Erasmus Intensive Programme Milano 2011

Page 1

structural architectures

summer school milano



The international summer school “Structural Architectures“, funded by the European Commission in the frame of Erasmus Intensive Programmes, focused on structural thinking in architecture and its application in architectural design processes.

The fist international summer school took place in Milano from September 2nd to 12th, 2011 with seven professors, four guest lecturers and 32 students from the four partner universities Politecnico di Milano, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Universidad CEU San Pablo Madrid, and Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich. The aim of the topic ‘Structural Architectures’ is to identify structures, selected and considered in their different dimensional scales. Geometry helps to represent the structures and transformations. The structures should be grasped by formulating rules. A special focus was set on the comparison between various codes representing the structures. The analysis and coding of structures was specified as the starting point for the different design processes. To check the wide veridicality of the structural approach, the sea village of Portovenere on the Ligurian coast, being a typical example of Italian built landscape, was taken as a case study project.

Politecnico di Milano, Italy Luigi Cocchiarella (local coordinator); Gennaro Postiglione

Structural Architectures - Geometry, Code and Design Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Germany 2012

Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Germany Cornelie Leopold (project coordinator); Andreas Kretzer

ISBN 978-3-941438-84-2

geometry, code and design

The background of this approach was the Symposium ‘Structural Thinking in Architecture’ at the University of Kaiserslautern, Germany in June 2010, where the partner universities of the summer school started their discourse on this research topic together with other architects and researchers. A critical analyses of structuralist concepts was related to actual methods of parametric and rule-based design with digital tools. Based on this shared research on structural thinking in architecture the idea grew to develop a summer school for students during which the different aspects could be experienced, related to each other and applied to architectural projects.

erasmus intensive programme

Eight groups were formed with a mix of four students from the participating nations each and worked together in projects on the Portovenere site. The eight developed projects are shown in these Leporelli, each group’s work covered by one Leporello. The summer school is planned for three years: 2011 in Milano, 2012 in Kaiserslautern and 2013 in Madrid.

professors | guest lecturers | participants

Universidad CEU San Pablo Madrid, Spain Mayka Garcia-Hípola; Carlos Asensio-Wandosell Eidgenöss. Technische Hochschule Zürich, Switzerland Benjamin Dillenburger Guest Lecturers Andrea Di Stefano, Studio AION, Siracusa, Italy Aleksandra Jaeschke, Studio AION, Siracusa, Italy Marco Hemmerling, University of Applied Sciences, Detmold Ingrid Paoletti, Politecnico di Milano, Italy Participants Politecnico di Milano Cao, Yonghe Cigolotti, Enrico Joukhadar, Hanane Lou, Zhenyuan Mansutti, Elisa Ozmen, Mehmet Pavarin, Luca Shishova, Olga Technische Universität Kaiserslautern Bisanz, Christina Jachmann, Lukas Koch, Egor Meissner, Lisa Oertel, Katharina Schabert, Viktoria Schmitt, Alexandra Theresa Voigt, Theresa

Universidad CEU San Pablo Madrid Aguado Sierra, Gadea Arca Jaudenes, Mario Arroyo Calvente, Jorge Fernández Marín, Graciela Fusco, Martina Izcara Autillo, Cristina López Bárcena, Carla Carrato Gómez, Alfredo Martínez Blanco, Marina Bayo Monjas, Sebastian Sáenz de Tejada Graneros, Carlota Sande, Pablo Alonso ETH Zürich Marincic, Nikola Muszynska, Agata Lalovic, Aleksandar Takenaga, Hideaki

erasmus intensive programme milano

Editors Cornelie Leopold, Luigi Cocchiarella, Mayka Garcia-Hípola, Benjamin Dillenburger, Andreas Kretzer, Gennaro Postiglione, Carlos Asensio-Wandosell Content 01 Introduction 02 Viewpoints 03 P.V. Stretched 04 Flexible Portovenere 05 Nuda, Scabra, Essenziale 06 Floating Skyline 07 Dynamic Panoramic 08 Between the Strata 09 Portovenere: veni, vidi, intellexi 10 In-creasing Boundaries

This project was funded with support from the European Commission. The publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

case study portovenere

city on the ligurian coast


materials arrangement

teaching strategy

student results

Portovenere, a city on the Ligurian coast, was selected for the case study. The earliest historical information about Portovenere dates back to the IInd century B.C., probably funded by the Romans. In the Middle Age, the town was under the domain of Genova, one of the four Marine Republics, together with Pisa, Venezia and Amalfi. In these decades the high buildings of the waterfront, new walls, and along the walls several tower-houses were built, whose main building was the big Doria Castle, located on the top of the hill. However, in the middle of the XVth Century Portovenere was almost completely destroyed by Alfonso d’Aragona, the king of Naples. Only the medieval city was later re-erected, while the earlier Roman settlement remained razed up until today, except for the walls and San Pietro church, whose restoration only started in the beginning of the XXth century. Since then, some small transformations involved the old town area, the most relevant of them being the renovation of paths and roads, and the adjustment of the waterfront thanks to the construction of a small port and a promenade on the sea, while on the top of the hill, some terraced gardens and a forest surround the Castle, allowing impressive views on both the Gulf of Genova and the Gulf of La Spezia. The reconfiguration of the seafront was one of the suggested questions for the workshop.

The present port and the promenade represent one of the few remaining areas of expansion. This area provides an important connection between the sea, the city, the landscape, not only by a merely functional point of view, but also by a perceptual and symbolic point of view. It is the only place where fluxes of boats, cars, cycles, pedestrians, and every kind of people each day meet. As one of the most famous and crowded areas of the city, many people tend to identify Portovenere with the image of the urban curtain of the high buildings of the seafront. The old paintings and pictures of this urban area represent the XIXth Century situation, when for safety reasons there were not footpaths in between the buildings and the sea and the main access to the city was through the Medieval town gate. They are showing a setting that is very different from the contemporary situation. Today, a public structure between the city and the waterline allows direct access to the city from several points.

The choice of Portovenere, included in the UNESCO list of sites, proposed a place resuming some of the most typical historical, architectural and environmental qualities of the autochthonous Italic settlements. This decision was aimed at the promotion of a reciprocal and significant international cultural exchange.

The teaching and learning relationships between the analog and digital approach to the architectural design process posed one of the declared priorities of the Erasmus program. The preparation of materials has been considered as a crucial step.

The educational strategy was targeted on the emphasis of an experience and comparison of different teaching and learning methods. Consequently, students were forming mixed groups with each fellow student coming from one of the participating universities. During the tutoring time each teacher and lecturer gave respective suggestions to all of the groups according to their specific needs. At first glance, the variety of the teachers’ backgrounds and points of view might appear disorienting. But in the long run, this ‘open formula’ emerged in a diversified, sometimes contradictory discussion of critical opinions and thus drove the students to appropriate their projects and take responsibility for their own decisions in the design project.

