Page 1


Davide Masserini

Cover: A Tokyo Blob, Olympic site 2020 2


01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10. 11. 12. 13.

A Tokyo Blob § Joint studio Tsinghua - Princeton, Beijing - Princeton Songzhuang Rehab § Design studio Tsinghua University, Beijing Sardinian Ghost towns § Town planning design Workshop, Milan Syria § 24h Competition, if-ideas forward Design against smog § Workshop at Tongji University, Shanghai Moon § 24h Competition, if-ideas forward Rethinking of the Politecnico campus § Thematic Studio, Milan Farm condo § AWR Competition Kanari Island § Internship at officeU67, Oslo SQM, the quantified home § Intership at officeU67, Oslo Venice Biennale § Assistant of officeU67 Urban farming in Cremona § Design Studio, Milan Acknowledgments



01. A Tokyo Blob

Tokyo is not a beginner on hosting worldwide events such as the Olympic Games. This area that congregates other sports facilities is where the new Olympic National Stadium is going to be built. From a foreback look, this site is very well connected with main stations such as Shinjuku to the northwest hand side and Shibuja to the southwest as two main activity points of the city. Another main link in this city are the vast green areas or parks. As a traditional reminiscence of Shinto, nature is to be worshiped in japanese culture and it lives hand to hand with the beast that Tokyo has become in the past few years. This kind of relationship is cherished by the population and deserves some attention. For the same reason, we have analysed the main park areas that surround our site and have tried to understand the di erence of people’s movement in them. Tokyo has a vertical over ground level-horizontal underground movement, whereas these areas suggest more of a quiet and improvised type of promenade. § Physarum Polycephalum, the many-headed, slime mould, is a member of the Physaridae family of slime moulds. The growing plasmodium extends outwards as it for- ages for nutrients, streaming forwards with a charac- teristic pulsatile progression. The net rate of forward movement is up to 1cm/h. The oscillatory activity results in a to-and-fro trans- port of protoplasm within the plasmodium, known as shuttle streaming, at a velocity of up to 1.3 mm/s and protoplasm is transported to the leading edge of the growth front. When nutrient sources are placed within a large plas- modium the organism adapts its morphology via adaptation of the tube network to form effcient paths between the nutrient sources, dependent on the distribution and size of the nutrients.

Overleaf: Tokyo urban pattern & view of the Tokyo skyline infected by the mold 5

Above: detailed axonometry of Tokyo’s verticality & Overleaf: exploded isometry of the Olympic site 6


Above: generative form-finding process & Overleaf: expansion overview 8


Above: image post-production and graffiti addition 10

02. Songzhuang rehab

Downtown Songzhuang is located 32 km from downtown Beijing, it’s a 57 minutes ride by car or a 1h and 30 minutes ride by public transportation. The village of Songzhuang is also divided into two parts by the main street leading to downton Tongzhou. The connection zone is charachterised by a strong division between the north and the south ends, due to the presence of an infrastructure spine linking downton Tongzhou to the nearby cities. The intervention would create the vertical connection, i.e. the BRT that would allow a connection between Tongzhou new city and the municipality of Songzhuang. The intersection of the two spines, the vertical one connecting Tongzhou new city and Songzhoung art village and the horizontal one connecting downtonw Beijing to the nearby eastern municipalities would invevitably create an intesection. This intersection would become the new gateway to Songzhoung, the so called TOD is where people coming from East and West and people coming from North and South will be able to get off their means of transportation and spread throughout Songzhunang village. § The Venice Biennale is an art organisation based in Venice, and also the original and principal exhibition it organises. Similarly to the goal set in Venice, Songzhuang would act as a means of connection between the local artists and the world market. Through interventions of renovation and enhancement the village would become a cultural node, becoming an international site of cultural exchanges. In addition to the transformation of the pre-existing industrial sites into new galleries and exhibition spaces, a series of pavilions would be spread along the entirety of the village, comparably to the countries’ pavillions that can be found in Venice.


