Think, act, design architecture
“I wish there were stable places, static, intangible, untouched and almost untouchable, unchanging, deep-rooted; places that would be points of reference and departure (...). These places do not exist, and it is because they don’t exist that the space becomes problematic, it ceases to be evidence, it ceases to be built, it ceases to be appropriate. The space is a doubt: I have to continually find it and designate it. It was never given, ever since I was, I must conquer it.”
Georges Perec, Species of Spaces
The annual Studio ‘Architectural Design Studio 2’ conducted by prof. Giulia Setti (Architectural Design - 8 CFU), Giovanni Bassi (Architectural Design – 4 CFU), Ana Veljkovic (Structural Mechanics – 4 CFU) proposes to open a design process articulated through experimental explorations related to the relationship between space and form, buildings and urban realm, materials and structure, context, environment and urban fabric.
The workshop will be structured as a ‘design and critical journey’ through the study processes of the form and its spatial and morphological variations. A journey through which students will be guided to explore, to discover and to reflect on the architectural generating processes; and also to critically reflect on the relationship between context, place and architectural object.
During the Studio, the student will face off the experimental reading / interpretation of the elements and actions that characterize the architecture field, until the development of an architectural design linked to the idea of ‘living’ in the periphery of Milan, working into the main frame of ‘Ri-formare Periferie’.
The Studio will be focused on the development of an housing project, in particular to design a residential complex (house-atelier or student hostel or complex for elderly people..), integrated with a public/shared functions. Students will work on the definition of a program adapted to the contemporary living in a post-industrial city.
The workshop will be structured into a series of phases that will work on the relationship between design and context (at the urban/metropolitan scale), on the typological and morphological aspects of the project and on the principles of the architectural composition and its spatial evolutions.
In the early phases, student will work with models, drawings and sketches; the construction of the project exercises will provide a continuous path along the year; in which each student will 'grow' through the different project phases.
The primary aim of the Studio is to define a methodology based on the reading of poetry of the context, with a particular focus on the typological, technological and social aspects.
_ to think architecture | concept, space and type | first phase
In the first phase of the Studio, students will reflect on the generation of the architectural process and its instruments. It will be necessary to study the spatial transformation through the development of a project idea, the shaping of space and the reading / interpretation of ‘architectural types’ to achieve the genius loci.
A series of exercises will be focused on reading, aggregation and merging of typological forms, useful to provide to students the tools and measures for the design strategies, working with pure and simple shapes.
The aim of first phase will be the concepts of measure, scale, type and space.
_ to act architecture | architectural and design actions | second phase
“To dig is therefore a sacred act, which is a destructive event to be indemnified, (...) as it contains in embryo the future shape of the building, as if the digging himself was the visible footprint of what is about to born from it”
Franco Purini, Composing Architecture
In the second phase, the architectural object will become dynamic, will be changed and transformed through design actions that will modify the shape.
Students will be engaged with 9 cubes that have to be aggregate in order to create a space to inhabit, the nine cubes exercise will be a design experimentation between abstraction and reality. Students will start to work on architectural actions: to dig – to intersect – to include – to overlap.
Approximately, the first two phases will be finished at the beginning of December, each phase will require the production of drawings (plans, elevations, sections), study models at the scale and with materials that will be shown during the workshop. Each phase will end with a seminar in which all the materials will be critically discussed.
_ to design architecture | inhabit the place, define boundaries | third phase
The third phase of the workshop will be focused on the physical and spatial boundaries of the architectural object, taking in consideration the studies done during the first phases of the course. Students will be expected to interact with the environment and the context, working on the definition of scale, measure and typological aspects of the architectural artifact.
The insertion in a physical context will produce variations, modifications, readjustments; the architectural object will become a 'space to live'.
The aim of this phase is to introduce the development of an architectural form able to respond to a specific place, to specific and actual needs, able to establish a strong relationship between form, open space and context.
Place | space | context
During this phase the work will be conducted through interpretive readings of the context, necessary to identify the morphological aspects and to understand the urban pattern and its potentials.