Considering the short period of 11 days working time, the projects of the international student groups are showing a deep examination of the structures of Portovenere. The participants tried to represent these structures with the help of adequate codes, to derive rules for these structures and to develop new concepts for Portovenere, at times subsequent to intensive discussions within the groups according to their individual structural approach.

Map of the Ligurian coast with Portovenere

Seafront of Portovenere during the early XIXth Century and 2011

References Mazzino, Edoardo, Portovenere Genovese nella storia e nell’urbanistica, in: Bollettino Linguistico n.3/4, 1964, Ente Provinciale per il Turismo della Spezia, pp.83-125. Rossi, Luisa (editor), Napoleone e il Golfo della Spezia. Topografi francesi in Liguria tra il 1890 e il 1811, Silvana Editoriale, Milano 2008

But at the same time, the dramatic interferences among various physical and symbolic structures, sometimes vivid and explicitly evident and sometimes implicit and rather hidden, proved appropriate to inspect and test the idea of ‘structure’ in architecture, merging into the main goal of the Erasmus programme. Beyond that, the found architectural context based on intangible parameters such as topography, economics, sociology etc was fertile soil for the project. A system of tangible built spaces and the special physical morphology of Portovenere made this place particularly interesting from an architectural design point of view. Ultimately, the history of Portovenere demonstrates that the urban development of the space was regulated by ‘parametric’ legal prescriptions in order to achieve social equity and salubrity.

Portovenere in 1809 (P.-A. Clerc) and in 1978 (S.T.A. Firenze)

In addition to traditional printed maps and collections of visual references, digital models have been prepared for the workshop. As a kind of ‘3D ready-mades’ they helped students to quickly grasp and get an idea of the complex three-dimensional situation in this architectural setting. These models have been developed with AutoCAD by the architects Daniela Penna, Matteo Romanato, Gianni Savarro, and with Rhinoceros and Revit by the bachelor students Andrea Giambelli and Antonio Pagliuca from Politecnico di Milano. The original analog and digital maps were provided by the Regione Liguria and Comune di Portovenere archives. In order to support an unbiased and discrete approach of the participants, the aforementioned models were intentionally represented ‘neutral’ by a graphical point of view.

Portovenere 3D models - DWG database copyright: Regione Liguria

As mentioned in the preliminary workshop guidelines, the topic and the place suggested several typologies of projects: ‘large scale’ landscape design oriented projects, ‘urban scale’ aimed at the design of public space, ‘architectural’ with a focus on architectural design and ‘temporary’ exhibition projects. The students had to identify, distinguish and define the relationships between natural and artificial structures, as well as understand the connections between macro and micro structures in order to give consistency to their design process strategies.

Students were asked to complete an auto-evaluation parallel to the teachers’ evaluation. The results validated by the students are very similar. They are located concentrically in the diagram, whereas in the professors’ diagram the structure appears more complex. A possible reflection of this allocation is the students’ overall evaluation in contrast to the professors’ differentiated consideration of independently analysed items. In the different editions these evaluation items could be negotiated with the students. As a side effect of this intensive programme, entrepreneurial and leadership skills have been tested. The majority of participants has availed itself of such skills as well as the capability of collaborating in international groups, a competence that cannot be underestimated in today’s global situation.

Workshop at the Politecnico di Milano

Evaluation of the projects by the students Analysis


Concept Development Groups


Approach and Strategy

Evaluation of the projects by the professors Analysis


Concept Development


Approach and Strategy

structural thinking

coding concepts

models & processes

code & representation

Structural thinking shall be comprehended as a method applicable to architecture on diverse levels and scales. The minimal definition of a structure is a set of relations combining the elements of a system. When we apply the method of structural thinking, we are looking for the relations between the elements of a system, the rules of their combinations. The relations form the structure of the system. The system works, is generated or is preserved by the structure. The notion structure follows up that one of mathematics. Since the 1930s mathematics was developed as a general structural science, based on the notions set, relation, and transformation. This was a crucial basis for an universal applicability of mathematics. There were differenced three mother structures: Order Structures, Algebraic Structures, and Topological Structures. Max Bense, philosopher and science theorist, connected the mathematical thinking in structures with aesthetics. He introduced the notion information of cybernetics, which was formed by Norbert Wiener, to aesthetics and extended the information theoretical approach with the help of semiotics. Bense’s theoretical proposal worked especially on the fields of art, design and architecture, amongst others at Ulm School of Design. Elisabeth Walther described this approach in a clear and coherent way: “Aesthetics, as Bense brings it into play, is the principle of order par excellence. Aesthetics is order, and order on the other hand is describable by mathematics. Therefore aesthetics is important as structuring the world for techniques as well as architecture, literature, etc, for all what will be created. When ever we take something out of the chaos of existing and assemble it new, we need a aesthetic foundation.” There is a new actuality for this approach in the design processes by formulating rules and transferring them in algorithms in parametric descriptions with the help of digital tools. With the topic of this summer school we try to work in a case study in such a way with analogue and digital tools.

While on the one hand it is hard to imagine a non-structural architecture, on the other hand architects rarely formulate their structural concepts explicitly. The rules and patterns, they apply in their design, stay implicit in the drawings or result in the built environment.

More than the design process, ‘pattern recognition’ and ‘pattern hypothesizing’ seemed to be the crucial sub-topics of this first experience. Before using structures, students had to discern ‘which’ structure to use and ‘why’. By a methodological point of view, neither the pure architectural knowledge nor the pure parametric CAD skills can be helpful without appropriate reciprocal connections. This implies a deep understanding of both the architectural and the structural meanings, and a continuous switch from ‘bottom-up’ to ‘top-down’ approaches. Both need to be appropriately ‘mapped’, in the case in point by means of ‘spatial models’. In fact, even if architecture deals with several heterogeneous inputs - physical, economic, social, material - in the end the relationships between the ‘spoken/thought’ and the ‘drawn/built’ models have to be made unambiguous and clarified in a measurable, constructible three-dimensional morphological configuration. By a strictly methodological point of view, many parameters and situations have to be critically interpreted and judiciously classified, then directly transformed in something having a spatial consistency, either related to a spatial pattern or metaphorically transfigured in physical features. This way, the compact and cohering true world undergoes a sort of metamorphic division in fictitious systems of elements and connections, which is the requested information structure, ready to be used as a model of that world, developed by means of translations from non-visual to visual codes. On the other hand, seeing the spatial nature of the architectonic environment, this structure has to be armed as a series of hierarchical three-dimensional networks supporting the aforementioned elements and the connections, already distinguishable by graphic emphasis, in order to geometrically locate them in the virtual space of the design process activity. In this sense, it is largely a problem of the appropriate use of geometric-andgraphic ‘representation’, in order to turn the architectural reality into operative models, and vice versa.