Above: perspective view of Songzhuang, Beijing 12

Above: masterplan of Songzhuang, Beijing 13

Above: axonometric view of Songzhuang & Overleaf: construuction taxonomy 14

Building typology 1

Building typology 2

Building typology 3

Floor area: 3300 sqm Height: 1 flr

Floor area: 11,800 sqm Height: 1 flr

Floor area: 4880 sqm Height: 4 flr

Building typology 4

Building typology 5

Building typology 6

Floor area: 22,800 sqm Height: 6 flr

Floor area: 38,400 sqm Height: 7 flr

Floor area: 14,240 sqm Height: 2 flr

Building typology 7

Building typology 8

Building typology 9

Floor area: 26,440 sqm Height: 4 flr

Floor area: 14,000 sqm Height: 2 flr

Floor area: 3690 sqm Height: 3 flr

Building typology 1

Building typology 2

Building typology 3

Floor area: 22,700 sqm Height: 3 flr

Floor area: 6600 sqm Height: 2 flr

Floor area: 9400 sqm Height: 2 flr

Building typology 4

Building typology 5

Floor area: 22,750 sqm Height: 7 flr

Floor area: 2880 sqm Height: 3 flr

Building typology 7 Floor area: 21,600 sqm Height: 6 flr

Building typology 8 Floor area: 1830 sqm Height: 2 flr


Building typology 6 Floor area: 6800 sqm Height: 6 flr

Building typology 9 Floor area: 1260 sqm Height: 1 flr

Above: matersplan of Masua, Sardinia 16

03. Sardinian Ghost towns

The aim of our project is the inversion of the current situation in the Iglesiente area, wherever this inversion may lead to. Shrinking phenomenon is leaving the region and its heritage in an undefined state concerning two main points: abandonment and pollution. Undefinition is killing the Iglesiente. The project is divided in two main phases. A first phase, starting in 2017, will provide the Short-term intervention: water, soil and air pollution will be treated. In this time span a Landmark will be built: a linear megastructure resting on the natural landscape and crossing different habitats, making the most of this territorial richness. A multifunctional, permeable, aggregative compound will allow for researching on environmental issues and actively participate on their remediation, offering an array of diversified services to the locals – landscape contemplation promenade, didactic exhibition, cultural open air events in dialogue with the pre-existences – to raise awareness on the heritage of the area and on the problems intrinsic to it. These socio-cultural initiatives will be counterbalanced by on-site purification through a set of techniques selected specifically for each environment. Once the first-term intervention is completed, the Layer Zero is reached: pollution is not expunged, but an acceptable level is reached. From the Layer Zero onwards the second phase will start and the Long-term intervention will be put into effects aiming at the complete neutering of pollution. This goal will be reached in three possible Scenarios depending on the interest raised in society. No human presence will lead to a Natural Environment, hybrid human and natural presence will lead to a Biotope reserve and a strictly humanized context will lead to a Built Environment scenario. All three visions are analysed in time windows to follow their step-by-step development and, most of all, their expansion in the territory.



Above: view of the Masua landscape 19


Above: section of Masua and of the Iglesiente province 21


Above: floor plan 23

Above: view of DurĂ da, Masua & Overleaf: site plan evolution



Above: sections of DurĂ da 26

Above: overall view of DurĂ da 27

Above: Milan city plan and location of the refugee towers 28

04. Syria

Living conditions in Syria deteriorated drastically over the last decade; the Syrian population was trapped between the regime, rebel groups and religious extremists. One third of the Syrians have been displaced within Syria, while over 4 millions have been forced to flee their homes. Citizens decided to ask for assistance in Europe, but the system was not prepared to host such a wave of fugitives. As an answer to these events, the Earthian Home has been designed as a mixeduse tower, centre for accommodation of refugees. Following the migration route, a strategic site has been identified; the project is settled at the very core of Europe, in Milan, one of the most important economic cities of Italy. People coming from the East will be directly received in the Italian urban context, where they can get medical support and assistance in reintegrating into the labour market and society. The 52-storey tower is located in one of the failed into disuse rail yards of Milan, creating a dichotomy between the horizontality of the metropolis and the verticality of the building. This transition is further enhanced by the presence of the park, an element combining the outside and the inside; thus the Earthian Home acts as a reactivator of those areas which were once used, but have been forgotten for years. The tower is meant to be a module of renewal of the urban tissue. The tower is characterized by residential spaces and a sequence of different functions that can furnish the immigrants with the first assistance, a infirmary, a refectory, an underground storage for basic necessities, gardens, a kindergarten and leisure spaces. All the levels look at the public courtyard, which is the means the natural ventilation is provided through.



