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Published by: AeD Press Architecture Department College of Architecture and Environmental Design California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California 93407 United States Copyright Š 2011, AeD Press / Cal Poly Architecture Department All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the copyright owners. All images in this book have been reproduced with the knowledge and prior consent of the artists concerned. Errors or omissions will be corrected in future editions.

Printed and bound in the United States of America. First edition, 2011 ISBN-10 xxxxxxxxxx ISBN-13 xxxxxxxxxxxxx ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We would like to thank Henri deHahn, Department Head of the Architecture Department, for his continual support and encouragement.

Architecture Department One Grand Avenue San Luis Obispo, CA 93407-0282


Faculty Editor: Tom di Santo Editor in Chief: Sarah Jester Student Editors: Colby Reece Kegan Flanderka Katherine Schwingel Additional Help: Elizabeth Hernandez Farnoosh Rafaie Cover Design: Sarah Jester

magia in muggio...creating magic in the val di muggio...forging international connections through art and architectural layers

STUDIO TICINO: CREARE NEL CREATO Magia in Muggio: The Magic in Muggio. It sounds trite. Like some over-used Disney line which, as a consequence of its lacking originality and freshness, is now of only lingering import; nevertheless, however cliché it may sound, “the magic” may very well be the best way to describe the experience that was Studio_Ticino in our little mountain hamlet of the Swiss Alps. The word could describe the cathedrale quality of light pouring over the steep verdant slopes after a summer thunderstorm, shining on a one-room chapel, the light made audibly manifest with the soundtrack of clinging sheep and cowbells echoing across the valley. The word could conjure the taste of Piera’s Oso Buco and Polenta with local valley cured grotto salami and formaggini washed down with hand made sodas and neighborhood wines. The word could paint the picture of our 15th century Leonardo Da Vinci Rivellino into which we most deftly and surgically intervened with plausibly radical modern insertions. Or, it could delineate any number of the epic journeys we took to hear balmy midnight opera in Roman arenas, to see horses circumnavigate the periphery of raked Italian Piazzas, to sail in gondolas down narrow Venetian corridors and canals, to bathe in the stone brilliance of Zumthor’s primal cave baths. It could bring alive the analysis of Terragni’s rational creations, Scarpa tectonics or the initimacy of San Benedetg’s mathematical precision. It could bring the music of Montreux or the bike rides through Zurich. It could materialize in the Disneyland for Architects in Weil-Am-Rhein’s Vitra Design campus. It could be found in the whimsy of Klee juxtaposed in contradistinction to Picasso in the Bern Klee Museum. Maybe the magic was embedded in meeting the great British film director, Peter Greenaway, while working on his installation in the Rivellino…or perhaps taking in the outdoor cinema of the grand piazza in Locarno. It was most certainly found in the pilgrimages into only the most remote regions of the Swiss Alps to find exquisite Valerio Olgiati edifices and Le Corbusier’s masterpiece: Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp. There was magic in the art we created in Bellini’s metal sculpture studio, on our south facing Scudellate terrace making watercolours, in the sala parochiale for ceramics lessons or sitting under the chestnut trees discussing the history + theory of autonomy versus participation in architecture. The magic was under every medieval stone we over-turned, under each blade of grass we compressed, over each mountain pass we traversed, in each lagoon we swam and in each river into which we dunked. We don’t care if it sounds trite or cliché. There was Magia in Muggio…and we experienced it. - Tom di Santo

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS When my Uncle Ron Di Santo wrote the Guidebook to the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, he recounted a funny story from the turn of the previous century about how some humorously playful and mischievous Oxford students discovered that Rudyard Kipling earned about a shilling per word for his writing. They wired Mr. Kipling a shilling asking him for one of his very best words. Kipling simply (and perhaps waggishly) wired back: “Thanks”. We consider this a very good word indeed, and hope to use it herein to lay down some of our considerable debt to the many generous people who have worked to make Studio_Ticino such a success in its inaugural transatlantic flight. First and foremost, we would like to give a vociferous thanks to Enrico Como, without whom the Studio_Ticino program would not exist. Mr. Como, born in Napoli, is a principal architect of SPaCe architects located in Milano, Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. He did his Master’s Thesis Work in the Ticino area giving him palpable connections to the region. On that fateful day in August of 2009, I simply mentioned on a hike in the Elfin Forest that I would like to start up an architecture program in the Italian section of Switzerland – Ticino. This spark obviously caught a needle in the forest of Enrico’s imagination, because he was immediately inspired, made a few phone calls and the forest fire was instantly ablaze. We talked all weekend about the idea and one short month later we were mounting the program. We thank Enrico for his endless energy, programmatic and design ideas, inspiration, connections and Italian language skills. In addition, there are many to thank who helped in both Switzerland and California alike. We thank Oscar Innocenti for his organization and administration skills. Jeffery Meylan was our chief bottle washer and jack-of-all trades. As a recent graduate of architecture in Architecture from L’Accademia in Mendrisio as well as being a local metal fabricator, his skills, facilities and connections were irreplaceable. We thank Paolo and Arminio Scioli for welcoming us with open arms to perform a relievo and intervention on their Rivellino, designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. They treated us like family, introduced us to everybody, cooked for us, and let us use their downtown block in Locarno as a folly for our architectural projections. We thank the premier metal sculptor in the region, Paolo Bellini, for welcoming us into his elaborate metal fabrication and sculpture studio. We thank him for access to his state of the art workshop, for his expertise, his connections to the creative set in Ticino and for his wonderful metal sculpture workshop. We thank Laci Videmiski for his erudite, informative history + theory workshop on “Autonomy versus Participation” in architecture, specifically Ticinese architecture. We thank Eva di Santo for helping us get our hands dirty and our minds creative with her ceramics workshops. We thank Natalia Remmlinger, Chameli Innocenti and Massimo Poletti for their incredible culinary skills as well as their ability to make us feel so welcome to the Valley. We thank Simona Bellini and Ivan Artucovich for sharing their apartment, studio and life with us. We thank Peter Greenaway for being a brilliant and creative film-maker and artist and for allowing us to help with the production of his auspicious installation in the Scioli Rivellino. We thank Luigi Snozzi for his inspiration and creative input into our projects. We thank architetto Robbiani for the tours of his bank and residential projects, and we thank Aldo Celoria for his attendance at our final critique. We thank Mariantoinietta Satta for the tour of Milano, and Antonio for running the Ostello di Scudellate. We thank Piera Piffaretti (marito Guerino) for running the Osteria Anciana in Scudellate, for being the best grandmother to all the students and for cooking unparalleled polenta ed osso buco. We thank equipe Sciolli for their hospitality, Adrian Lammersdorf for his risotto and help around the Rivellino, as well as Margherita Pali and Italo Rota for the introductions. We thank Jean Olaniszyn for his books and watercolours from Herman Hesse. We also thank Carla Speziali, the mayor of Locarno, for meeting with us, and to Giovanni Monotti for his enthusiasm. We would like to thank Henri de Hahn for his tireless support of the program, and we appreciate the dedication of the architecture department and Continuing Education staff to ensure that it run smoothly including, but not limited to: Arlene Gomez, Lisa Rutherford, Kathi Good, and Shane McKeague. Finally, we would like to thank our fellow students, whose hard work, enthusiasm and alacrity make it all worth it. Last but not least, we thank Trinity and Nico for keeping us all young and excited to be alive. Thank you ALL for helping the first annual Studio_Ticino to become a model of success. It should be noted that by “we”, we mean the student staff who have helped produce this publication (Sarah Jester, Katherine Schwingel, Kegan Flanderka, Rachel Chichester and Colby Reece). Again, our sincerest appreciation, Tom di Santo











+ 3




As the Alps peel away and forests give way to fields, the many clock tower spires of Zurich jut into the sky breaking the otherwise uniform horizon. The dynamic skyline of Zurich reflects its city life. Whether jumping off the bridge and swimming in the Limmat or biking between tram cars, one is sure to get a taste of the local vibe.