In 1972 NASA sent into deep space an interstellar probe that bore a golden plaque with a pictorial message. On the offchance that the probe were intercepted by intelligent beings, the art historian Ernst Gombrich examined the pioneer plaque with regard to the probability of deciphering its visual code in a detailed commentary parsing the physical and cultural prerequisites for the correct decryption of information. Trying to interpret this interstellar postcard we are confronted with the same, profound semiotic dilemma of code and representation that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe related to as “Man sieht nur was man weiss”. With regard to the summer school’s dedication to ‘geometry, code and design’ this semiotic aspect affects both the analog or digital tools architects are designing with and the resulting representations of projected architectures.

cornelie leopold

References Leopold, Cornelie. Strukturelles Denken als Methode. In: Medina Warmburg, Joaquín; Leopold, Cornelie (ed.). Strukturelle Architektur. Zur Aktualität eines Denkens zwischen Technik und Ästhetik. Bielefeld 2012, pp.9-29. March, Lionel; Steadman, Philip. The Geometry of Environment. Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press, 1974. Walther, Elisabeth. In: Büscher, Barbara et al. Ästhetik als Programm. Max Bense / Daten und Streuungen. Berlin 2004, p.72 (translated by Cornelie Leopold).

benjamin dillenburger

To explore the full capacity of computer and information technology in the design process, its primary elements and rules of combination have to be formulated unambiguously and an abstract model of architecture has to be defined in terms of algorithm. What is usually done intuitively or unexpressed becomes a set of instructions: the code of the concept. Once such a structure is defined, the potential of computational architecture goes far beyond curved surfaces and free-form geometries. This method can not only generate previously inconceivable forms, but can also enable designs that incorporate complex sets of relationships without resorting to reductionism. In using these technologies, the architect no longer designs the geometry, but rather designs the process by which the geometry is generated. The architect forfeits direct control over the form’s appearance, while asserting control over the form’s desired attributes. It is through definition and an abstracted specification of these attributes that design decisions are performed. Once a solution space has been encoded, the architect assumes the role of a nurturer and moderator, recursively applying the processes until the most ideal configuration has evolved. The role of the computer progresses from a drawing aid to an intelligent assistant. Information technologies thus bring design sketches to life: points, lines and planes gain intelligence and work together towards a common goal. Objects are no longer regarded in isolation, but are interlinked and connected to their environment. Depending on the nature of the code, the computer is able to independently vary, evaluate, and select designs. An optimization takes place that ideally is able to embrace the complexity brought about by juxtaposed objectives, rather than having to simplify these. Entire families and landscapes of objects can be generated: singularity turns to plurality. In the best case, the computer devises surprising typologies that go far beyond what one may have conceived of.

luigi cocchiarella

References Cocchiarella, Luigi. La ‘forma’ oltre il ‘codice’: ambiente architettonico, teoria, rappresentazione. Milano: Academia Universa Press, 2009. De Fusco, Renato. Architettura come mass-medium, note per una semiologia architettonica. Roma-Bari: Laterza, 1967. De Kerckhove, Derrick. L’architettura dell’intelligenza. Torino, 2001.

andreas kretzer

In addition to their mutual traditions of spatial representation and visual codes, ‘visual idealization’ can be identified as a significant common ground of architectural representations and picture postcards. Postcards do not reflect but outshine every reality. The signs of daily life which could disturb either the dramatic or bucolic semblance are faded out. The digitally mounted postcard is more related to a dream than to life. Visiting the sights that are incessantly stylized by libraries of travel guides, the original can hardly fulfil the great expectations of a biased mind. In place of the parking lot and the flood of the curious on a guided tour, it is the postcard which provides the ideal vista in magically bewitching brilliance and attends to our perceptional and psychological cravings. Reality is transposed into that poetic state or chimaera which the visitors are wildly determined to chase. The illusion trade in every country skilfully plays upon the same compendium of feelings and the determined wish for ‘reality’, creating moods by rendering things banal, turning them into kitsch or glorifying them. Standardized dreams... the necessary corrections of reality are made in the digital post-production. In this spirit, conceptual storytelling can be an integral part of the structural composition of atmosphere and aura. However or exceptionally because of the Ligurian coast’s traditional reputation as a poets’ inspirational refuge, it is legitimate to evaluate new architectural codes inscribed into the picturesque setting of Portovenere with critical attention to their impact on the ensemble’s impression as a ‘postcard beauty’.

acting on the existent

from mat to matrix

innovative teaching

geometry & organization

informed spaces

Cornelie Leopold studied philosophy and mathematics. She is academic director at University of Kaiserslautern, Faculty of Architecture, Descriptive Geometry. Her research focuses on geometry and design. >>

The design is the art of negotiating realities through the built form. In this concern, Roland Barthes theory about text product and production [Barthes 1973], can be very helpful lighting the typical architecture process, undergoing every well-planned design work. Reading a building or any other built environment, structure implies an act of ‘deconstruction’ in order to recognize the fundamental elements and seize of the design principles to achieve a new level of understanding.

The article of Alison Smithson in the Architectural Design Magazine nº573 of September 1974 “How to recognize and read a mat-building or how certain architecture has developed towards the mat-buildings” is the base of our lecture “From Mat to Matrix”. The lecture tried to show a logical development from flat structures to spatial structures as a continuous process. Bernard Rudofsky’s book “Architecture without Architects” was used as introduction; in this book there are photographs of local vernacular architecture from all over the world, with the claim that architects should learn from premodern architectural forms. Then we structured the discourse in four parts: Mat, Layers, Umbrellas and Matrix. Mat speaks about the use of a mesh to design the plan and the program. The examples started with the Persian carpets, Muslim architecture’s examples as Cordoba’s Mosque, Aldo van Eyck’s Nagele School and the Orphanage of Amsterdam. Layers treated about the same concept but with a three dimensional development. Here the addition follows a horizontal and vertical direction, for example the Unité d’habitation and Le Corbusier’s Venice Hospital, Freie Universität Berlin and the Metabolist Architecture. Umbrellas: the idea was to work with buildings, built with spatial elements as the Price’s London zoo aviary or Frei Otto’s Pink Floyd portable stage and Munich’s Olympia Stadium. Matrix: the projects here were the three-dimensional grids of Konrad Wachsmann and the tetrahedral structures of Graham Bell. We thought that kind of addiction structures could help to reorganize Portovenere. Besides we started to lay down the main criteria and with some questions: Can we understand Portovenere as an alive artificial landscape, a kind of natural park? How do we incorporate new structures to this site? Should the physical intervention change the romantic image of the place? At the end the projects focus in several investigation lines: The water as a new fluid and the connections of promenades as material for the architecture, operating with abstract concepts as capillarity and density balance.