Above: view of Milan and the refugee tower 31

Overleaf: isometry of the refugee tower and exploded view 32


Above: maquette of the Lujiazui financial district 34

05. Design against smog

China has been suffering from smog as a result of industrial ambitions and vehicle emissions over several decades. With a lack of policy implementation and enforcement, we as designers are faced with the task of designing a brighter future. After extensive analysis of current conditions, our team has taken an approach using a responsive system of growing networks and materiality to combat smog. The Vine targets the leading sources of air pollution in this district: car and factory emissions. This gentle intervention will support a change in lifestyle in order to reduce car use by creating a pedestrian and bike friendly system. The modular infrastructure can be prefabricated for easy and adaptable construction. It utilizes TiO2, a material that breaks down harmful particles that can use concrete or paint as a host for flexible application. This design also aims to maximize thermal comfort and ventilation throughout the Lujiazui District to provide locals and tourists alike an enjoyable environment. As Shanghai continues to develop in the future, this network can extend throughout the city to adapt to various needs and conditions. The Vine provides a long term, holistic solution that is able to grow with its people. By implementing this system, the future of Shanghai can look forward to healthy public spaces, greater connectivity, and a blue, smog-free sky.


Above: detailed modular combinations of the mid-air pathway & Overleaf: first,second third layer of the pathway 36


Above: first sample of modular combination of the mid-air pathway 38

Above: second sample of modular combination of the mid-air pathway 39

Above: District10 Moonbase masterplan 40

06. Moon

DISCTRICT10 is a moon station located in MARE TRANQUILLITATIS, though being only the first settlement, since its main feature is the ability to be extended in all directions, spreading on the surface of the moon without any restrictions, thanks to its modularity. The complex is made up of 4 geodesic domes (that can be further increased to allow more functions), surrounded by modular cylinders. Each cylinder has a 1.5 meters - radius and a 1.5 meters - depth. By a system of alluminum plates these cylinders can be anchored to each other, thus creating infinite possibilities of spaces. Indeed all around the domes we found different functions, born by attaching the appropriate cylinder. All the modules created in these way present a hidden space, 50 cm high, below the flooring, in which the equipment responsible for stabilizing the pressure, gravity, creating breathable air and giving electricity is located. What allows DISTRICT10 to be built out of such small modules is the innovative materials that insulate all the structures: the com- posite AEROGEL is an extremely lightweight material whose density is even lower than air (1000 g/m3 compared to 1200 g/m3 of the air) and whose thermal conductivity is the lowest ever registered by mankind (0.03 W/mK). Thanks to this specifics the construction becomes really easier to be assembled, indeed the modules (taking into account only the outer surface, with no metal anchoring system and no flooring) will weigh ONLY 3kg, thus allowing a faster construction and being able to be transported by an individual only. The spaces inside the moon base have been concevied focusing on the needs for space-travellers and according to scientific purposes: the fitness room helps to preseve physical conditions of the occupants, the hydroponic forest is a test field to check how life grows on a soil different from the one of the Earth, the laboratory is the area dedicated to research and analysis, infirmary is an essential element, as well as the mission control room is, and the most important spaces are the several AIRLOCK rooms, that allow the occupants to exit the complex, stabilizing the difference of the pressure between the inside and the outside environments.



Above: view of the District10



07. Rethinking of the Politecnico campus

SymbioPOLI is a project which stems from an in-depth research into the history of the Politecnico di Milano, its construction methods, its users and its strengths as well as weaknesses. In the past, new buildings were quite literally constructed in available empty spaces, often neglecting to fully relate to the Polictecnico’s existing architecture. This pattern of “additive building” led to a division between the architecture and engineering campuses, an obstacle our project looks to overcome. Through an identification of student and faculty needs, we began choosing which functions were deemed vital. From there, we located these needs amongst different areas of the Politecnico, according to access, traffic flow and points of interaction. Wanting to improve the concept of additive building, we looked to parasitic architecture as a solution, later developing the symbiotic concept. This idea revolves around the expansion of existing structures, in both horizontal and vertical directions. In this way, we are able to implement new functions and forms,while maintaining strong ties to the existing organisation and hierarchy of spaces.