+ 5

Stadelhofen Station | Santiago Calatrava


Biking along the banks of the Zurichsee, one passes by hare krishnas, sunbathers and the occasional street musician. The people watching is broken up by a monument to Le Corbusier and a stained glass claddchurch with a room full of silent colors.

Centre Le Corbusier

+ 7

.. Fraumunster Abbey



One foot in front of the other. Our breathing becomes painfully audible as sweat drips down our backs. The incline grows steeper and steeper. There go the boys’ shirts and the girls’ bags. Makeshift fans appear and water is passed around. One foot in front of the other. A ticket office promises a break in the journey - we get water inside and sit under adjacent trees. Rested, the journey begins again, and a sliver of white catches my eye. I look up. Hiding behind a row of trees sits Le Corbusier’s white chapel. Small but powerful it perches atop this hill of endless green. Entering the threshold finds us surrounded by a different kind of power - that produced by the stillness of light. A few pilgrims pray quietly in the pews as colors flood the chapel from the deep set windows along the wall. Candles flicker in remembrance as wind passes through the open door. There is a warmth here - a peace that resides within these heavy concrete walls and the spaces between.

Notre Dame du Ronchamp | Le Corbusier





KKL Luzern | Jean Nouvel




Walking out of the train station in this city, we notice the change in pace immediately. Older couples and groups of little old ladies line the benches along the lake. Cottages dot the hillside past the waterfront. Yet, the quiet feel of Lucerne is punctured by a towering project of glass and steel by Jean Nouvel. Flat aluminum panels on the underside of a large overhanging roof reflect the waves of the lake, adding a feeling of lightness to this massive cultural center. A stroll along the bridge and a look back to the project reveals just a sliver of roof reaching out, creating a vibrant gathering place for locals and visitors.

+ 19




We travelled to Bern to see the new Paul Klee Museum by Renzo Piano. The project is a beautiful merging of the natural topography outside the City with the mathematical arches of the Renzo Piano Building Workshop. We were fortunate to see a comparative analysis between two great masters of 20th Century Painting: Picasso vs. Klee. It was a brilliant exhibition discerning the similarities and differences between these two incredible painters.

+ 21

Paul Klee Museum | Renzo Piano





Central Signal Box | Herzog & de Meuron




Intersection | Richard Serra

Vitra Design Campus | Frank Gehry

Vitra Design Campus | Herzog & deMeuron

On this Vitra design campus, freedom reigns. Here on the border of Germany, eclectic projects from Ando, Hadid, Gehry, and Herzog & deMeuron transform this flat field into an architectural Disneyland, complete with a souvenir shop, restaurant, and tour guides on the hour. The campus now serves as a furniture fabrication site, and Herzog & deMeuron’s archetypal stacked houses display these modern pieces for design enthusiasts.

Vitra Design Campus | Zaha Hadid

+ 31



Vitra Design Campus | Tadao Ando





Paspels School | Valerio Olgiati

A train, two buses, and a two hour hike find us surrounded by Swiss mountains, walking along dusty roads within reach of grazing cows. A sharp turn in the road reveals a seemingly simple box - Valerio Olgiati’s concrete monolith. Yet, a walk around the four facades exposes subtle differences in window depth and placement, and corners that just aren’t quite right. The same is true of the Musician’s House - a play on perspective and unexpected space within these monolithic envelopes. Here in these tucked away towns do we see Olgiati’s phenomenology of perception at work.

Musician’s House | Valerio Olgiati

Notre Dame du Ronchamp | Le Corbus


Shelter for Ruins | Peter Zumthor

Rolex Learning Center | SANAA

An architect’s response to the process of learning yields the Rolex Learning Center by SANAA. Spaces for quiet study, chatting with friends, and lounging transform this place into an interior park. The undulating floor plane emphasizes organic human circulation patterns, and the neutral color palette allows these architectural decisions to stand out that much more. Creating a space that is both an institution as well as a canvas for human play.





Laying along the shoreline of Lake Constance, Bregenz is a city with a long history and a beautiful present. Walking along the edge of the lake one passes through park spaces where string quartets play, as Austrians sit and enjoy a long lunch break. Beyond this scene sits a glass clad building, monolithic in form, but given life through the changing sunlight. This is Zumthor’s Kunsthaus, a building designed around the manipulation of light. Within those glass clad walls lies floor after floor of homogeneous galleries. Designed with the intension of providing uniform displays, they are unique purely in their method of obtaining this effect.

+ 43

Kunsthaus Bregenz | Peter Zumthor




Therme Vals | Peter Zumthor

+ 49

vals Standing beside the bus stop, I am immediately overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the valley that surrounds me. Without “The Baths” even in sight, my skin tingles and my excitement grows. Through the lobby I make my way down the stairs, towel in hand as I pass through the glass doors. I now see the asthetic for which I have long admired, as I hear the echoing sounds that I know only come from waterfilled chasms. The air has changed as I brush against a low, brass gate. I turn the corner and pass within a long, slate corridor. And there it is, the first glimpse into “The Baths.” I move quickly past in order not to spoil the moment. The floor changes and I realize I have moved into a warm room incased in shimmering wood. I change and step forward feeling the heavy leather against my skin as I push it aside. The air changes once more, the light becomes cool and the echos palatable. I have arrived. The stairs force me to descend slowly and I turn the corner, letting go of the cold brass. I have studied this floor plan, I know my options and yet I cannot choose. I step into the shower to buy myself time. I feel as though I am at the controls of a firehose and as the warm water pummels me I make my decision. I leave the showers, renewed and refreshed and move into the shallow corridor running along the stairs. The water temperature changes and I feel the roughened slate against my feet. I submerge myself and glide through an opening in the glass. I break the surface and the thin mountain air greets me. I spin in place and follow the clean horizon line of the slate until it falls away, replaced by the Swiss topography. I gaze out on to the Valley of Vals and exhale.




Chapel Sogn Benedetg | Peter Zumthor


sumvitg Tucked into the heart of the Swiss Alps, where one can still hear an almost forgotten language spoken, lies a small village. Perched high above this sleepy village sits a chapel, Zumthor’s San Benedetg. And as with many of his projects, much of what becomes the architecture is the journey getting there. Hours on trains and directions from a hospitable local, leads one to an hour long hike through the winding pastures and forest, past white stallions and alpine springs to a small building that while pristine in condition looks as though it has forever belonged in this place.



