domenica 23 ottobre 2016


The key goal of the proposal is to establish the future model of student housing that will set the framework for overall youth lifestyle modification, towards the future of urban agriculture lifestyle, by aggregating, at the first glance, the two incompatible processes, the maturation of the young generations and the process of agriculture.

The starting point was to clearly understand both processes, and the requirements for their mutual reeling, in order to define the architectural solution that can provide the neccessary spaces for their coexistance.
Reframing concept of urban agriculture

Going back to history and studying the ancient types of urban farming, as hortus, was significant to transfer this culture to modern society, having the student community in Milan as a first reactant. Hortus conclusus has been selected as a typology, since it establishes a very strong connection between inhabitants and the farming process.

Today, as the farming technology is progressing, many types of farming are developed,  between the complete climate controlled and open climate agriculture. The key point is that, while learning how the cultures are easily grown with new techniques, the tradition has to maintain its position.

Massing evolution
Focusing more on the process of seeding, growing, harvesting and consuming a plant, the key idea is to highlight the importance of seeding, since it represents the initiation of the process. Within the same metaphor, we wanted to highlight the beginning of the new era of living and farming lifestyle, by using the seed shape architecture. It will provide a enclosure for social interaction within farmlands and it will, as every shape placed in a certain space, communicate the fact that the seeding is executed, and the process of studet lifestyle modification has been initiated.

The interpretation of the seed micromorphology is used for establishing the system of the facade, that will act as a farming host, thermal barrier, and shading device.
The programme aim lies in adressing the level of interaction between the student lifecycle and the farming process through different scales, from unit to building scale. Using the holistic approach, these interactions are addresed to place the student as individual, and as a part of the community in the process of farming, from seeding to consuming.

Living unit represents the first level of interaction with farming process, having a microfarm integrated into the skin that is covering the corridors on one side, and the balconies on the other. The functional relationship was taken from the Hortus, the ancient typology of urban gardens.

Adjusting circulation

Outdoor spaces



The theme of Expo 2015 was “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. 145 countries participated in the Exposition and many of them proposed their ideas  concerning the most urgent environmental issues in the areas of hydrology and intensive farming. That particular project was inspired by two of the stated problems.

The first one is water scarcity. Some of the statistics specialists claim that today agriculture uses 70% of water worldwide. The issue was addressed, for instance, by United Arab Emirates representatives.

The second one is the inefficiency of traditional farming due to disproportion of the amount of available agriculture lands and the tempo of worldwide population increase. The problem can be tackled with application of new technologies such as vertical farming and hydroponics. In Milano vertical farms were presented by USA, Israel and Monaco. Hydroponics and aquaponics could have been seen in the pavilions representing Italy, Belgium, Kuwait, Qatar, etc.

The project’s proposition is to create special hyperboloid structures which are to achieve multiple purposes. First of all, they work with rainwater: large truncated-cone-shaped shells collect water, equipment in the narrowest part of the structure filters and nutrifies collected water, lastly water supplies are divided between plants in the lower part and underground reservoirs. In case of water lack underground waters are possible to utilize as well. Nether truncated-cone-shaped part of the structure is covered by climate skin made of ETFE sheet glazing, recyclable material with excellent chemical, electrical and high-energy radiation resistance properties. Inside of this skin forms a greenhouse equipped with hydroponics technologies. Three structures are connected with a pedestrian bridges system adding to the whole Expo experience. Moreover, a wide range of additional surfaces are to be used for vertical farming providing shading where needed.
The shape inspiration comes from the image of reels linked by a web of threads. That should remind people about sacred connection between the society and the nature. Furthermore, the Expo site itself provides a variety of analogous shapes in the form of Albero della Vita, Children’s Park and Vietnam Pavilion.
Student residential buildings are to be integrated in the whole system. Water supplies for domestic needs are to be included in the main water cycle. Residential buildings are partially complemented by semi-covered wooden galleries essential in the hot Italien climate.

Site landscape planning responds to the buildings’ volumes. Multiple petal-shaped plazas should provide space for students’ gatherings and activities without interference with the plants growth process.