The context will be the city of Milan, in particular these year the Studio will focus on three site on the East Milan: the Gorla Market, a residual site in via Padova, a residual area in via Rombon (Lambrate neighborhood); all the three sites have been chosen inside the frame of ‘Ri-formare Periferie’, each student can choose one site among those proposed. Each area will show different urban conditions and different relationships between site, program and environment.
The different design areas will represent abandoned fragments in the modern periphery of Milan, the project has seen as a tool able to define and to structure new edges and borders, to fit into the existing fabric by establishing a series of new relationships with the urban surroundings.
Topic: living the space | Housing in Milan
The topic of the third phase of the course will combine, on one hand, the design development and its implications with the environment, on the other hand, the understanding of the typological aspects.
Students will have to design a residential complex (for young students, elderly people, artists, young couples..) in an urban area of Milan. The house becomes, therefore, a place to dwelling and a place to work, scale and measure become necessary tools in the construction of the space.
Students must understand the issues and necessity of the site in order to define a specific program for the place, the housing typology will work together with public functions integrated in the design solution, this year the Studio will address the topic of the public/neighborhood market.
The project will be developed at the appropriate scales (from an urban/metropolitan framework to the architectural detail), through sketches, diagrams, drawings, models, starting from morphological and typological issues, reaching the detail scale.
The integration of Structural Mechanics will work strongly together with the design part in order to support and help the students to develop their projects.
Architectural Design (prof. Giovanni Bassi)
The whole annual activity is based on the idea, the analysis, the practice of form, and, most of all, on the cleverness of form. In every phase of the design process, from the first research of examples, suggestions, to the exploration of an abstract space, or a real site and, finally to the creation of a new space, a new site for human living, there are many necessary choices to be done to complete the design process.
A general principle of adequacy is the background of this research activity. It is not seen as a filter that “cuts of power” from the design ambition, but, on the contrary, it is a sort of necessary training that makes the result strong and correctly grounded. So, if we consider form as the most determining aspect of the completed design, we well learn to reach the best form for the project, step by step, from the comprehension of the place, to the choice and managing of the solution from the typological point of view, to the choice of a particular material or the comprehension of formal effects of a particular technological or structural system.
At the end all the process needs the clear individuation of an architectural theme that moves from the general landscape of architecture in the historic, modern, contemporary age, and becomes the target idea of the project.
Structural Mechanics (prof. Ana Veljkovic)
The main aim of the Structural Mechanics module is to provide students with the basic knowledge on the major structural members and their role in bearing mechanism of the whole system. This includes understanding and development of functional structural assembly and characterisation of position, shape, dimensions, and material of its main bearing elements. The lectures and individual work will address the analysis of the building system and their partition into individual functional units. The types of structural systems, horizontal and vertical bearing mechanisms and building materials will be analysed.
This will be accompanied by the review of load types and more detailed explanation about single bearing elements, such as beams, trusses, columns, walls, arches, etc. The big importance will be put on the proper structural system forming, material choice and construction technology for assuring the overall quality and feasibility of the objects. All the arguments will be supported by the analysis of various case studies.
The Studio can be conducted in groups of two students. The design exercises will be conducted during the class and students will guided by professors and tutors.
Each stage of the course will be organized with a series of ex-cathedra lectures aimed to provide examples and design references useful during the different exercises. Seminars will be held at the end of each phase to discuss and to evaluate the design.
Thematic bibliography will be indicated at the beginning of the Studio and at the end of each lectures, as well as the detailed program of the project and course. Basic teaching materials will be published on "Beep".
Visits can be organized along the year to some contemporary projects in Milan to understand the recent change and transformation of the urban fabric, and to study topics covered during the workshop, such as type, context, materials. An optional week-study trip will be organized during the year to visit relevant places for the development of the architectural knowledge (probably looking at the architectures of Carlo Scarpa in Veneto or in Hamburg to look at new urban transformations).