+ 61





Universita della Svizzera Italiana

Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio

Castelgrande di Bellinzona

+ + 67

Restoration | Aurelio Galfetti

Casa Bianchi | Mario Botta

+ 71

riva san vitale


+ +


We traveled almost to the top of the Val Lavizzarra, to the miniscule town of Mogno to see Ticino Architect Mario Botta’s chapel: Capella San Giovanni Battista. The church was erected on the site of its 350 year old predecessor, leveled by a severe avalanche in 1986. The original was constructed in 1626. The new one was built in 1996 and has a truncated cylinder with it’s back to the mountain. The next big avalanche will flow around the cylinder braced by an enormous flying buttress, ostensibly leaving the new construct intact.


Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista | Mario Botta

studio project: epistemological shift Farnoosh Rafaie, Huangyuan Chen, Karen Wang, Tao Li swiss box Robert Nealan


subtle reality/sharp juxtaposition Alex Vincent, Stephen Zecher

people watching people Matt Faller, Sarah Jester, Colby Reece

function.detail.accuracy. Elizabeth Chamberlain

revealing acupuncture Claudia Tenorio, Kyle Usselton

sky bridge Alicia Ginsberg, Marcela Gutierrez, Brian Britton, Kegan Flanderka

crossroads of the arts Lauren Bordessa, Elliot Nelson, Katherine Schwingel

body translations Nicolas Pappas, Liz Hernandez, Sarah Fleming




+ + +

ceramic analog metalwork watercolour theory talks peter greenaway exhibition

+ + + 79

Stephen Zecher Redlands, CA

Alex Vincent Santa Barbara, CA

questioning the stability of physical and social barriers. forging connections through architectural layers.



Flowing along Via Franchino Rusca is a powerful river, with currents stronger than the nearby Fiume Maggia. Yet this river is not made of water like its neighbor, but rather the road is made of a stream of society - a pulsating body of people that flows back and forth between the Piazza Grande and Piazza Castello, fulfilling their cultural desires. Like the Fiume Maggia, this stream has over time changed the social landscape of Locarno and has created divides in classes. Three major alex vincent + stephen zecher divisions create this shifting mass: the poorer, craftsman class, the tom di santo intellectual artsy class, and the upper-crust rich class. Following the summer 2010 physical landscape, the division of the classes can be seen. The lower class sits on the southern end of the Piazza Castello on top of built-up silt gathered there from the river. Middle class-men sit along what was once the bank of the lake, right in the midst of the social dynamics, while the upper class prefers to sit up along the bordering hills, safely distanced from the movement below. Castello Locarno sits in a unique position along the bank of the social river. Its history proves its worth as a riverfront property. Beginning as a powerful safe house for the river pass through to Italy, the Castello grew in importance as the Duke of Milano struggled to keep control of the lakefront town. In response to continued attack, he commissioned Leonardo Da Vinci to create an additional layer to the castle and a stronger barrier against attacks from the bordering embankment. The master designer used his well-developed pentagon design to create what is now called the Rivellino. The Castello’s importance slowly became lost as it was deconstructed and scattered into the infrastructure of the surrounding town. Layers of history washed over the site, protecting the castle like the castle once protected the town. Now, with the importance of the Castello’s history once again realized, the design challenge is how to approach this loaded site to reinvigorate the Rivellino’s importance and create an active dialogue between the jewel of history and the town’s cultural activity.

Built Program

Outdoor Cinema Space

Outdoor Gathering Space

Projection Surface


Gallery Space

Studio Space


Culinary Institute

Garden Space


Public Gathering Semi-Private Gateway

Public Gathering v. Semi-Private Gateways Major Plaza

Outdoor Gathering Space

Garden Space

Major Addition

Conceptual Spatial Layout

Masterplan of Via Franchino Rusca Corridor


Lower Level

Fourth Language

Upper Level

Blackbox theatre

Craftsman Shop

Beacon Bar


Culinary Institute

Vernacular Gallery

Student Studio

Performing Arts Theatre

Culinary Roof Garden


Student Roof Garden

Vertical Circulation

New Physical Connection

Control/Access Point


To destroy the layers of history that have protected the Rivellino would be to destroy an essential definition of the Rivellino today. As it sits currently, at one edge of an intimate courtyard, the cave-like space becomes a journey deep into time and space as the town is left behind and darkness consumers the visitor. What lives on around the monument of stone is a living fabric of history and architectural languages weaved together over years of changes and additions. Rather than tear down the fabric and rebuild an unrelated modern vocabulary, the design should weave itself into the tapestry, reconnecting segregated pieces of the site with a new interstitial language that allows the history behind to speak. Yet the new language isn’t without its own voice. The goal of the new addition is to introduce a new hub of art and culture that promotes intellectual discovery, artistic freedom, and social desegregation. Programmatically, the project strives to create new purpose to the site’s spaces that connect visitors with artisans, students with the city, process and presentation, and people with human necessity. Three main unique programs exist in addition to the proposed student housing, studio space, and galleries: a culinary institute including extensive vegetable gardens, an expanded range of artist focuses, and a meditative journey. The culinary institute expands upon the universal human need for sustenance. No matter the age, gender, interests, or social class, people have to eat. In creating a space that celebrates the art of food, the culinary institute creates culture that is appealing to everyone and engages both the highest and lowest classes in a dialogue with the site. Paired with the institute is self-sustaining vegetable gardens that further the visitor’s connection to food by involving people with where their food comes from. By allowing the process of food production to remain transparent and the gardens self-evident, people coming to the institute to eat or learn to cook are connected with the essential composition of food and what it means in a cultural center. In addition to expanding the culinary institute, the student body was also expanded to include students and artisans from many disciplines. Engaging local artist and craftsman with a diverse student body creates a rich mix of different backgrounds, ideas, and cultures that can inspire others to reach new cultural enlightenment. To enhance the a student’s or an artist’s journey to reach a heightened sense of creativity and selfexpression, the design includes a crafted path through the Rivellino that increases its own unique presence by creating a juxtaposition above.

The Contrast

As one precedes through the Rivellino, the space naturally becomes darker and deeper, creating a stronger and stronger feeling of crushing darkness and pressing aloneness. Just when the space becomes the most intense, a moment of sublime occurs through an ephemeral shaft of light that carefully sinks itself into the space. As one is drawn up the light through a contained circulation core, the visitor is realized from the quiet darkness into a space of light, activity, and movement. A glass box, floating over the Rivellino without seemingly touching the solid rock, facilitates a bar and gallery space that upsets a person’s balance by exposing them to the oppressiveness of a crowd - its noise, movement, and color juxtaposing the quiet, still, dim space below. Yet above this contained activity is another space along the vertical circulation core - a glass meditation space that provides students a space of release and peacefulness where they can escape the chaos below as well as their own art. This space provides potential for self-reflection and meditation over the skyline of Locarno and the lake beyond.

The Glass Box Certain material elements of the Rivellino and the Glass Box are complementary to the journey as well. In the Rivellino, the vertical stairwell to the Glass Box is approached by two descents. These descents are made on metal plate stairs, each dropped more that typical. A echoing clang is made with each footfall, emphasizing the descent further into the dark. The steps are lit below by a single light, creating only a silhouette by which to discern the stairs. In the Rivellino interior and Glass Box, floor panels raised from the floor create sound as one moves across them. An emphasis on the aloneness in the Rivellino and the floating in the Glass Box. The northernmost portion of the Glass Box cantilevers above the ground, creating a feeling of floating even more so.