Overleaf: section of the Politecnico of Milan campus 45



Previous pages, from left to right: exploded diagram of the library’s extension, exploded view of the pathway intervention 48

Overleaf & Above: interior views of the pathway 49

Above: perspective view of the Nemoris 50

08. Farm Condo

The Nemoris is a project which seeks to combine food, energy and waste in order to create a habitable and comfortable living environment. With the overall space divided primarily amongst residential, commercial and green spaces, this structure takes advantage of the materials used in order to properly harness the available energy surrounding it. There is an emphasis on the idea of producing what the building’s users need - whether it be food, shelter, warmth or ventilation. By being able to sufficiently sustain itself, the Nemoris can rely on passive solar and wind energy to ensure ideal living conditions and reduce heating and cooling costs. The injection of green space is not only due to the Nemoris’ proximity to the High Line, but also to actively circulate fresh air. It also helps to maintain cool temperatures during hotter months. This maintenance of ventilation is important in a city where pollution and dust are present. The Japanese inspired internal courtyards provide a pause between the commercial side and the residential side, creating a clear division between the two. The courtyard is a representation of the line between the public and private realms within the Nemoris. The Nemoris primarily uses glass and cement to create a secure structure, reaching a total height of 9 floors. Through a properly insulated glass encasing, there is sufficient light and heat entering the building - making it an ideal environment for the hydroponic and aquaponic systems inside. The entire structure uses a wooden brise soleil, a feature which not only provides enough shade to the users inside but also reduces the need for artificial cooling. This allows the building to work as a system: plants are organised according to the amount of sunlight they require. As the brise soleil is more dense towards the upper floors, crops at lower floors will be exposed to more direct sunlight (this may include food such as tomatoes, cucumbers and beans). Following this pattern, the top floors may include goods such as leafy vegetables as they can tolerate more shade. Additionally, the brise soleil can be fitted with photovoltaic cells in order to generate a percentage of the building’s required energy supply.



Overleaf: exploded diagram & Above: perspective front view 53

Above: masterplan of the Kanari Island 54

09. Kanari island Trainee

The Piraeus and the city of Athens together form a complex metropolitan area in which the presence of an archipelago of spaces emerges clearly from the dense low-rise fabrics’ layer of the houses. The islands of this archipelago could be considered the eminent mountains, hills, sporadic open spaces, thick industrial buffers and a myriad of gardens. In a way, here the Cyclades are mirrored to form a reverse: where the docking to one of those “islands” often means to get a breath. “Kanari Island” and “Ietionian Gate” are two twin islands placed next to the Piraeus Port, even if not directly connected with the sea and not even to each other, still their opposite topography makes the docking to them two completely different experiences. The relationship between these two islands is the framework in which this proposal has to be collocated. Both for the visitors and for the residents, the “Kanari Island” has a central role due to its position: it is a contemporary urban gate for the city. Its main content is the Archeological Thematic Museum of Piraeus. The proposal of intervention within the existing building could be sum up in two main steps that interest the changing of the volume, without changing its scale in relation with the urban fabric, but building a new landmark. The first is splitting in two the slab of the pilotis, through the east-west axis creating a “deck” connected directly to the street level: a mezzanine for the ground floor, connected in section through ramps and stairs to the pilotis. This allows the Museum to keep the visual connection towards the south with having also a physical connection towards the north in its most open level. The second is an enclosed “Pteroma” of 6,5 m height added to the two last storeys, giving the exhibition inside the best view and the highest visibility. The internal system of vertical connections lies in diagonal within the three cores, that together with the use of corridors allow each storey a specific and clear distribution diagram. When it comes to the public space, the decision to design the parking building towards the north defines an urban edge for the Kanari Island, and gives an advantage in shaping the public space. Its design comprehends three gradients of use: a multi-purpose open space, an archeological open-air showcase and a natural buffer. Three different perceptions to the museum from the outside, three connections between the Kanari Island and the Ietionian Gate.



Overleaf & Above: views of the Archeological museum 57

Above: microevent/microenvironment, Superstudio 58

10. SQM, the quantified home Trainee

The way we live is rapidly changing under pressure from multiple forces – financial, environmental, technological, geopolitical. What we used to call home may not even exist anymore, having transmuted into a financial commodity of which the square meter is the basic unit. Yet, domesticity and the domestic space ceased long ago to be present in the architectural agenda. SQM, produced for the 2014 Biennale Interieur in Kortrijk, Belgium, charts the scale of this change using data, fiction, and a critical selection of homes and their interiors – from Osama bin Laden’s compound to apartment living in the age of Airbnb.


