Nowadays, new disciplinary tools are necessary to address the complexity of contemporary landscape and cities. Three are the main issues designers are currently facing.
First, the ecological emergency and climate change require urgent local and global responses in the short and long term. Secondly, rapid urbanization and related phenomena of abandonment require new measures for soil protection and possible reuse of existing buildings. Thirdly, the political and social crisis is progressively leading to participatory design among citizens, public and private stakeholders.
Starting from these themes, students will investigate, read and design a study area at a broad scale which will be presented in class.
Several sub-themes will guide the course: water as fundamental layer to rethink the city; the theme of the reuse of historical heritage and eventually the reclamation of abandoned sites; the understanding of urban and landscape tissues by investigating their composition and historical stratification; the role of open space as a structuring system for the city and the territory.
The course is divided into two parts:
1) a series of theoretical lessons that bring students closer to the field of knowledge and contemporary urbanism/urban design/architecture practice, referring to the main themes, tools and projects;
2) a studio in close connection with the theoretical topics addressed.
The studio class
Design and planning experience is fundamental in the academic training of architects. Often the teaching of design skills does not follow precise phases and methodological choices, in the conviction that you cannot fully teach someone “how to design.” On the contrary, the course will start out with the precise aim of giving the participants a critical sensitivity for analysis and re-invention of the local area, through a series of methods which support the design process on the various scales of action.
Students are expected:
(1) to learn a methodology of work which could link research to design and to become familiar with design-based research approaches (diagrams, collective brainstorming sessions, alternative scenario methodology, etc.);
(2) to investigate the study area as a whole and in all its complexity – the water systems, green spaces, residential areas, historical heritage sites, etc.
(3) to design at different scales – from the regional scale to the detailed urban/architecture scale – in order to develop a complex landscape urbanism theme.