The concept of nature lies in its structure of processes, organisms keep an homeostatic balance in response to the continuous changes in the environment, a non-linear network where everyone interacts with everyone else, all at the same time. The basis of these processes is the control over the information flow, exchange and interplay among the organisms and between them and their environment. Adaption and self-regulation happen perpetually during the life cycle, while environmental pressure cause a selection in populations that produce an evolution in future generations.
In order to approach an architectural design that goes beyond the static definition of sustainability and engages a more natural relation with the environment in order to create a synthetic ecology (synthetic is used to indicate what is built and differentiate it from what naturally grows; the concept of “artificial” as opposed to “natural” is a mind abstraction, synthetic is not synonymous of artificial), the starting point is to build a pervasive information model of the environment. Environment is here intended not only under its physical intensive data (temperature, wind, solar radiation absorption, …) but as the set of conditions and pressures (physical, cultural, social, ediphic) that influence the habitat and architectural performative behaviors at different scales (macro and micro).
From punctual survey or simulation via specific software, the collected information is then extrapolated to continuous data fields throughout the considered area and its related surroundings.
Architecture then will be studied as the open result of the modulated response to these environmental conditions at different scales. Open design strategies will be applied in a process of selection over a population of options in order to pursue a wide range of student’s chosen specific efficient design. Final results, depending on the chosen strategy for the project, will be closer or farther to the actual architectural, building and production system, thus hopefully depicting a gradient of opportunities.
Aim of the course therefore is not scrutinize a specific and strict range of conditions but to introduce students to a design process through population and selection, where, just like in nature, forms find their possible functions. More to that extent, project will engage and negotiate their relation with the territory in order to produce architectural outcomes as much as possible compromised with reality.

_ Alessio


: : 03. Mid-terM presentation

A Changing Paradigm

Assumptions about classroom learning:

. Everyone starts with the same base of knowledge
Everyone learns at the same pace.
. Everyone learns best from listening.
. Everyone will bridge naturally from theory to application.
. Everyone will learn on his or her own.
. Learning is the transfer of knowledge from a teacher to a relatively passive learner.

Research has shown:

. Learners are incredibly diverse, both in terms of knowledge and ways of learning.
. We embed learning in our own individual experiences, so we learn best when we direct our own learning.

. We learn most effectively in context, so learning should be linked directly to work.
. We learn from each other, so workplaces should enable us to communicate and collaborate freely.
. We continuously create knowledge, so we need to learn how to capture what we know and share it with others.
We learn unconsciously, so we need to learn how to recognize and question our tacit assumptions.

[excerpt from: CAS]

On may 7th, students presented a synthesis of their work in 3 panels and a prototype. Even though works are the result of individual effort, presenting in front of each other and work together in a collaborative environment had a determinant influence on the results of these efforts.

Guest critic for this Mid-terM was architect Niccolò Casas (graduated at Brussels University, with experiences at Sci-Arc, Los Angeles and DRLab at AA, London).

Here's a slideshow of selected panels:

Some photos from the Mid-terM:

Check all the event photos in the related Facebook group.

Here below are some excerpts of Mid-terM's presentation panels:

Michele Semeghini

Corrado Giacobazzi

Valentina Laghi

Luca Nazzari

Elena Pennellini

Francesca Papi

Matteo Pugnalin


: : 02. strategies

Practice without theory is Blind. Theory without practice is Sterile.

[quoted from Cristiano Ceccato paper at Id&cT, Milan, May 6th, 2009]

Starting from the study of a biologic organism in the field of botany, the student should identify one or more morphogenetic processes that would relate form generation and differentiation (with the implication of space formation and distribution, structural and material performance) in response to the variation of an external stimulus. Those processes must then be translated into architectural conditions (a less potential version of a body plan mentioned by Deleuze) in order to explore differentiation, articulation and modulation and its potential performative outcomes.
Subsequentially the proliferation (integrated with ground and edge negotiation rules) of the system on the territory will function both as a first masterplan strategy for program integration and a test model for emergent system properties due to part-to-whole and whole-to-part relationship.
Following here is a gallery containing an excerpt of pictures from the LaB work in progress of the students in march-april 2009.

:: The WIP gallery slideshow:

The project shown are from the following students:

Michele Semeghini, Alessandro Mazzette, Andrea Romano, Chiara Salvadori, Davide Sartini, Eufemia Papacharissis, Francesca Papi, Corrado Giacobazzi, Valentina Laghi, Luca Nazzari, Leandro Robutti, Matteo Tosi, Stefano Coccia, Simone Righi.

Here's a few samples (see larger images from the gallery linked above):

Michele Semeghini

Matteo Tosi

Luca Nazzari

Chiara Salvadori

Davide Sartini

Corrado Giacobazzi