Overall the project’s goal was to imagine innovative and entertaining environment for students, farm workers and visitors and integrate that environment to the Expo site without an impression of foreignness. Last but not least, modern technologies usage and uncommon shapes are to catch public’s attention and to engage a large audience in the agricultural environmental issues education. 

MILAN EXPO HORIZONTAL FARM // FIRST PRIZE Ex Aequo - Christian Sibilde, Haissahm Jijakli, Klaus Ralph, Edrisio Bruletti - ITALY & BELGIUM

The architectural concept is based on the contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional Italian farm “cascina” and comes to be anchored in the urban context of the 2015 Milan Universal Exposition, as the old farms where in the economic activity of the city. While reminding the iconic farm symbol to the collective memory, the project has the ambition to enhance a spirit of innovation, based on a sustainable agricultural approach, economic efficiency and social local vitality, all in the respect of the environment.
The Village + Farm Lab answers this question: how to live, produce, store, and sell in the same place, regarding the vital needs for its functions, while interacting harmoniously with its urban context?
Village + Farm Lab offers an unseen integration of functions and spatial experiences. Inhabited relaxing areas are contrasted by efficient, transparent and social spaces of production, exhibition and teaching. A new urban combination where new ideas and a concept for a healthy life style could flow freely between farmers and the young generations as an invitation for a respected environment.

Village + Farm Lab takes the best elements from the village traditional structure, as an outset to create a modern campus experience that enhances knowledge sharing, production and creativity. The Youth village relates to the concept of gathering small residential units together with, meeting places as center of social interaction, all surrounded by nature. We propose to translate these qualities into a contemporary architectural concept.
The Youth Village enjoys functional and recreational areas, located at the heart of the project, while providing a certain degree of intimacy. For the most part, the student’s spaces are the only elements in the project which can be completely partitioned and heated. On the contrary, the market place reinforces the idea of emblematic “piazza”: an open-space only covered by mezzanines. The market place is at the same time a busy area and a verdant space, where people can buy, sell, relax or just walk along.

Village + Farm Lab proposes several others dynamic meeting places on different levels, adding the third dimension to the classical piazza, to create a new concept of urban village. 

Besides production of rice and cereals, the Region of Milan is also known to produce vegetable and fruits. Modern agriculture and research require space for testing and production. With our proposal the raw character of the Farm is imbedded into a creative lab for agriculture experiments and effective food production in which the public is invited to participate. The food production will be distributed on the various terraces dedicated to urban agriculture, scattered throughout the building. Special attention is paid to offering a maximum of natural light to each terrace.
Furthermore, large openings in the building have been created on the Eastern and Southern parts. Plants requiring more light like tomatoes will be located on the higher levels. Whenever necessary, additional LED lights can be placed on the lower levels. However, solar protection made of translucent removable clothes is integrated in the roof structure to handle the harmful summer radiations. We also considered setting up a general glass roof to be able to grow crops even during wintertime, but it was discarded as it would have a strong counter effect on the food production in the summer time.
The production systems will be made of containers with soil as a substrate and hydroponics systems (soilless techniques). These systems are appropriate for vegetable and fruit productions and offer the advantage to be light, flexible and modular. Their position can evolve with the season and with the market demand. Small greenhouses are designed to insure nursery for the plants and to grow fruit trees that need protection under Milan climate like citrus trees.
Flexible and multi purpose use spaces are created that can handle the changing situations demands over time, in a robust and scalable character. We invite the public into a creativity laboratory for agricultural experiments.