A _01 Glass Box_01

Glass Box_A


The Black Box A


Black Box




Black Box_B

The Black Box is the opposing additive space in the Rivellino. It facilitates a black box performance space for the project, being purposed for more edgy and experimental art performances as well as a unique format for performance art. The layout of the Black Box surrounds the stage with seating on all sides and entrances at all four corners creating a theater dynamic that promotes interaction and different perspectives for both the performer and the viewer. The seating is collapsible metal plate that can be removed to facilitate a more typical performance space as well as opening up the space completely as a gallery. The area surrounding the Black Box includes a gathering space, backstage, as well as an elevator, which creates a connection between the museum above. This facilitates a connection between both the museum and the Rivellino visitors.

The Culinary A



Garden Vault Kitchen



The culinary institute is one of our boldest additions to the project. The site for the institute is along the southwest edge of the courtyard, where currently a poorly maintained building is attached to the face of the Rivilleno. As a key area that connects the open bar area and the lower courtyard, we felt the space can be better utilized by surgically removing the decrepit building from above the stone vault that was an original attachment to the Rivilleno and replacing it with the modern fourth language. The resulting design is another pure rectangle of glass that connects three stories of the project and facilitates visual connection between the open bar and the inner courtyard, the visitor with the chefs, and the preparation of food with the final product. On the first level, the stone vault is used as a wine cellar and tasting bar that uses the historic stone aesthetic to a programmatic advantage. The circulation core boldly cuts into the thick stonewall of the Rivilleno, exposing the raw stone to the visitor as he or she ascends to the second floor. On the second floor, the open bar area steps up to the form as it recedes within the existing street front building. Within the exposed glass is the main kitchen for the restaurant, exposing the process of food preparation to those about to consume it. Within the existing building, seating for guests is scattered within earshot of the activity of the kitchen. On the third floor, the glass box opens to the existing roof terrace. Here, the terrace is converted into a roof garden where food for the kitchen is grown, thus connecting guests not only with the food preparation, but also with where it was grown. Kitchen classrooms also connect to the garden, connecting culinary students with their media.






The Rest of the Fourth


Roof Garden

Along with the primary interjections, there are a number of other additions throughout the site. In addition to the culinary roof garden, there is another garden suspended above the Liberty building is added. It is purposed as a community garden for the students as well as a social gathering space to bring the students together. A renovation of the Vernacular is made to create two double height spaces: the first for a sculptural gallery, the second for the artists to be observed doing their work. Additionally, a more conventional performance space is created below the street between the Rivellino and the Casa di Cinema. Unconventionally, a view of the backstage is facilitated by plate glass in the street above as well as a view of the audience facilitated by glass steps into the Casa di Cinema.

Performance Theater

Farnoosh Rafaie Santa Monica, CA

Huangyuan Chen Guangzhou, China // Oakland, CA

+ + + 91

Karen Wang Taiwan // Fremont, CA

Tao Li San Jose, CA

calling attention to the physical and visual interaction to the rivellino, whereby ultimately presenting vignettes in which the individual experiences them as a body in motion as they interact with the complex. EPISTEMOLOGICAL SHIFT


farnoosh rafaie + hanya chen + karen wang + tao li tom di santo summer 2010 The intervention upon the pre-existing Rivellino LDV art gallery serves to bridge the ever expanding gap between the Locarno community and artists. Rather than a isolated application, the complex becomes a series of vignettes which draw the user through in ultimately reaching the Rivellino. Individuals experience the Rivellino as fragments, as each fragment provides the user an alternative perspective in understanding the whole. How can this realization be achieved? As we begin to re-think the relationship between the user and the Rivellino, the opportunity to connect the individual to the community occurs through the visible layering of spaces. Where the visitor constantly engages within the centre through the arrangement of various programmatic spaces. There is an effort made to circulate through the complex, with an acknowledgement of the space the individual inhabits. Each varied encounter with the Rivellino provides a new experience and continues to do so with each visit to the galleries.




Void Composition

Gallery Entrance View 94

Bringing awareness to the relevance that is placed upon the Rivellino, the VOID space creates a context for the arrangement of programmatic elements which ultimately connect back to the surrounding community.

Space Composition

Void Concept Model Gallery Atrium

Through the complete reconfiguration of the existing path, the individual experiences circulation as a means to view the process and completion of regional artwork. Atrium Section

Swoop Circulation

Gallery Typology Typically..

layered WORKSHOP Concept Composition What if..

Workshop Installation

Workshop Interaction




tunnel LOUNGE


Site Excavation

Underground Lounge Tunnel Entrance

Circulation Path

To perceive the Rivellino in yet another vignette is down and within the base of the complex. Also, upon reaching the top of the Rivellino from the gallery, users are drawn to the movement of the elevator down to the Rivellino. The suspense and contrast in lighting emphasizes the essence of the DaVinci ruin.

Developmental Sketch of Tunnel

Underground Entrance Sequence

vessel LECTURE HALL/CAFE Plan Development

Skylight view of cafe from Lecture Hall

Section Development

View of Entrance from Cafe





Emphasizing the Edge of the Rivellino as the main architectural feature

Entrance Sequence

A framed view in which the user initially encounters a contrasted space pulling them to a seemingly exterior site, yet only to reach a platform where the Corner of the Rivellino is pushed through into the room. They ultimately see the corner within the vignettes before exiting and returning to the path

Section Development

Colby Reece Grand Junction, CO

+ + + 101

Matt Faller Solana Beach, CA

Sarah Jester Placerville, CA

people watching people: creative process as performance GATHER+INTERACT+REACT Rivellino Center is a place where the interaction amongst il RIVELLINO. academy + cultural art center performer and observer is paramount. The


It is not a museum where the public comes to observe a sterilized beauty, it’s not an artist studio matt faller + sarah jester+ colby reece where the artist is locked away in his own creative world disconnected tom di santo from reality, it’s not a university that disconnects itself from the summer 2010 community.

It is a place for the raw honesty of a messy creative process to mix with exhibition space, where social gathering space is mixed with improvisational theater, where the unconventional schedules of the artists and students engages a tranquil Locarno. The ideas about our project were aroused by the sequences of a train station. You arrive on a platform, you wait with the void of the tracks, the void is filled by the train, its arrival announced, you pack into the train, travel, arrive, decompress, the void returns, and the cycle repeats with new travelers. This repetitive/cyclical contraction and expansion of traveling – physically, mentally, ephemerally – translates as spatial sequencing of


people gather in a space in anticipation of performance, have a certain level of interaction with each other within the waiting space, move into a performance space, experience it, and then move out into a reaction space for social processing/discussion of the performance or exhibit.

The result is a high ratio of support to performance space.