Above: basement extension, Alain Bouvier Associates, Knightsbridge, London 60

Above: family home, Emaar Properties, Emirates Hills, Dubai 61

Above: isometric view of the Arsenale at the Venice Biennale with the project Effimero 62

11. 14th Venice Biennale Trainee

U67 did the art direction and exhibition design of the installation for the Léa-Catherine Szacka’s research project “Effimero: Or the Postmodern Italian Condition” presented within the section Monditalia, on display at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. The installation has been designed to suggest ideas of theatricality and lightness associated with collective if not hedonistic ephemeral spatial experiences that, by reinvesting historical ruins, industrial and proto-industrial buildings, or entire city centres, marked Italy’s postmodern condition. It is a monumental device, that aims to connect the research project to the scale of the Arsenale. The lower part of the installation forms a physical archive. It consists of a series of five rows, of three drawers each, displaying a collection of research material on the various case studies (original drawings and photographs mixed with pages from the leftist newspaper l’Unità and a series of quotes extracted from interviews or documentary films). Each row of drawers explains synoptically one of the case studies: thus architectural and social experience are explained using historical documents. The volume of the archive (1,2 x 3,5 x 1,1 m) has a section made of five stairs with drawers opening in both directions. It allows people to interact with the installation, and avoids creating a backside. The displaying mode also suggests the ephemeral nature of the work under study i.e. only documents endured. Going upward with the eyes, visitors discover a network of 1,3 kilometres of nylon thread hung on a white steel structure made of 25 mm of section. This elaborate temporary structure, with very clear geometry, creates a network of 1850 nodes, each marked by a steel cylinder bolt. As a theatrical reminder of ephemeral projects such as the cinema screenings at Basilica di Massenzio, a multitude of 1000 seated man in scale 1:87 inhabit the structure. Men, women, and children, all with different backgrounds, seating together on the bolts. The white structure also frames and encloses the Arsenale’s column that is highlighted by the change of scale produced by the proximity to the 1:87 men.






Above: pencil drawing 66

12. Urban farming in Cremona

Nowadays, sustainable thinking and design have become the most discussed topic mainly because it means to design and live resposibly and well. The aim is to avoid the impact of the human being on the natural environment, from deforestation to land misuse, from water waste to airpolution. The project is based on four strategies: 1. integration between architecture and natural forces:wind and water, 2. marketoriented approach in obtaining higher yields thanks to hydroponic and acquaponic cultivation, 3. sustainable thinking by producing energy from biogass, 4. environmentally and socially concious design in terms of site location and water use. The project is located in Tencara site,close to Cremona (at East) and Pizzighettone (at North-West), in Lombardy. The site covers a surface of 10’000 sqm. In order to achieve our objectives we use several sustainable technologies: hydroponics, acquaponics, and biogas. By combining them, we can obtain the best results in terms of crop and fish production, satisfying the market demand. The biogas energy is sufficient for the family needs and also for the hydroponic and aquaponic requirements. Hydroponics, which is a soilless cultivation, enables us to grow crops which otherwise couldn’t live in the cold weather and soil that we have in Lombardy during winter.This is one of the reasons why we do not use the field cultivation. We can also grow plants that live best in humid soil, because we can easily arrange the humidity of the nutrient solution and also its temperature. The yields are 3-5 times higher and this system gives better results in terms of quality and quantity.



Above & Overleaf: watercolor and pencil drawings 69


13. Acknowldegments

I would like to thank all the people that contributed in the development of the presented projects and Office U67 - Fabio Gigone and Angela Gigliotti - for the opportunity they gave me in taking part to the Venice Biennale and for the internship at their firm. Many thanks to: Violeta Garcia, Victor Tee, Tahoora Moradi, Emanuele Moro, Davide Toffalini, Kim Iana Yeon, Luca Teofani, Pinar Hascelik, Pedro Ferreira, Leonardo Serradas, Chao Zheng, Diletta Trinary, Alyssa Maristela, Veronica Gazzola, Giles Nartey, Jasmine Mariani, Wen Zishen



May 2016


Collection of works and projects


Collection of works and projects