This program has been an interesting experience that applies structural thinking as a method for designing architecture with an innovative approach: from different disciplines (geometry, drawing, computing, landscape), dimensions (S, M, L, XL) and cultures or nationalities. The program has consisted in a Transversal Studio where professors and students from different ages and degrees (undergraduates and postgraduates) have shared different competencies, teaching methods and learning styles. The different patterns for the organization of space, stages have been analysed, looking for variability, parametric and geometric codes, using both analogical and digital tools. We have worked with the horizontal layer of the Landscape. From the design studio background we have lectured them about MAPS and MATS, both also horizontal elements that record an important structural space inside. Students were asked to map tangible and not tangible parameters of the place (tides, smells, winds…), creating a three dimensional matrix or the place´s constraints. The lecture “Mapping” focused in the possibilities of the map not as a descriptive but as an operative tool. In the lecture entitled “From Mat to Matrix” we analysed different mat buildings and more complicated structures.

In most of the architectural projects, matter is constrained to follow pre-imposed ideal geometries and lacks the chance to use its natural grammar in order to unfold its own potential for self-organisation. Yet, novel organisational and performative patterns can be triggered through a bottom-up design process based on spontaneous material explorations. Material experiments can help to initiate the development of innovative construction systems which channel interacting dynamics into integrated performance-oriented set-ups. The physical form-finding techniques offer a method of exploring the self-organising tendencies of structural systems under specific external pressures, be it structural or environmental forces. The findings are triggered by contingencies and the work unfolds as a resonance between the intrinsic material qualities and their emergent performative potentials in exchange with the external influences. The final form emerges as a direct expression of the negotiation between the material characteristics, structural pressures, functional requirements, normative prescriptions, socio-political desires, cultural tendencies and environmental dynamics. The project is no longer the representation of a preconceived idea but the emergence of a system intelligence. It acquires complexity out of the capacity to absorb and process information and it gains consistency out of redundancy. While ensuring organisational functioning, the system redundancy offers unexpected opportunities and occasionally irrupts as pure ornament. The designer steps back as an author to govern a process towards a higher system performance while exploiting opportunities with a creative attitude. Cybernetics help governing such processes. Operative, parameter-based geometries are an instrument for classifying and correlating diverse inputs, allowing for internal feedback and migration across domains and scales. Specific to each project, rigorous and flexible notation methods are gradually built up to manage the project and to eventually govern the manufacturing and assembly. In this sense there is no distinction between the design phase and the eventual materialization. The building process starts with the very first experiments. The computational tools are not used in order to represent the evolving forms, but to describe and manage the underlying parametric relations of systems with the aim of elaborating and transferring data across design stages.

Processes for developing architectural concepts and strategies for the realization of the design, and even the way architecture is perceived, have evolved considerably through the implementation of computation in our profession. Even though these technologies are fascinating for architects and designers, because they incorporate new possibilities and results, it is obvious that the pure materialization of digital designs will not result co-actively in significant products and spaces.

Benjamin Dillenburger is an architect specialized in computational design. He currently works as researcher at the chair for computer aided architectural design, ETH Zürich. >>

gennaro postiglione

Every act of building, by evidence, deals with an existing condition, it must establish a dialogue with, for all the reasons that provoked the act itself. A careful reading of the existing context enables the architect to recognize and underline the elements characterizing the form and the space the new structure will be put in relation with. This process of knowledge shouldn’t try to discover or ‘unveil’ hidden meanings but rather remain a semantic activity that becomes therefore ‘production’. In this way the idea of a ‘moving significance’, immerse in the circumstances, originates and demolishes the basis of the monolithic authenticity that was traditionally accepted. A fuzzier notion focusing on the productive action of the subject and on the productive condition of the object introduces an intermediate space where subject and object are overlapped and where their meanings become plural. Searching to what extent a place is able to host is a fundamental passage in a design process that is not willing to be ‘colony’ of space, but guest [Jabès 1991]: code design and structural architecture can be extremely useful tools for this task and, according to the architect wish, they could be also fruitful design methods. The work as text, the space as place for gesture, the design process as ‘re-writing’ action and the search for hospitality are then the fundamental elements of a praxis that expresses itself through a conscious manipulation of the existing that is continuously transformed as its authenticity is disintegrated. References Barthes, Roland. Le Plaisir du Texte. Paris: Èd. du Seuil, 1973. Jabès, Edmond. Le Livre de l’Hospitalité. Paris: Gullimard, 1991.

carlos asensio-wandosell

References Aicher, Otl. Analogous and Digital. Berlin: Ernst & Sohn, 1994. Rudofsky, Bernard. Architecture without Architects. Albuquerque, 1987. Joedicke, Jürgen. Candilis. Josic. Woods. A decade of architecture and urban design. Stuttgart, 1968. Banham, Reyner. Megastructure, Urban futures of recent past. London, 1976.

mayka garcía-hípola

Students have worked with the macro scale of the landscape and the micro scale of the proposed architecture and were asked to deal in both scales with the same strategy. As in the well-known sentence by Leon Battista Alberti: “The house is like a small city and the city is like a big house”, we insisted in the difference between the concepts of size and scale. The groups were asked not to work with objects but with actions. At the end what is important is not the final form or shape but the structure. Many questions could still be asked. What could happen if the overall strategy of group 1 could be applied to that of the individual umbrella? Or if we could apply the strategy of the piece created by group 2 to that of the landscape? As any finished book, this one leaves opens doors; that will be addressed in the next editions of this program. References García-Hípola, Mayka. Peter Eisenman: Von der Syntax des Gegenstands zur Poetik der Landschaft. In: Medina Warmburg, Joaquín; Leopold, Cornelie (ed.): Strukturelle Architektur. Zur Aktualität eines Denkens zwischen Technik und Ästhetik. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2012, pp.133-148.

aleksandra jaeschke, andrea di stefano

marco hemmerling

The potentials and limits of new methods is often experienced by an experimental approach rather than a predefined strategy. Trial and error as well as an intuitive and arbitrary interpretation are part of this working method. It is absolutely legitimate – if not necessary - to act like this, especially in architecture and design, in order to break new grounds. But after a period of several years of experience with digital design and fabrication technologies it is time for a redefinition of the goals. The materialized object, as a goal by its own is not enough, even if the process and the results are promising and intriguing. Materialization becomes the key-issue of the design process, when we look at the translation from the digital to the physical. But how can we materialize new products and contemporary spaces with the given means and methods? And what are the consequences of an apparently limitless freedom of production against the background of sustainability as well as social and environmental responsibility? Even though informing material through computational techniques offers significant efficiency and affordance for an ecological and economical design that fits the individual needs of a design problem, the intersubjective relation between the object or space and the user as well as the interpersonal acceptance are generally not incorporated in this approach. But shape and material are nothing without meaning. The Swiss sociologist Lucius Burckhardt addressed this problem already in the 1900s when he stated: ‘design is invisible’. The postulate of this apparent paradox aims at the added value of design, which goes beyond our sensual perception. In order to achieve this goal the development from the digital to physical has to be extended towards the integration of intersubjective aspects within a useroriented design approach.