Programmatically, the Center is unique in that it becomes a 24HR CREATIVE FACILITY. It is a place that discards any notion of elitism in art, and asks the whole public to be engaged in a historically socioeconomically divergent city. The creative process becomes part of the critical discussion about the art, the critical discussion becomes a social event, social events become performances, performances creative processes. Ultimately, people are interacting with each other and with art and with the Rivellino in unconventional ways.

view from studio to rivellino

view from tunnel to courtyard

conceptual sections

view of project metro stops from street corner

The circulation is developed to articulate what we are calling Visual vs. Physical spaces. The circulation physically connects critical nodes within the project and the program becomes analogous to a series of metro stops. Sometimes the stop is an exhibit space, where the experience is designed, and deliberately specific. Sometimes the stop is a space that only provides a visual connection by framing a view: of the Rivelino, of crowd, of students working. A more unpredictable type of exhibition occurs, where viewer is turned performer.


section through circulation trench

In sensory terms, the circulation path provides varying degrees of interaction between the Rivellino structure and our new inventions, resulting in articulated contrast and memorable spaces. Detailing the interface of the glass, polished concrete, and steel to each other as well as to the materiality of the original DaVinci structure of stone and rubble heighten sense of place, purpose, and vertical placement within the site overall. The tactile qualities of the space allow the experience of the user to go beyond a structured relationship with the building program; tactility of materials shapes a relationship between the space itself, the user, and the rich history of the site.

circulation detail at gallery to rivellino connection


bellini metal workshop sculptures as sectional studies

+ + + 111

Kyle Usselton Mesa, AZ

Claudia Tenorio Cali, Colombia

the revelation of the rivellino: clearing up, unveiling history, reinventing its use Revealing Acupuncture

Our main purposed with this project was to highlight the importance of the Rivelino. At this moment forgotten by people and hidden away behind structures that do not necessarily respect the historical value claudia tenorio + kyle usselton of it. It needs to be [re]born, for this reason, we decided to focus all the surroundings on the Rivelino literally. Every view of the surrounding tom di santo buildings is directed to it and highlights its beauty from many angles.


summer 2010

We wanted to exposed its walls to used them as passive interaction for its visitors, by allowing the old rocks to play a role on the modern intervention. Our idea was to use the wall as some sort of experimenting space to create a game of white noise and shadows that invite the visitor to contemplate this raveling.

the revelation of the rivellino: the [re]discovery of a masterpiece lost in time Revealing Acupuncture

We have punctuated every building and every space that interacts in anyway with the Rivelino. Every view is a different experience, specially the views from the chimes, that gives people a variety of different angles during the day and night. The circulation loops around allowing the visitor to experience top and bottom with a constant flow. Each loop arrive to the top of the Rivelino every time, where art and enthusiasm await for each individual.

Proposed Program


Vertical Circulation

Area Separation

Brainstorming stage program

The program is also organized to developed this circulation, besides the top of Rivelino and the terraces all public circulation would be at the bottom levels. Allowing the people who lives there, in this case, the students to have a more privilege position because of the independence and because of the higher positioning towards the reveling. The idea behind this is to give the students a degree of exclusivity giving them the higher floors to used as a communal dining or living room that not only works as a separation of spaces, but also creates a attractive place for all the visitors that can’t access to this isolated boxes.

the revelation of the rivellino: redirecting, interacting, entertaining Revealing Acupuncture Existing Site Layout


Horizontal Circulation

For this purpose we decided to direct the people from the main axis, from piazza Galfetti to Piazza grande into the building and we created a vertical bar that goes up to the Rivelino top as a distraction from Via Franchino Rusca to attract people into the building. We also created a new access to the vernacular building to help the loop circulation desired, so we closed the existing entrance in the corner, and open up another one through the via al castello. Our other main movement was to separate the existing structure that is attached to the Rivelino wall to allow a more direct access to a courtyard in between all the buildings that allow the new intervention to by more accessible and desirable. the last entry into this cluster of buildings was at the street level in via Bartolomeo Rusca were an little pick hole from the street into the courtyard reveals the Rivelino. This entrance access directly into the restaurant where you can enjoy a meal while observing the masterpiece.

Proposed Site Layout

Proposed Floor Plans

Lauren Bodessa Cloverdale, CA

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Katherine Schwingel Mission Viejo, CA

Elliot Nelson Bainbridge, WA

public intersection where students and the community meet to bridge the gap between local history and future innovations. crossroads of the arts


traditionally, the piazza is the gathering place, the open area centered around places of business, worship, eateries, and cultural archives. people are stationary, people are moving - activity and rest coincide lauren bordessa + katherine schwingel + elliot nelson in a balanced medium, creating a flow that constantly changes the perception and overall speed of the space. on a smaller scale, tom di santo historical apartment and office buildings in many Italian cities maintain summer 2010 the facade of antiquity and closure along the public street, while the interior void remains as the space for interaction and activity for those who dare to venture through the dark, narrow passageways.

terrace sketch

currently, the rivellino and the surrounding buildings of businesses and homes enclose a courtyard that does not take advantage of the communal space created. the proposed design opens the courtyard up to the main street and the side street running along the main entrance to the vernacular building by punching voids through the existing infrastructure, creating visual and circulatory frames that guide the visitor into this renovated courtyard. facades along the public streets remain untouched, while glimpses of modern intervention stimulate floor plan_rivellino curiosity in this new internal public space. the vocabulary of panelization stems from the idea of layering, not only of the history of the rivellino, but also of the different architectural styles that surround this former fortress for the city of locarno. buildings from each century since the 1600’s (???) encompass the site, creating a courtyard flanked by very different time periods. the panels and glazing added to the internal facades, all floating away from the existing structure, maintain the focus towards the gathering space between, inviting interaction between locals and tourists, students and performers, all while making a mark of this century on the architecture of the site.

terrace sketch


terrace_top of rivellino

arch itecture stu

Gall Ery

circulation circulation circulation circulation






Gall Ery



Access Points


barrel vault


the ter


circulation circulation circulation circulation

arch itecture



Gall Ery circulation



Circulation Program

crossroads of the arts sTudio


Gall Ery



crossroads of the arts

the pictures above explore the concept of layering and were used throughout the design process to influence the work. here we are seeing historical places layered with more contemporary work.

the vocabulary of the panelization stems from the layering of the rivellino and of the different architectural styles that surround this former fortress of the city of locarno. the floating panels and glazing add to the layering making a mark of this centuries work.

top of terrace

variations in height and depth transform courtyard into multifunctional space.


crossroads of the arts

the reflective pool is a multifunctional space designed for circulation and for dispalying art. it should lend itself to the commuter and to the art goers by creating seating and passage. the reflective pool is designed to display art above and below water, which will be visible from the walk way and from inside the art gallery adjacent to the pool.

reflective pool

administration office looking to terrace

reflective pool

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Elizabeth Chamberlain Bakersfield, CA

Clients who want an environment for promoting creativity and free thought. An old city afraid of change. The bridge: Leonardo da Vinci. function. detail. accuracy.

The idea is that architecture is for people. It is for the client, for the users, for the community. These are the people for whom the design must be pleasing, practical, delightful, and useable.

elizabeth chamberlain The clients for this project wanted a cultural center of sorts. A place tom di santo where they can bring in international students and faculty. An equal summer 2010 playing ground for all types of art, artists, and appreciators of art.


They wanted a radical look that goes with this radical (for conservative Locarno) outlook. The city doesn’t want to change the historical look and feel of Locarno. The city architect wants to knock down the clients’ buildings in order to reveal Leonardo da Vinci’s Rivellino (a cavelike fortress) to passersby. This design seeks to reconcile the clients’ wishes with the city’s reservedness. The street front is left untouched, while the courtyard walls (visible from beyond the next buildings) have more interesting installations. The complex functions just as the client wishes it to, reuniting Leonardo da Vinci’s creativity with today’s Locarno in social, educational, and technical ways. Versatile gallery and presentation spaces allow for a variety of public display mediums. Mutli-purpose classrooms for a variety of goals, and some with specific purposes such as a dark room and a culinary classroom, provide venues for teaching all sorts of skills, media, and design processes. Functional technical systems made of or clad in wood celebrate Leonardo da Vinci’s wooden inventions to bring him closer to the present. In short: This design meets the client’s needs without distressing the city, and does so with a reminder of da Vinci’s technical genius.