The various culture levels will produce 115 tonnes of food of which 80 tonnes tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers on the upper levels, 20 tonnes of leafy vegetables (such as lettuces, spinach,…) and 15 tonnes of aromatic plants on lower levels. Some space will be devoted to the production of poultry and rabbits. Food production is also foreseen on the piazza in front of the building following Todmorden’s Incredible Edible scheme. The aim is to offer people vegetables, small fruits and pome fruits for free, bringing them together around local food actions and raising consciousness about the need to change behaviours towards the environnement.
Along with the food production, our Farm Lab offers other added sustainable values at social, ecological and economic levels. The surface dedicated to the agricultural production (around 4.400 m2) is large enough to insure the economic viability of a farmer. He will be helped by seasonal workers. The farmer will be scientifically and technically framed by the agricultural and food sciences Faculty of the University of Milan. That Faculty is the largest in Italy in terms of the number of students (approximately 3000) and teaching staff (around 180). Our urban farm will then constitute a teaching tool and an ideal living laboratory with the participation of the farmer, the students living in the building and the Faculty.
The horizontal farm is divided into different levels, supporting the natural light needs of the various cultures. Specials labs for technical cultures take place into green houses and dedicated laboratories, for an experimental and didactic approach and to analyse food quality.  Food market will be regularly organised on the ground floor of the building and the public place. Fruit trees will be also cultivated on the public place as a strong signal of the farm activities. Compost will be carried out to ensure direct ecological recycling of the organic matter.
Finally, the non-covered rooftop will ensure the production of seasonal commodities and will help the residents and the visitors to be connected to the nature and its nurturing function, while the rolling fabric screens will help control the harmful excess of direct sunlight.
The Labs are thus both productive spaces as well as social spaces of interaction, bridging production and urban life – benefitting both, where work, learning and exhibition coexist.

Combining the two worlds, Village + Farm Lab creates a hybrid space, an integrated productive and welcoming part of the city. Village + Lab allows for a totally inclusive urban experience with a diversity of spatial experiences.It is a place between social uses and economy, where innovations and knowledge coexist in a participative management for a “win-win” exchange between students and farmers, while including citizens in the process. This is why the functions are not separated in layers but are inter-connected, visible by all, adding a dynamic aspect and value to the process.

The village is an open-air space where interacting functions take place. The open-air concept allows the elements such as the sun, the wind, the cold and the rain to contribute to the global farming purposes.
A simple system of external shutters and unrolling blinds protect from the sunlight while the rain is directly absorbed by the cultures. The village offers a magnificent way to live in step with the seasons, with sustainable development in mind and responsible management approach.
The village is anchored in the architectural codes of the traditional market. An apparent metallic structure selected for its functionality, durability and elegant lightness, supports the closed functional boxes. This project is designed to collect natural light and distribute it through the levels.
The visitors are invited in a green landscape walk through, which prolongs and intensifies the animation of public space. Living through the seasons, inviting the nature in the city, letting the biodiversity take place in our urban environment. The Village Farm Lab tends to reach an autonomous model, which does not take anything but gives back to its environment, in a    sustainable way, existing independently through the generations.

We applied for the project the Brussels EPB passive building concepts, adapted to the Milanese climate, meaning :
- good solar screens to limit overheating: window shutters in the facades and roof rolling fabric screens, vegetation will also contribute to the general shading of the outer and inner spaces of the village, and in particular the groundfloor market.
- efficient thermal insulation (passive house standards adapted to the Milanese situation)
- good thermal inertia: the light, reusable and expandable steel structure is combined with concrete floors and partitions.
- heat exchange double flow mechanical ventilation for the residential and cultural areas (allowing up to 90% recovery of energy in winter time)
- natural ventilation for social and commercial areas: market, gathering places, sports areas, …
- passive cooling systems with geo-cooling or the use of the canal waters are considered but need further investigation.
Based on a first energy summary appraisal, the energy needs are as follows:

Gross needs (MWh/y)
Cooling (no active cooling)
Sanitary hot water
Lighting, auxilliaries, elevators (plug-in equipement not included)

Production means:
•   Heating: 100% of the heating energy needs will be supplied by a heat pump unit (HPU) using the canal water  (system that has proven its efficiency for the expo pavilions) and eventually completed with a geothermal HPU with shallow geothermal probes.
•   Domestic hot water: water will be heated partially with a heat recovery system on the greywater streams (waters cooled from +/- 23°C donw to 8°C) and complimentarily with a HPU.
•   Lighting, auxiliaries, elevators, … : 100% of the electricity needs, including those for the HPU’s, will be supplied by PV panels integrated in the roof and the facades, using the acting facades and building skins techniques developed by Issol, a Belgian based company active internationally. The overall needs could be achieved with around 850 m2 of solar PV panels. The use of vertical axis urban wind turbines is also foreseen on the building roof pursuant a thorough local performance analysis. It is thus possible to achieve a positive energy building.
•   Alternate solutions: green waste from the farm could be used to produce biogas that could be used in a cogeneration unit working intermittently to produce electricity and domestic hot water. This technique would not be financially profitable but could be implemented for R&D and educational purposes.