Luigi Cocchiarella is researcher at Politecnico di Milano with focus on the history and techniques of geometry and graphics in connection with the architectural design processes. He teaches in the field of visual representation. >> Andreas Kretzer studied architecture and production design. As an assistant professor, he is teaching digital tools for architects, architectural design and representation at the University of Kaiserslautern. >> Gennaro Postiglione is associate professor of interior architecture at Politecnico di Milano. His research focuses largely on domestic interiors, museography and on the interactions between the two fields. >> Carlos Asensio-Wandosell, DiplArch, is associate professor, Architecture, San Pablo CEU University, Madrid. He got awards for his architectural projects, published in national and international architectural reviews. >> Mayka García-Hípola is associate professor of Architectural Design at San Pablo CEU University, Madrid. Her research focuses on mapping and the interaction between Architecture & LandsPaCes. >> Aleksandra Jaeschke & Andrea Di Stefano (AA Dipl 2005) are partners in Studio AION, Siracusa, Italy. Their professional and research work engages with the complexity of built environments through an integral approach. >> Marco Hemmerling Architect and Professor for Computer Aided Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Detmold. Head of the postgraduate Master Computational Design and Construction. >>

P.V. stretched


approach and strategy


The inspiration for the project was a historic image of Portovenere showing the old seafront. The most remarkable aspect was the close and strict connection between the sea and the wall of massive vertical houses.

Subsequent to the concentration of Portovenere’s viewpoints, the city‘s circulation, ship movements, tides, wind, currents and wildlife, we defined the most important viewpoints, where it is possible to see the whole old town and fortress. The sections from the fortress are used as a focal centre. The city’s circulation showed that the movement of people concentrates mostly on the direct street through the wall of houses as well as the promenade along the beach. Connections between the streets are less, the closer the street is to the sea shore.

The first idea is to remove the promenade and restore the old sea front. By moving the city‘s centre of gravity we stretch it towards the sea and offer new qualities in the La Spezia bay.

The design itself consists of connected sets of mobile and fixed elements. These clusters are flexible and adjust to current environment conditions. Our project is based on analysis of current Portovenere and its environment. To enrich the evaluation process we check the impact of the proposed mega-structure on the city when applying different laws and regulations. The main fields of interest were demographic changes, building proportions and density. To define potential urban settings several growth simulations were made including extreme conditions like significant population change or inhabiting the nearby Isola Palmaria. In the simulations we tested several potential locations and size of the proposed floating structures as well as connection schemes.

Portovenere developed as a tourist destination. All the growth though concentrated near the seafront, weakens the old characteristics with the promenade and poor quality of it. We found Portovenere most important features, the ones determining its uniqueness, obscured by ships and meagre commercial facilities. The research started from finding and naming the rules that formed the characteristic Portovenere urban configuration in its original character. The aim was to sharpen Portovenere’s image, propose a system of growth and analyse the impact of the intervention on the broad surrounding. Referring to this focus of main interests the project’s name developed as P.V. Stretched

On the seaside we observed the movement of ships. The area is mostly used as a harbour or passway for ships. But the movement itself is a constantly coming and going of ships. This movement gave an important hint to our final idea. The wind analysis showed that with the change of daytime also the direction and the speed of the winds are changing. This would have influences on ships they are anchored at the harbour.

A new floating structure of housing tourist facilities is provided. It offers a broad perspective towards both Portovenere and Isola Palmaria. With simulations we checked the changes in the circulation network of the area. The new intervention is strictly connected to the town of Portovenere and the relation between the two is in the centre of interest. Inspired by the contrast between the massive old town and temporary forms of umbrellas the floating structure is designed as a light, temporary, mobile clusters of elements. Several characteristic points were selected. Each point being assigned an ‘attractor’ or a ‘push-away’ force. Parametric software definition allowed different variations for balancing the system.




+ +

+ +






Sebastian Bayo Monjas Zhenyuan Lou Agata Muszynska Theresa Voigt


rules flat terrain = high chance of building location

low location on slope = increased building depth

what if?

section and map no buildings if the slope is too steep

main streets running perpendicular to slope direction

distance to seashore = low percentage of built-up area

a parcel has street access from two sides

proximity to structure’s centroid = more parallel connections

lower location on the slope = smaller width of façades

high location on slope = reduced building height

façade orientation more or less parallel to the seashore

direct neighbour = alignment of walls to the vicinal angle

irregular pattern of façade width 2,1,2,1,1,1,2,2,2,1,1...

tourists are lazy. high position on the hill = less traffic

better view to the seaside = chance of terrace or window


umbrella network

population height allowed structure size

180 000 120 m 80 000 m²

population height allowed structure size

40 000 55 m 12 000 m²

population height allowed structure size

200 000 120 m 100 000 m²

population height allowed structure size

200 000 180 m 6 000 m²

population height allowed structure size

80 000 25 m 100 000 m²

population height allowed structure size

160 000 140 m 6 000 m²



flexible Portovenere


Portovenere is located in a challenging topography where built environment and life are directly related with geographical conditions. Strong slopes dominate the urban fabric all over the city, making them sometimes difficult to reach while providing splendid panoramic views.

pedestrian activity


no activity







a lot of space

no activity

no volume

no functions

volumes of buildings

Stair Trees will act like paths to connect upper and higher grounds, provide shade against sun and protection against wind, contain shops and places to pause. It is possible to crecreation of a volume VON EINEM AUTODESK-SCHULUNGSPRODUKT ERSTELLT of our elements in another part of Porate a similar composition basic concepts and useful functions tovenere by changing the inputs of our parameters. VON EINEM AUTODESK-SCHULUNGSPRODUKT ERSTELLT It is a flexible design, it is flexible Portovenere. 1 vertical connection between higher and lower grounds soft horizontal transitions Elisa Mansutti 2 enjoyment of the sea-shore dimensions of public spaces Christina Bisanz protection from weather conditions Hideaki Takenaga 3 reintegration of adjacent, orphaned urban fabric Mehmet Ozmen


Historical Religious Services



This project’s aim is to (re)animate the entire organism. Starting in the end of the main street along the Old Town’s church to the sea beyond it, structures of ‘stair trees’ are introduced on a grid layer. These objects are changing their form and function according to the topography and special demands and providing structures for the aimed activities to flourish. VON EINEM AUTODESK-SCHULUNGSPRODUKT ERSTELLT VON EINEM AUTODESK-SCHULUNGSPRODUKT ERSTELLT VON EINEM AUTODESK-SCHULUNGSPRODUKT ERSTELLT VON EINEM AUTODESK-SCHULUNGSPRODUKT ERSTELLT


The project is a spatial reflection of the three main concepts, where the Old Town demonstrates a problematic structure for each concept. There is a break in the transition of old and new town where the main street ends suddenly. The connection between higher and lower lands is weak. A long continuous path with no pause or a remote stair is not existing. The majority of the place has connection with the sea however there is a lack of urban furniture to linger. Open land also quite discouraging as visitors are exposed to any weather condition.

a lot of space

to be continued?