Bedroom for 27

Bedroom for 24

Sleeping capsules inspired by Japanese pod hotels allow students living in a dorm situation to enjoy the privacy and quietness normally associated with private rooms. Each pod has its own lighting, ventilation, televitsion, power outlets, rim shelf, and fold-down desk. A small number of the units on the top are left open for claustrophobic studends. This cavelike place is transformed into a theater with the simple addition of seating and minor infrastructure. The risers shown here occupy a space which is meters below the corridor leading to it, and meters above the space with the overhead beam. The risers turn such an unusable space into seating for a theater. Anchor bolts with rings epoxied into the wall and along the overhead beam allow for props, curtains, lighting systems, and other such things to be added as desired for stage productions.


Those sitting on the risers will find themselves looking down at the stage, effectively cutting off the view of the ground closest to the base of the risers. This forms a pit area of sorts, providing a hidden place for musicians to take advantage of the eccellent acoustics of the space. The small area beyond the stage is used for staging purposes, and the ceiling above provides street access directly to this area for delivery of equipment. The corridor leading up to the seating is used as display space for experimental art, as is the rest of the rivellino. Automated spiral people movers carry visitors up and down the courtyard facade of the main exhibition structure, the “Vernacular Building.� The steps spiral up one colum, travel through the floor, and move down the next column before moving through the floor to repeat the process. A catwalk system provides more control for the packed dirt floor while preserving the excellent accoustics of the earthen floor. (Musicians enjoy giving concerts here because of these accoustics.) The riser system extends up and down from the entry level riser, which is wide enough to seat someone in a wheel chair. In this way, visitors will enter the seating area on a level plane, as opposed to the unsafe existing ladder used to carry visitors down to the packed dirt surface.


Risers Staging Area

Entry Corridor


floor plans Vernacular Building

Rings with 10cm diameters are anchored along the top of the walls in the experimental display areas and around the top of the stage area. This provides an unobtrusive infrastructure that is so versatile it can support almost any hangning system. Lighting, artowork, curtains, and more easily find their homes here. A system of meter-long poles protrude from the courtyard-facing wall of the main student structure, the “Liberty Building.� Threaded bases are embedded in the structure beetween levels to provide stability. Caps can be screwed in to these bases when the poles are undesireable. Two types caps are provided - a plain cap, and one with a hole to allow the client to pump confetti, scents, liquids, or anything else out through the poles. Each pole has hidden compartments containing metal rings which are attached to the hollow metal core of the poles. These rings are meant to provide anchor points for diverse uses including hanging sculpture, performance art, or any other sort of display purpose. The design process is as individual as the designer, and each phase has different needs. Student workspaces are therefore specifically designed to be highly adaptable. Each workspace desk is suspended from the ceiling on a specially designed telescoping mount. This allows students to stand or sit, and to provide themselves with the perfect desk height relative to body and/or chair height. The structural racks provide a mount for the lighting systems. Four swiveling lights per desk, each on a separate switch, allow students to control their own lighting. This is excellent while working and while photographing completed work. The racks also provide a structure for mounting cork board if so desired, or for hanging pieces of projects. Each workspace is also equipped with its own set of power outlets. Art and architecture studios often require the use of electrically powered equipment (such as laptops, heat guns, glue gones, etc.) by all students simulataneously. Providing each desk with its own outlets means that all students will have the ability to use their own equipment without needing to take turns for lack of outlets.

floor plans Liberty Building

section Vernacular and Liberty Buildings

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Robert Nealan Benicia, CA


A series of lightly inserted interventions on Da Vinci’s Rivellino with a clean Swiss box inspired gallery resting above. Il Rivellino In its creation the Rivellino’s main purpose was to act as the first defense and gateway to access the castle of Locarno by water. 500 years later we find a place of such importance in a state of decay. Run robert nealan down and unmaintained for centuries, it has been hidden behind nowhistorical apartments and covered above with concrete for the grand tom di santo use as a parking lot. My proposal seeks to rehabilitate the Rivellino summer 2010 to a state of its former glory in a modern manner, whereby the rooftop becomes inhabited by a simple structure of steel and glass that acts both as an art gallery and as the gateway to the Rivellino. Entering from this gallery, the interior space of the Rivellino has been severely altered from its cave-like state to a spiritual place of light and water. Acting as both an exhibit in its own right, the Rivellino becomes a jouney from the gallery above as the visitor progresses down the stairwell into a series of art exhibitions intermixed with aqueous architectural interventions. Upon exiting through the former entrance, the visitors find themselves in the courtyard, surrounded by the activity of a bustling bar and restaurant on the terrace above. On the levels above the bar students can be found laboring away in studio at their projects in parallel to a student gallery where the public can openly view and become involved in with the academic community.


Influential Travel Precedents







Floor Plan








Sarah Fleming Boulder, CO

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Nicolas Pappas Calabasas, CA

Elizabeth Hernandez Guanajuato, Mexico // Bakersfield, CA


Drawing inspiration from the site, the anatomical systems studied by Da’Vinci were translated into architectural form and space. BODY TRANSLATIONS We began with the site, pulling inspiration from its history, spirit and culture. The Leonardo Da’Vinci designed Rivellino located in the nicolas pappas + Sarah Fleming + elizabeth hernandez heart of Locarno, Switzerland provided a powerful starting point for our modern intervention. The work and spirit of Da’Vinci provided the tom di santo catalyst for the conceptual development of our design. Motivated by summer 2010 our visit to the Da’ Vinci exhibit in Milan, we further examined Da’Vinci’s studies of the human body. These drawings were the basis for our translation of anatomical systems into architecture. The Rivellino became the conceptual heart of the design, a clear translation since the Da’Vinci design is what brings the site to life. Our design proposed the demolition of two buildings on either end of the site to create a new circulation axis breaking down the current barrier created by the site. The two new building proposals draw inspiration from the rib cage as they flank either end of the Rivellino, acting as the figurative and literal protection for the heart of the site. A proposed circulation tower and bridge continue the skeletal vocabulary in the form of the spine. Circulation through the site reflects the circulatory system of the body, stemming from the heart and branching off throughout the entire site. The conceptual and physical connective tissue of the site is a contemporary installation that connects all elements of the project. Taking inspiration form the muscular system, the installation connects to each building on the site creating cohesion amongst the several various styles. As the muscles in our body are made of many fibers, the installation is made up of many cylindrical modules. The approach to our installation pursues an interest in technology and invention following the spirit of Da’Vinci. the site.