•   Rainwater will be collected in 10 water tanks, 20m³ each, and be used mainly for the Farm.
•   Greywaters heat will be recovered to pre-heat about two-thirds of domestic heat water (see above) and then collected and treated for further use in the restroom water systems (100% of the needs).
•   A biological wastewater micro-plant will collect and treat blackwaters which will be injected underground after treatment à zero water dumping.
•   Farming and kitchen waste will be gathered in a composting station whose yield will be used for the soil based production areas.

 By doing so, Village + Farm Lab will be an outstanding positive energy building whose design is based on the principles of circular economy.

lunedì 21 marzo 2016


The aim of our kinder GARDEN is to provide different kinds of space through a large and unique playground to let each child discovers himself and gain some autonomy in a spirit of freedom. The space is thought to meet the different essential criteria for the development of the child. It’s a safe place where kids can walk and run the way they want and make their own mistakes. It’s not a question of nursing the pupils but more a question of letting them learn by themselves through experiences. It’s also a social space where they can learn from each other.
It was important for us to create a space where children from every age can meet and play with each other. Bigger children can help the little ones and help them become more responsible. Little children can take example from the biggest ones and grow up. It’s a space connected to the city as well, because children are the city’s actors of tomorrow. The space also allows pupils to discover all of their senses. The topography is not the same in the entire building, the boxes are different, the materials too. All of that to encourage children to be curious and creative. The last point is to make a ludic place because, even if the space is thought for children to grow up, we still managed to make them dream in this environment. It’s a magic forest where they can draw on the walls and on the floors. Where they can build huts on the branches and climb the big central hills as explorers. It’s a space to let children be themselves.
In our design process we were really attached to link closely elements of structure and architecture. For us the relation between those two elements is essential to create a complete, sustainable and well-designed building. 

LNS - LONDON SURSERY SCHOOL // FIRST PRIZE - Gabriele Capobianco, Edoardo Capuzzo Dolcetta, Jonathan Lazar, Davide Troiani - ITALY & NEDERLAND

Nowadays the absence of direct experience has completely misled children’s perception of the world and of its most basic processes. This appears particularly true in urban environ-ments where children often ignore, for instance, that milk comes from living animals or that beans don’t sprout in cans.
Avoiding any old-fogey approach, it’s commonly known that children are inherently and intuitively curious naturalists. We believe that this innate quality should be exploited, stimu-lated and guided through the educational approach of the nursery of the future.
This model sees the nursery as a catalyst capable of combining, along with game, nature and technique in a renovated didactic path based on three approaches: learning from nature, learning from technique, and learning from practice.
Child's physical, social, emotional and cognitive development can all be encouraged by interaction with animals and plants. Furthermore children are more prone to approach and interact with others when sharing a mission or a duty.
It’s even truer when the survival and wellness of a third relational component (i.e. an animal or a plant) relies on such a mission. In this way domestication can be, on the one hand, the bridge between a  less socially outgoing child and other poten-tial playmates, on the other hand the way to stimulate subjective processes such as the development of self-esteem and sense of responsibility.
Hence, the spatial definition of the nursery establishes an integration of traditional scholastic environments and experimental spaces that merge didactic and farming. Rather than merely relying on a fixed subdivision in classro-oms, the daily and seasonal routine of the groups of children from 2 to 5 years old unfolds along a trajectory based on natural cycles.   

