond State and Market, edited by Mary Dellenbaugh, Markus Kip, Majken Bieniok, Agnes Müller und Martin Schwegmann. Bauwelt Fundamente No. 154, 42-59

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaGruber, Stefan, Designing Commoning Institutions The dilemma of the Vienna settlers, Editore: Sternberg Press, Anno edizione: 2017, ISBN: 978-3956792663

Gruber, Stefan, Baldauf, Anette, et al. Spaces of Commoning: Artistic Research and the Utopia of the Everyday, pp. 86-101

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaOstrom, Elinor, Governing the Commons, Editore: Cambridge University Press, Anno edizione: 1990, ISBN: 978-0521405997

Chapters 1-3, 1-102

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaSennet, Richard, The Open City

published as https://lsecities.net/media/objects/articles/the-open-city/en-gb/

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaStavros, Stavrides, Common Space as Treshold Space, Editore: Delft University of Technology, Anno edizione: 2015, ISSN: 1875-1490

in Sohn, Heidi, Stavros Kousoulas, Gerhard Bruyns, Commoning as Differentiated Publicness, Footprint, n 16

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaAvermaete, Tom, The Place of Commonplace: The ordinary as Alternative Architectural Lens in Western Europe, Editore: Ashgate, Anno edizione: 2014, ISBN: 978-1409439813

Haddad, Elie and David Rifkind (eds.). A Critical History of Contemporary Architecture 1960-2010

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaAvermaete, Tom, Fransje Hooimeijer, and Lara Schrijver (eds.), Urban formation and Collective spaces, Editore: NAi Publishers, Anno edizione: 2006, ISSN: 169-6238

OASE, n. 71

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaAvermaete, Tom, Making Things Public: The MultiModal Public Space as a New Challenge for Dutch Design, Editore: Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, Anno edizione: 2009, ISBN: 978-9059730298

Van Baar, Vincent, Bert van Meggelen, and Timo De Rijk (eds.),in Dutch Design Yearbook

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaAvermaete, Tom, Klaske Havik and Hans Teerds (eds.), Into the Open: Accommodating the Public Sphere, Editore: Rotterdam: NAi Publishers, Anno edizione: 2008, ISSN: 0169-6238

OASE, n. 77

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaAvermaete, Tom, Constructing the commons. Towards another architectural theory of the city., Editore: ARCH+ Verlag, Anno edizione: 2018, ISBN: 978-3-931435-48-6

in An Atlas of Commoning: Places of Collective Production, in ARCHI+, n. 232, pp.32-43 Co-Publisher: Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart, Germany Guest Editor: Stefan Gruber (Carnegie Mellon University, School of Architecture)

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaBollier, David, and Sikle Helfrich, Patterns of Commoning, Editore: Amherst (Mass.): The Commons Strategies Group, Anno edizione: 2015
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaBollier, David, Think Like a Commoner. , Editore: Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, Anno edizione: 2014
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaBollier, David, and Silke Helfrich, The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State., Editore: Amherst (Mass.): Levellers Press, Anno edizione: 2012
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaBollier, David, A New Politics of the Commons, Anno edizione: 2007, ISSN: 0279-0300

in Renewal, Vol 15, No 4

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaBowers, C A., Revitalizing the Commons: Cultural and Educational Sites of Resistance and Affirmation., Editore: Lanham (Md.): Lexington Books, Anno edizione: 2006
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaClemens, Oliver. Et al.,, On the Commons , Anno edizione: 2010, ISSN: 1610-2789

in An Architektur, n.23, pp. 5-27

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaHarvey, David, The Future of the Commons, Editore: Duke University Press, Anno edizione: 2011, ISSN: 0163-6545

in Radical History Review, n. 109, pp. 101-107

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaHavik, Klaske, Urban Literacy: Reading and Writing Architecture. , Editore: Rotterdam: nai010 publishers, Anno edizione: 2014
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaHess, Charlotte, and Elinor Ostrom, Understanding Knowledge As a Commons: From Theory to Practice, Editore: Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press, Anno edizione: 2011
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaHyde, Lewis, Common As Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership., Editore: New York, N.Y: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Anno edizione: 2010
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaIllich, Ivan, Silence is a commons, Anno edizione: 1983, ISSN: 0095-134X

in The CoEvolution Quarterly, pp. 1-6

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaIllich, Ivan, Deschooling Society., Editore: London: Calder & Boyars, Anno edizione: 1971
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaPolanyi, Karl, The Great Transformation, Editore: Beacon Press, Anno edizione: 2001, ISBN: 978-0807056431

Chapters 3-15, pp. 33-191, 2° edition

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaSennett, Richard, Together: The Rituals, Pleasures, and Politics of Cooperation. , Editore: New Haven: Yale University Press, Anno edizione: 2012
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaSohn, Heidi, Stavros Kousoulas, Gerhard Bruyns, Commoning as Differentiated Publicness, Editore: Delft: Delft University of Technology, Anno edizione: 2015

in Footprint#16

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaSwenarton, Mark, Tom Avermaete, and Dirk van den Heuvel (eds.)., The Architecture of the Welfare State, Editore: London: Taylor and Francis/Routledge, Anno edizione: 2015
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaTurner, John, et al., The Architecture of Democracy, Editore: John Wiley & Sons, Anno edizione: 1968, ISSN: 0003-8504

in Architectural Design, n. 38

Forme didattiche
Tipo Forma Didattica Ore di attività svolte in aula
Ore di studio autonome
Laboratorio Informatico
Laboratorio Sperimentale
Laboratorio Di Progetto
Totale 80:00 120:00

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