Ribcage, Spinal Chord, and Heart


We propose to take out the current Vernacular building and replace it with a restaurant. An exterior and interior restaurant is on the top level with a kitchen below. The lower two levels are composed of a banquet room and storage.

north entry point

The current Vernacular gallery is a primary point of circulation from the north end to south end of the site and these changes are meant to open this corner for the public to come experience the Rivellino. From the north entry to the site, the muscular intervention and riblike structure of the restaurant draw people into the heart. From the restaurant, the main circulation goes into the courtyard and vertically down along the Rivellino. Once in the courtyard, the public may go inside to the Rivellino and circulate both horizontally and vertically. To the left of the Rivellino’s entry is a bridge, representing the spine of the human body with cables representing the veins. Just as a human spine provides support and the veins provide nutrient circulation, this bridge wraps along the Rivellino supporting public movement from each end of the site and into the Rivellino.

restaurant interior

Through parametric computer modeling and digital fabrication, the construction of the complex form is made possible by transferring information between digital and physical realms. Utilizing technology to translate digital precision into physical materiality gives life to modern intervention of the site

Liberty Program Housing Studios Commercial Workshops


Lecture Hall

A requirement of the clients was to leave the facade of the Liberty building untouched. We did this, but decided to cut the back corner to open up the courtyard. We also assumed the clients would buy the lower two buildings and expand the Liberty building into these. Within this program we included the top floor of La Casa Del Cinema, across the street from the Liberty. The majority of the required program lies within these buildings. The top floors of the North end of the Liberty building gives a large space for student apartments, while the professor apartments are on the top floor of La Casa Del Cinema on the south end of the site. The southern end of Liberty building’s top floor is a lecture hall; providing a flexible space to have guest lectures, show films, hold banquets, etc. The middle floors remain commercial storefronts and intermix with student studio space. The lower floor of the Liberty building is a variety of workshop space for metal, wood, clay, set design, photography, etc.

Project Diagrams During the class trip to Milan soon following our design charrette, we visited a Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at the Museum of Art and Science. This exhibit displayed study drawings da Vinci did on the structural systems of the human body. These drawings contributed significantly to the project concept.





Existing Buildings

Flex Space

Buildings to Demolish

Light Punctures

Proposed Changes

Circulation Public Private Mixed



Public vs. Private

Connection Points


Conceptual Watercolors

full bleed image, 7” x 9”, 300 dpi minimum

Influential Travel Precedents

Brian Britton Riverside, CA

Marcela Gutierrez San Diego, CA

Kegan Flanderka Agoura Hills, CA

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Alicia Ginsberg Seattle, WA

“art is never finished, only abandoned,� according to leonardo. today art, architecture, and da vinci’s rivellino of the past will defy him and be used for the future... SKY LOBBY


brian britton + marcela gutierrez + kegan flanderka + alicia ginsberg tom di santo summer 2010

Reflecting on the context within which this project sits, one is overwhelmed by the layers of history present. The complex is a composition of architecture that bridges the centuries. The focus of this project is to peel away and expose these layers of time, layers of aesthetic and layers of functionality. Careful incisions to the historic facade create interest and excitement, drawing in visitors and city dwellers alike. Addressing this idea of layering, the design of the spatial organization is layered within the horizontal axis which allows for an open, flexible floor space where program can shift and alter in response to the chronological change of occupant and utility. Sandwiched between these layers is a sky lobby, an open floor that physically and figuratively bridges the floors above and below, running the length of the complex.

The puncture diagram acts as a void to house an entry portal into the Liberty building. As one enters, they experience low ceiling heights and a wall only a few feet in front of them before they most choose to turn left towards the main Sky Lobby, or right into the vernacular gallery/ performance hall/ and space for multiple film screenings to take place. Also, the intent of the horizontal incision on the curved faced of the Liberty Building, is to spark an interest and cause reason for further investigation and journey into the building. Similarly as one approaches the building from the north west, the incision in the building would also continue past the portal and may lend a view from foot level in the vernacular building. A desired effect of these careful incisions is to create interest in the historic building and excitement for pedestrians.

Spatial Volume Reconfiguration

The group of three existing buildings on the site were all constructed at different times in history and were formed as separate spaces. Now, in possession of all three buildings the best way to lure people and circulate visitors through the spaces will be to make best use of floor space available. The Vernacular Building will be better utilized as a flexible /transition/projection space from the Rivellino terrace into the remainder of the complex. In response to the three disconnected buildings, the bearing walls are removed and continuous floor plates created, running the length of the building. This allows for a much more open, flexible, usable space.


Also, the additional three buildings that surround the Rivellio courtyard will be best used to continue and extend the horizontal elements of the building and allow for better circulation though the site. These spaces also provide, in a sense, selected framed views, without giving away all nuisances and exciting elements of the complex.

Program Organization

As seen from this simple program diagram, the general gesture of the programmatic spaces follow a horizontal path. The construction, and architecture details of the spaces allow for extremely open feeling spaces, which will create a flexible, comfortable space. These floor plate openings and the openings which surround the bridge allow visitors to get the sense that they may want to either go up or down a level, depending on which glimpses look most interesting. This representative diagrammatic section shows the full potential of the Sky Lobby and Flex space idea. With the built in Flex space above the Sky Lobby there is ample opportunity for all members that may be visiting or living in the complex to either work, mingle, or socialize together.

Piazza Grande

locarno For us, a city defined by the history of Leonardo da Vinci’s Rivellino.

. . . by the annual international film festival. . . . by a meeting with famous director Peter Greenaway.

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. . . by the welcoming Sciolli family.

. . . by midnight dips in the lake and missing clothing the next day. . . . by strolls through the rain arm in arm after a final project review. . . . by one gypsy bar, many dance moves, and a long, shivering wait for the first train back home.


. . . by concerts and an unending tap.


In the tradition of the Bauhaus, the Swiss Guilds, and Cal Poly’s “Learn by Doing” ethos, Studio_Ticino embraces a cross-disciplinary approach to design, introducing various artistic workshops that defer to the design studio, while allowing the students to get their hands dirty in the creative process. Paolo Bellini is one of the premier metal sculptors in the region of Ticino exhibiting all over Europe. He graciously offered the use of his material, tools, art studio and expertise to help the students create their own form analogues in iron and steel.


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Eva di Santo is the principal artist at Fahy di Santo ceramics based out of San Luis Obispo in California and Muggio in Ticino. She helped the students learn to work with clay to create beautiful functional objects and form analogues in terra cotta.

laci Laci Videmski is an alumnus of the Harvard GSD and Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and past employee of M:oME and Ben Korman Architects. He gave a series of lectures, and he worked with the students to guide an illuminating workshop and series of discussions revolving around the subject of “Autonomy versus Participation� in Architecture. Special Emphasis was given to engage modern architecture in the Ticino region, but the discussion was truly international in scope, touching on precedents in China, the UK, Switzerland, as well as theoretical criticism from the United States.


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quotes from peoples papers

quotes from peoples papers


andrea ponsi metodo vern swanson techniques tom diSanto metodo


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tommaso watercolor workshop


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In the tradition of the Bauhaus, the Swiss Guilds, and Cal Poly’s “Learn by Doing� ethos, Studio_Ticino embraces a cross-disciplinary approach to design, introducing various artistic workshops that defer to the design studio, while allowing the students to get their hands dirty in the creative process. A watercolour workshop was offered to bolster their analog skills. The workshop increased the quality of their design and travel journals while also helping the students to see with their minds and think with their eyes.


peter greenaway exhibit

at the


dinner with Peter Greenaway, artist, filmmaker, and director at the Rivellino, the site of our studio project

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Il Rivellino | Leonardo da Vinci


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“I love that the sun doesn’t set until 22:00 here. I love that Piera comes out every night to smoke a cigarette and yells ‘buona notte’ to me from her porch. I love that I can sit at a table outside, in front of the most spectacular sea of green I’ve ever seen. I love knowing that once I turn off the music and everyone trickles up the stairs, I won’t hear a single sound from Valle di Muggio. I love that I can count the number of lights in the valley. I love that I walked three miles today and I don’t mind it at all. I love our cooks, Natalia and Mossimo, who make good food but better company. I love Italiano and its poetic ups and downs. And I love that, at this very second, I am witnessing a lightning storm in the making.”