The general strategy is to discover the strong and weak features of Portovenere and understand the main motivations of people using the spaces. Making the connections and providing a continuous and rhythmical built form is a primal principle. An organism has different parts with different uses but what makes them an entire system is their strong connection and continuity. The points that let this principle broken are the main points to build the project on. In this respect, the connection between higher and lower grounds in vertical dimension and soft transitions in horizontal dimension is the first concept in the project. The second one is the enjoyment of the sea and protection against unpleasant weather conditions. The connection with the sea is being perceived as two types of interactions where on the one hand there is the physical connection on low grounds, on the other hand there is the visual connection from high grounds. The third concept is the reintegration of the orphaned tissues with the surrounding urban fabric. Considering all those concepts set in a bigger scale, the Old Town provides a good opportunity to execute spatial reflections at detailed scale.


Wind and sun are powerful elements to affect the choices made in public sphere, and inhabitants prefer narrow protected streets. Summarized, Portovenere seems like a city that coexists and is strongly related with nature. People like any activity that connects them to the sea, and choose places with a certain provided protection. Slopes, low integrity places and breaking points in the continuity wait to be tackled.





The presence of the sea is powerful. There, people have the main social activity of swimming, sunbathing, fishing or just looking at the sea. The city fails to act like an entire organism, and it is possible to observe breaks in the continuity, transitions far from being smooth and pieces of land those lost their functional connection with the surrounding urban fabric. There are characteristic elements within the city such as the castle and buildings of the old town, which are levitated and emphasized by the topography. It is a happenstance that there are no cars in the city, which allows for built environment flourishing in accordance with human dimension.


approach and strategy




human factor

topographic grid

parametric scripting solar

street place

structure fram: Steel φ80mm

landscape parameters derived from human scale

solar heat collection panel + stairs: finish by silicon of heat collection + steel pipe processing




structure frame: steel φ80mm

stair trees: shade and solar gain

solar heat collection panel + stairs: finish by silicon of heat collection + steel pipe processing

from water tank

to water tank

visual connection + physical connection ■detail of heat collection panel S=1:10









new streets and places


infrastructural grid

shape and construction

nuda scabra essenziale


approach and strategy


The small town of Portovenere was described by Eugenio Montale as „nuda, scabra ed essenziale“.

Forming a cascade that creates a sort of rhythm and motion which incentivises people to stroll along the western coastline, Portovenere‘s structure is based on lithic terraces. There are three different typologies that can be found in these terraces: public, private and the ones formed by surrounding buildings.

The principal objective was to keep Portovenere‘s rough, bare and natural image working out its advantages of location and impressive landscape as well as providing a structure that would express its identity. The strategy is to subtly change the way people move around the city, drawing attention to the west side of the town. Connecting these points created a pattern that links the new gate of the town throughout the more internal part, towards the beautiful and breathtaking west coast.

These terraces among themselves are all visually connected and create a new structure along the coastline. This stimulates people‘s curiosity and invites them to reach the following terraces to experience new emotions from a higher view point. The terraces are designed with the same enclosure: a corten steel banister which reminds us of the characteristic horizontal slates of the rock on which the town was built. The branch network creates a promenade reaching out towards the new terraces and escorting tourists towards the immensity of the Mediterranean. Following the branch scheme, the corten banister continues throughout the town, envelops and connects the Portovenere.

The town has a special romantic atmosphere - both maritime and rural. A characteristic trait of Portovenere is the difference between its coastlines; while the east is so calm that it gives you the feeling of being on a lake, the west coastline is open and wild with perception of immensity and strength. This perceptible difference between the two coastlines of Portovenere is not only caused by the local nature and the surrounding of the sea. The reason for this divergence is the difference of artificial and natural parts in this small town. We asked an old woman at the information point to describe Portovenere to get a better impression of the town and its special flair. She told us that the town was focused on the front maritime walk where tourism is developed in the two front rows of the town and lazy visitors cluster around the harbour. The castle is less frequently visited, even though it is the part of the town with the most breathtaking views.

Reference “Felsenvorsprung unterhalb vom Portovenere” Friedrich Nerly, 1828 “CD 50000 Handzeichnungen”, The York Project, Berlin 2002

The layered rock formations on the western coastline constitute an important characteristic of the place. The shape of these layered structures is reminiscent of terraces. In some parts these layers built kind of natural terraces. There is a strong connection between natural and artificial parts of the town in this area. Thus deciding to give tourists an appealing reason for promenading on those trails and feel the particular atmosphere exuded by the ‘bay of the poets’. The existing routes and paths make this part of town accessible and form a branch pattern in three stages: the trunk as the main vertical axis, an intermediate branching with spreading plazas and finally the coastline.

The idea is that the town should persist in its idyllic state. Therefore, instead of adding something to it, we designed by subtle subtraction. By removing some of the stones along the coastline, terraces were shaped according to some fixed rules which are represented in the schemes. The natural properties and conditions of each of the chosen areas necessitated a special shape for each terrace. Qualifying their shapes, the different functions of the terraces could be determined. In combination with the already existing terraces a new structure originates along the coastline and offers both tourists and locals the chance to perceive and experience Portovenere from a different viewpoint.

The ribbon changes its height as well as the shape depending on how far away someone is from the new terraces. So in the first zone it is just a guiding thread of Ariadne towards the western coastline. In the second zone it would grow in height becoming an indication, while in the third zone, as a banister, it will finally be a part of the terraces. But it still is nuda, scabra ed essenziale... Gadea Aguado Sierra Martina Fusco Lisa Meissner Cao Yonghe


concentration of activity

residential area

the other face

analysis city on the rock

old terraces

new terraces

visual connections



natural - cultural

direct accesses


guiding ribbon

floating skyline


approach and strategy


The project is focused on the design process of a specific case study - Portovenere on the Ligurian coast which is a typical example of Italian built landscape and has specific morphological identity. The feature of the area is that the city is an architectural ecosystem, where the combination of water, soil, sky, buildings and traditions produces complex and highly significant spatial configuration. The work is focused on the old city centre with its large, urban and architectural structures. There are many restrictions and opportunities at different dimensional scales.

It is essential to not only draw conclusions based on personal experiences, but to understand what residents feel about the city, how they live and what the main problems emerging from everyday life are. After interviews with residents of different age, we did a SWOT analysis: Strength is the historical heritage of the city. Weaknesses are qualities of the connections between the old city and the promenade and the opportunity to work during the non-tourist season from November to March. Opportunity of the area is re-qualification. Threat is the shrinkage of the city. As the main function was fortification we can clearly see old rules of shaping place. Now the function has gone and we need to think how to shape the environment with the realtime data, how to re-qualify the city and in the same time to save the existing structure. Furthermore, the city is ‘locked in a place’ which shows limited alternatives for physical design and opportunity to add new functions. Standards have become disconnected from the original rationale of their existence. They are the functional and physical unit of planning legacy, placed from one generation to the next. If regulations are too inflexible to allow for innovation, then perhaps we must work to see how they can be changed.