Children learn from teachers and assimilate through practice how to domesticate animals and plants. At the same time they establish a respectful relation with nature, with the human community and the places in which their life takes place. Organic, biodynamic and permacultural approaches are preferred in the ethical production with didactic ends that permeates the routine of the little farmers.
Infants too, although in a passive way, can benefit from living in such an environment. Several studies indicate that the contact with certain animals (i.e. donkeys) promotes both relaxation and curiosity in babies. Furthermore the proximity to animals bolsters their still-developing immune systems and trains them early to fend off assaults from common allergens and bugs.
To conclude, we claim that the nursery of the future should be a place where children are not only raised, but also where they are given the possibility to raise and construct themselves. This possibility, as natural as birth itself, has been lost and should be rediscovered through the combination of traditional approaches/spaces and innovative hybrid ones.

sabato 17 ottobre 2015

BTP - BARCELONA TEMPORARY PAVILION // HONORABLE MENTION - Adrian Sanchez Rodriguez and Helena Fuertes Pliego - SPAIN

BCN Cloud Pavilion

Human beings, forced to stay with their feet on the ground, have always wanted to touch the sky, resulting in the creation of majestic structures that can lift us hundreds of meters above the ground, buildings that are lost in the clouds. However, not many have tried to bring the sky onto the ground. Our idea is based on the possibility of grabbing and incorporating it into the city, capturing air and building a cloud with it so the atmosphere, distant and intangible, is at our fingertips, while it is a temporal pavilion, just like a cloud is not expected to stay in the same place.

Made with non-breathable canvas balloons filled with helium, the real anchorage of this roof is the open sky, which pulls it up. These balloons are tied together and to the pillars by nylon cords, almost invisible, creating the illusion of a flying cloud among the regular buildings. A dreamy spiral staircase brings you to its surface 15 meters high, having the chance to walk, sit, and contemplate the horizon with the viewpoint of a bird, or even share a kiss on the cloud.

Art exhibitions are displayed underneath the balloons, organized with weightless chain fences and protected from the evening sun with cheap customized panels - e.g. foam board. Due to the nature of these fences, there are no strong, view-blocking heavy walls that oppress the exhibition area, but thin, see-through membranes that allow light, air, and the visitor’s eye to move around. Art pieces, hanging from these wired walls, seem to be floating, contributing to the atmosphere of the pavilion where everything seems to belong to the sky, including ourselves.

venerdì 2 ottobre 2015

BTP - BARCELONA TEMPORARY PAVILION // HONORABLE MENTION - Germana Musco, Ilaria Gizzi, Ilaria Giraldi, Francesco Cosentini - ITALY

BCN_Better Come Nosy

“A foreign tourist has arrived in Barcelona. He has thin legs and big feet to stand. He has scales that protect him from the sunlight. He has many eyes on very long necks to explore better what surrounds him (he is very nosy). He carries a box for the lunch and many memories and stories to tell. But since he has long travelled and the life of a traveler monster can be quite solitary, he decided to look for new friends to share his curiosity. He heard that in Barcelona there are many other monsters like him and many nice people to meet. So he took some deckchairs to host his new friends, and he leaved to Spain. Don’t be shy, he looks forward to meet many people like you! Get nosy with him!”
This is the introduction to visitors when they approach the BCN (Better Come Nosy) Pavilion and this is the idea from which all started. In Barcelona we can find many fantastic architectures, just think about Gaudí’s Casa Battló with its balconies or to Casa Mila’s monstrous chimneys. The “monster” concept as we mean it is a place that has a strong impact but, instead of being repulsive, as a paradox, it excites curiosity encouraging people to interact and to learn enjoying the pleasure of exploring the city.


CONCENTRATION: The BCN pavilion acts as a magnet, concentrating many needs and entertaining tourists and citizens. It is a place where people can rest, learn, have fun or only pass through.

FLEXIBILITY: The pavilion can host many different functions and temporary events. Thanks to its flexible nature it can live day and night and be attractive both for tourists and citizens.

INTERACTION: All the design was conceived to encourage people to interact with the pavilion and with other people. The technology is simple, almost totally manual in order to tempt people to touch more than just observe passively a mechanism. The shell of the pavilion can be touched and rolled and can change every moment. Periscopes and info-deckchairs offer a user-friendly technology. Everyone can have a different approach to the city. Everyone can learn, explore and have fun.

TRANSPARENCY: Because of its temporary nature and in order to excite the curiosity and the will to explore, the design of the pavilion is light and transparent.