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sketchbook excerpt


Erbonne, Italy

l’ultima cena


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One last evening shared. A toast to a summer of new friends, cappuccini, vino, travel by foot, unforeseen journeys and a final dinner. To Piera and her osso buco.



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History, celebration, and food go hand in hand when one mentions “la festa.� Only on this day does the town seemingly multiply tenfold. Merchants set up folding tables for honey, wine, and cheese made in the valley while the ostello’s kitchen serves beef brisket and freshly ground polenta to the growing line of locals. Townspeople young and old fill the piazzi with full plates of local specialties as music weaves its way through their conversations. Across the Italian-Swiss border, a photography exhibit of Erbonne then and now reveals the timelessness of this place - only the cars give away which photo depicts the present. We find ourselves simultaneously foreign visitors and the studenti locali, celebrating the beautiful people, food, and music that define La Valle di Muggio.


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Monte Generoso


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Clinking dinner plates make their way into the kitchen and handed off to the cleaning crew of the day. The sun sets behind the green hills, and scattered pillows of white follow close behind. Without fail, we hear the rumbles begin. Every storm feels like an orchestrated show in which we are a mere audience. The first lightning strike illuminates the entire valley, and twenty-three scurry to the best vantage points of the ostello to watch, record, and stand in awe of the lights and sound.

Aletsch Glacier


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Snow seeping through the seams of my shoes, the icy bite of the Alpine wind against the face, it is without question that I am most assuredly out of my element. And while the hours of train rides through ever steeper pastural valleys have led us into the very heart of the mountain we are now perched upon, I am struggling to understand how our journey has brought us to this destination. Standing out on the Aletsch glacier, I am immediately made aware of the temporality of our visit in what appears to be a timeless realm. Mustering at this point simply a feeling of insignificance, I revel in the comfort that comes only with recognizing a moment in one’s life that will forever take one’s breath away.x


Sunlight streams through fog and trees in the hills of Finale Ligure, which look over the Mediterranean. In Laax, rolling fields of lush green are interrupted by alpine rivers rushing towards small groves of trees. Cutting through these landscapes are trails created by and for mountain bikers. In Finale Ligure, a small group of locals take riders from all over the world up into the hills along the Italian Riveria. Coming together from different countries all with a love of riding and the comraderie of the experience. In Laax, chairlifts transport riders over rolling hills to the tops of trails filled with kickers over flowing streams, ladder bridges straddling sheer drops off the sides of hills and boulders and crushed stones to weave through or air off of. Your breath races, your mind relies on instinct and your body reacts instantaneously to each new stretch. Just another part of the adventure.


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Brion Vega Tomb | Carlo Scarpa

san vito d’altivole


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Outside of a sleepy Italian town, hidden between corn fields and grape vineyards, sits a tomb at the end of a long dusty road. Buildings as timeless as the memories for which they preserve.  And while immaculately maintained it appears to somehow be untouched. This is the work of Carlo Scarpa, work that speaks to no particular style and in turn is somehow a style all its own.  You move along as your eyes crest over detail after detail adjusting to the carefully sculpted light squeezing through narrow slits and well crafted openings. Goosebumps form as a breeze makes its way through a well placed corridor, and as you step back through the commanding gate, you are left wondering, how has a place such as this been set so casually into the world?



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Manarola, Italy


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cinque terre Strewn along an undulating coastline sit five villages locked in a time all their own. And while the present slowly pushes its way into this place, if you look for it, you can find a life unchanged for centuries. Walking along the dawn lit streets with fresh focaccia in hand, you may just stumble upon a group of locals packing away freshly caught sardines as salty as their handlers, doing so in the same manner as their fathers and grandfathers have for time immemorial. And as you look at the faces of the people who live in these towns you realize that they are just as weathered as the cliffs that jut out into the sea. It is at this junction that it becomes apparent that one stroll through this place holds more history than any history book ever could.

Piazza Santa Croce



A city steeped in history, one best visited with another who has previously been. Full of treasures often obscured by a thick cloud of tourists, the true artistic masterpieces here are those times when you can lose everything, even yourself, and view this city from a perspective few ever see.

Il Duomo

Il Duomo



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Flags waving, rival contrade pushing, shoving, and refering to eachothers’ mothers in the most inappropriate of ways; all the while wondering when the lead jockey will go. As the tension builds one can feel the energy within the piazza begin to boil over and just when it appears as though the crowd can take no more, the jockey makes his move and the race is off. As they pull through the first turn punches are shared and soon enough a horse finds itself on its own. As the lead horse crosses the finish line screams can be heard as one contrada celebrates, while another looks for blood. The crowd begins to disperse as fists begin to fly and a piazza full of people bottleneck into the surrounding narrow streets as a riot ensues. It is at this point that one can’t help but wonder, “This is a tradition?”



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Il Duomo di Como



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Casa del Fascio | Guiseppe Terragni

Monument to the Fallen | Guiseppe Terragni




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Arena di Verona



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We descend from a taxi and follow other well dressed tourists and locals to the heart of Verona, L’Arena. Amid the endless shops and outdoor restaurants lies this magnificently weathered relic of a time past. Yet, the show about to commence transforms this arena into a thriving, living place of the present. The murmurs of anxious actors and the buzz of pre-show audience chatter all cease at the start of the music. The orchestra swells, and candles slowly dot the human landscape as the sun sets behind the arena. The realization of this experience being shared with a Roman in this very seat so long ago sends a chill through my body. The sky turns dark blue as the costumes shine even brighter gold, but the music is drowned out with the first crack of thunder. Many people decide to leave as the first raindrops fall, but we stay behind and watch this extra performance play out. Conversation among friends passes the time until the thunder stops, and the music begins once more.


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Castelvecchio | Carlo Scarpa



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Scuola di Architettura | Carlo Scarpa


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Querini Stampalia | Carlo Scarpa


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Ponte della Constituzione | Santiago Calatrava


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Piazza di San Marco

Recipe for Venezia [Serving Size 23]


1. Get lost along the canals of Venice looking for the hole-in-the-wall hostel we booked online for that first night. 2. Play the part of ‘unruly American’ by singing the Star Spangled Banner on the way to McDonald’s to celebrate the Fourth of July. 3. Run through the streets and kick up the puddles as the heavens open up and flood the city. Don’t mind the Italians laughing at you from their windows. 4. Walk the streets trying to find a restaurant teeming with locals in order to have the traditional three hour dinner that ends around midnight. 5. Take group pictures in the Piazza as the city goes to sleep. 6. Laugh inconspicuously at the drunk American tourists trying to get into a dance club at 2:00 am because they thought the club took “American.” 7. Pick an unassuming local and follow them through the alleys until we lose them, and ourselves. 8. Use a shoe, a wall, and some force to open a bottle and share a drink. 9. Sleep on the ground in front of Scarpa’s Scuola in lieu of a hostel. 10. Wake up right before the sun and catch the first train back to Milano, and end one hell of a night.

Piazza di San Marco di notte



Svizzera X Publication  

Five countries, twenty-three students, three months... one hell of an education.