There’s an essential need for new functions to make the city work all year long. The traditional way of life that has existed for a thousand years in Portovenere is very important and continues to play an important socioeconomic role in the life of the community.

The “floating skyline” is inspired by the reflection of the city in the water. It is a translation of the old language into a new one. What is the tool and technique to transfer our idea onto the water? To save the atmosphere of the city, some details and materials from the old city are modified with regard to the new needs.

It is not only important to add new functions. A harmonious interaction of people and nature has to be created. The development of fish tourism and fishing activities may be perceived as an employment diversification opportunity aiming to help to regenerate coastal communities. It seems to be a good opportunity to answer these needs, to attract people and to offer workplaces all year long.

The list of necessary functions has been done by taking the level of importance into account: which functions are essential and which are just additional to make a space more livable and comfortable? These functions have to be combined, according to the demand of location and to the need to have natural or artificial light. In terms of priority, the fishing farm is the first element of the structure to be implemented.

Moreover, fish breeding can include some additional functions connected not only to the main activity but to different kind of public spaces and activities. (Job opportunities, introduction to the traditions of fishing, provision of information of the marine environment and coastal biodiversity, fish-tourism). Inshore cities are always path-dependent. Therefore, it is important to have a promenade along the coast. Since it is already existent, we want to re-qualify and use it as a connection between the old and new town.

Once it will start its activity, it will create resources for additional modules such as public space, urban matrix, street, pier etc. As floating systems with varying heights, these modules are applied to create the structure and can be used for possible future extensions of the city.

The port area and the promenade have a special presence even if they lack any acclaimed historical value. Portovenere is identified with its panoramic view of the seafront’s high buildings standing shoulder to shoulder, for the most part. The goals of this project are to read the structure of the city, to understand architectural environment, to re-qualify the area and at the same time to protect the historical value of the area.

The concept: new standards and rules of shaping place What is usable? Iconic structure. Where? On the water.

Aleksandar Lalovic Carla López Viktoria Schabert Olga Shishoval



result destroy



promenade new way


step 1

step 2

step 5

step 6

year 1

year 5

section 1

section 2

visual impairment distribution of functions and concept development


1 public space stamp variations

model photographs

analysis of the new profile in sections and sketches


reflection and composition

2 street 3 pier 4 existing urban matrix 5 public space | program 6 public space | promenade access 7 street | promenade access and extension

reflection of Portovenere‘s old town

rhythm of the seafront façade sequence

how it works

maximum angular offset 5°

year 10

dynamic panoramic


approach and strategy


In addition to the traditional postcard picture of Portovenere’s elevations and colours, this town is very dynamic: the movements of people, strolling through the old town, shape the dynamic fluidity of the city creating a phenomenon of capillarity passing through some strong points of tension where the density of the people is the highest.

The different flows of people are directed by the topography of Portovenere peninsula, following the lines of height leading up to the castle and the coastline on a parallel course. It can be assumed that there are two major routes through the city: one on the lower coastline leading towards the church on the western end of Portovenere and the other one starting as well at the city entrance in the east and leading up to the castle on the ridge. Both of these routes are severed by the western coast, which is in fact a steep cliff. The interruption of these ways causes the occurrence of points of high density of people and movement, because the major routes are dead ends. To resolve these density issues is the main goal of the project.

The Capillarity Movement is the basic concept of the project. The definition of capillarity is a phenomenon created when a liquid touches a solid material resulting to points of tension an erosion. Translating this concept to the scale of Portovenere the people stand for the liquid, which is flowing through the solid represented by the city and its buildings. We want to develop more points of tension in the city and change the actual movement flows by adding a new fluidity line. This will create a dynamism of circular movement in the city through the creation of a new promenade with transitional places. The visual approach will create new angles for panoramic views from the main promenade route. Our promenade will keep the labyrinth atmosphere of the city with different routes to access different activities, while keeping the vision of the natural and touristic landscape. The material chosen is red concrete, referring to the colours of the natural landscape soil, the bricks of the town and to the fusion of the existing elements in the city: stone, sand and water. Beyond this connection, it will always be obvious that the structure is a man-made intervention.

The promenade will adapt to a selected rhythm considering the changing weather conditions and seasons. In order to locate the points where the different structures are applied, the promenade follows existing vertical and horizontal rhythms and the colours of the traditional Portovenere elevation.

The wind and weather conditions are a characteristic trait of Portovenere. Therefore, not every area along the coastline is usable. One line of opportunity along the western coast of the city could be identified. The different existing streets of the city meet in that coast line, the horizontal boundary limit of the city, in some fusion points. This coastline will complete the triangular need of connections between the three angles: the main piazza, the church and the castle creating a circular mechanism around the city.

‘Città a Colori’ Via Capellini mare, Portovenere ‘Città a Colori’ Calata Doria, Portovenere Polychromatic expansion plan by Caparol, 2008

Changing its shape becoming roofs for the rain or sun, walls for the wind, with different forms depending on the stone wall, the promenade is reacting to its surrounding. In order to arise in the landscape different kinds of structures need to be developed. The different activities connect the promenade with other points of the town, making new spaces to rest and to take a drink, to enjoy with the children in water playgrounds or toy libraries or taking a walk into the different market. In this way, Portovenere will be a place for everyone, at every time. Cristina Izcara Autillo Graciela Fernández Marín Lukas Jachmann Hanane Joukhadar

correspondence of shelter sequence and Portovenere elevations

new dynamics

tension points dynamics

cold day

hot day changing dynamics

terraces and opportunity places

landscape sections

range of different activities for varying weather conditions resting spaces rainy day

weather protection topographical adaptation toy library markets

chill out new activities

water playground

windy day


between the strata


approach and strategy


Portovenere is a structure composed of two main substructures, associated not only to the uses, but also to very different dynamics within them.

The project is taking advantage of the already existing ‘amphitheatre’ character of the cliff. A vertical development of certain uses, connected to the views, the slope, and to Lord Byron’s influence and role in not only Portovenere, but the whole Italian area will be designed.

From the study of the strata, we apply a rule that gives us the potential carving, depending on the thickness of it. The length carved in section, is 150% of the thickness of the strata immediately above. This rule is repeated until the desired floor surface is reached.

Depending on all the above, the project results in the most efficient structure possible. This is, the best combination of the given and the needed, in order for it to work as planned.

The intervention is about inhabiting the spaces in between the strata. These elements are already used, expanding both in horizontal and vertical dimensions. The application of the voids, the in-between, in order to experience what this negative space has to offer, is a subtractive process: carving from the existent. In this process, the analysis of the order, rules and possibilities of the stratified material element was the starting point.

Diagramming the input, we allocated the optimal surfaces that are required for the uses that we want to apply. These are developed with diagrams in plan, section, and an approximate number of people. There is also a series of ideal environmental conditions attached to each use.

One would be the life area, with a clear straightforwardness, easy understanding of the views, comfortable use, and unrelated to the fortress walls. A second, spiritual area intervenes: it is an axis of the religious, the openness, and the sinuosity of paths and views. Here, the passing of time translates into erosion, and fluidity between patterns. Since it is strictly limited to the fortress wall, the views throughout the challenging paths are framed, and respond to many purposes.

The enjoyment of this landscape has been modified: now it is possible not only to see it, but also to live in it. Other senses arise, while new light and shadow games are produced in the general scope. The former access and use is maintained, but new activities complement the existing. Encouraging visits of both tourists and locals, more artistic or conceptual fields are promoted. An impulse to experience the B-side of Portovenere. Egor Koch Marian Martínez Blanco Luca Pavarin Carlota Sáenz de Tejada

veni, vidi, intellexi


approach and strategy


Our proposal for Portovenere is the combination of two major concepts. First, to connect the main focal points in town through a new network and second to regenerate an existing stratus in town consisting of the building rooftops.

Understanding the relations of the different parameters was an important prerequisite for the creation of a new catalogue of dependent elements that will form the new network of Portovenere.

A specific solution for the linking area between the seafront buildings, Lord Byron‘s grotto and the defensive tower in the south of the municipality was developed by parameterizing the aforementioned data.

The analysis of different parameters such as colour rhythm, circulation densities, height difference, nodal identification, viewpoint significance etc allowed the obtaining of important data to establish the pattern for the new promenade running all the way through the town of Portovenere. An important in the analysis was a kinetic, morphing section, which we also took into account to develop a strategy for the new project.

Aspects such as the gradient between two points, their visual relation, their separation or their use conditioned the solution given for every case. The outcome of this process is the establishment of a series of constructions that are affected by their environment and interact with it in return. Bridges, sight-seeing platforms or underground tunnels are possible results depending on the processing procedure.

A bridge structure is created in which the supporting elements, the selection of the optimum path and the circulation densities are the result of interpreting the data obtained in the previous analysis. The result is a pedestrian track, which communicates the lower level of the grotto and that of the rooftops. The structure is composed by repeated elements which are recurrent through space depending on lateral permeability factors, while these are made out of rusty steel to match the style and mood of the existing piazza.

The final solution given to Portovenere combines an intervention at a macro-scale with the specifics of a microstructural project. The adoption of different variables and parameters in the process allowed us to give the optimal solution in each case, and apply the new algorithm to solve each situation presented. The new project will add a new stratus to the existing communication network, as well as provide the citizens with a renewed footpath and a regenerated roofing which will see its regular use transformed. Altogether it will reactivate the circulation trends in town, and create a new of ‚experiencing‘ (intellexi) Portovenere. Our intervention also includes the southern zone of the peninsula. It engulfs the non-built zone starting where the front row of buildings end, and concludes with the church of St. Pietro. The biggest intervention on this area are two pedestrian bridges, front one crossing the existing walking path, reaching the roofs of the houses, and back one – behind the wall on the northwest. The front bridge is floating above the city, providing different perspectives on well-known routes. On the ground level, its supports look like door-frames, framing the views, symbolizing the entrances and directing routes. The bridge behind is supported by the city walls, and it provides a new route above the ridge, directing the views of the users on the vast space beneath them. Mario Arca Jaudenes Alfredo Carrato Gómez Nikola Marincic Katharina Oertel

typological nodes significant building


pedestrian walkway

connecting with nature historical/touristic material steel colour type bright and shiny rhythm repetitive elements

blue-blue connection

blue covered path red gateway / sculpture yellow platform promenade purple stone path



connecting with nature communication material steel and textile colour type matte rhythm alternating

red-purple connection

blue gateway / scultpture red textile and paint yellow landart intervention purple steel framing



connecting with nature important viewpoints material lights and mirrors colour type not applicable rhythm repetitive elements

yellow-red connection

blue platform promenade red landart intervention yellow light / protection purple graffiti

purple connecting with

nature slopy surfaces >10% material paint and stone colour type bright colours rhythm not applicable

purple-yellow connection

blue red yellow purple

stone path steel framing graffiti steel and textile

in-creasing boundaries


approach and strategy


Comparing an old photo of Portovenere with a current one, there is a noticeable change between the charismatic configuration of the past and the present structure. In both pictures the strong identity of the city like a wall fortification separating the land and the sea forms a significant regulative element. But it seems like this peculiarity is now lost, and instead of the houses grounding directly in the sea with rocky interspersions as it has been in the past, we are currently facing a promenade on the seafront.

The new promenade will be a human element in the sea. Therefore, the relation between these two forces is important. The analysis is divided in two fields: the social and the natural conformation of sight. The social analysis is aimed to synthesize the ways how people are operating and interacting with these elements, which kind of functions are going to be performed and also which activities are going to be added. Eventually, this provides us with a clear diagram to determine the qualities of the spaces and the relations between them.

This project follows those first impressions of the town. By introducing an intervention with the removal of the existing promenade and its replacement with a detached one, this is an attempt to manifestly declare a distance to the original tissue of Portovenere.

The natural environment has been studied to understand the phenomena that govern the project area: the change of climates, the slopes of the ground and the preponderance of the winds during different seasons.

The beginning and the end of the first path are defined in accordance with social criteria as well as the analysis of viewpoints: the position of the theatre in a distance of sixty meters from the coast is the closest point from which to enjoy the castle view, St. Pietro’s church and Portovenere’s curtain of coloured façades. Another viewpoint allows observers to perceive the famous postcard image of Portovenere. The second path is based on secondary functions which were formerly provided by the promenade: restaurants, cafés and shops are located here. Starting from a linear function, the subsequent deformation developed alongside the informations that the sights introduced.

The result is a deformed curve that can satisfy all the requirements and conditions we had put in the project. Sectional variations have introduced the theme of structure and also an idea of finding a flexible structure that could be arranged for the whole project. Thus, an Origami-based pattern was chosen to produce a regular and rigid form that is capable of transformation corresponding to the deformation of guidelines. This different kind of scalable folding allows the same form to create different spaces and situations: for instance, a theatre becoming a path and vice-versa.

Reference Quaini Massimo, Weber Susanna, “Il golfo dei poeti”. Immagini dagli archivi Alinari, Fratelli Alinari, Firenze 1996

Jorge Arroyo Calvente Enrico Cigolotti Pablo Sande Alonso Alexandra Theresa Schmitt

sociological analysis

environmental analysis

project development

the path in the sea

sketch variations for pathways and hot spots

sectional characteristics of vessels

combination of analytic data

wind and waves diagram

origami plan

construction of the path

the new promenade


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.