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In its second season, the research of the Florence studio will leverage the territorial as well as the ideological space of the ‘bonifiche’ - a device used to promote infrastructures for land reclamation alongside ideologies of cultural exclusion. Critically engaging ideas of productivity, healthiness, human-non-human ecologies as well as natural-artificial constructs, the studio aims to articulate inclusive narratives of the built environment to think through “locally generated spaces representing the intersection of multiple places, histories and subjects.” 

  1. Risanare terreni paludosi per renderli produttivi e adatti all'insediamento umano, prosciugare [to restore marshy land to make it productive and suitable for human settlement, to drain]

  2. Recuperare una zona degradata con interventi agrari ed edilizi, risanare [to reclaim a degraded area with agricultural and building interventions, to rehabilitate]

la Sicilia 

Looking into the definition of the verb ‘Bonificare’ - and its associated noun ‘Bonifica’ - immediately reveals the tight relationship existing between strategies of land management and the associated value systems required to support them. ‘Suitability’ and ‘productivity’ are just a few of the parameters underpinning these interventions that, while often productively deployed to recuperate sites glaringly contaminated by human activities, have dramatically reshaped the territory of the Italian peninsula, often marginalizing cultures considered ‘different’ or ‘unproductive’.

 le Isole 

The seemingly innocent exercise of ‘drawing an island’ offers invaluable insights on how architecture pedagogies can benefit by thinking through these territories. Engaging with their inevitably bounded nature while simultaneously acknowledging their uniquely expansive qualities, islands defy binary thinking and open up kaleidoscopic possibilities for embracing these seemingly incompatible identities.

In its third season, the research of the Florence Program will engage with Islands as  laboratories, places where ideas can be tested and developed to re-imagine better ways to be in the world. Throughout the semester, we will leverage the potent ideologies and landscapes of imagination that are embedded within the space of these bounded landforms to reflect on architecture’s agency in today’s globalized yet increasingly divided world.

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The Italian word “maremma” derives from latin marĭtĭma meaning “maritime districts”, or from the castilian word marisma meaning “swamp”, and it describes a specific coastal landscape typology, with a closed coastal strip marking off a low plain. On this plain inland water collects, also bringing solid constituents with it, forming a wetland or marshland: the region of Maremma on the coast of Tuscany and northern Lazio, is a typical example of this landscape.

/ la Maremma / 

Sharing a common brief, the studio will offer three sections working closely with each other to critically understand the relationship between land-management practices and cultural spaces of encounter. Moving beyond stale dichotomies of urban and rural, culture and nature the studio aims to suggest contemporary strategies of coexistence on the territory. Varying in scale and programmatic focus, the three sections will share a common regional emphasis to construct a collective reading of a larger territory of the Italian countryside so dramatically influenced by practices of land-reclamation. The space of the Maremma will serve as the speculative site to imagine contemporary garden typologies, rurbanisation of spatial structures, as well as tourist identities. 

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STUDIO Z 

w/ Daniele Profeta

STUDIO X 

STUDIO Y 

w/ Luca Ponsi

w/ Cecilia Lündback

The studio will investigate the relationship between the uninhabited ancient town of Rusellæ and the contemporary inhabited town of Bagno Roselle, its relation to the city of Grosseto, and to the morphological context they pertain to.

The program for the studio project takes cues from the historic, modern, and contemporary development of the area. The long history of hot spring water, sprouting for the hillsides allowed the Etruscans first, then the Romans, and 13 centuries after, the Leopoldine interventions together with those of the Bonifica, concluding with the contemporary unsuccessful ones, to make use of this precious natural resource. 

In conjunction with this lineage, a parallel and ongoing economy of the area is that of the extraction of minerals and materials from the hillside. These two topics will set the conditions for the semester's project to develop around.
Students will investigate the development across the centuries of structuring forms of building and culture in the area. They will then deploy the learnt strategies to work projectively and speculate on how these structures can be adjourned and form the basis for a contemporary construction in relation to site
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Site: Roselle and its quarries

Acts of remediation critically entangle notions of thick ground, evolving built forms and shifting ecologies: most of all, the practice of the ‘bonifica’ needs to be understood as an ongoing collective composition of environmental narratives. This studio will focus on the role of tourism as an active agent partaking in the construction of these territorial identities. In particular, we will investigate how the idealization of tourist imaginaries of Maremma, Tuscany and Italy more in general, have been central to practices of renewal of the built environment. Focusing on the abandoned site of Ponte Tura, a fundamental element for the territorial reconfiguration of the Maremma region, students will articulate their views of tourism as a mediated, intercultural space of exchange rather than as a space of pure consumption. Escaping grandiose narratives of revitalization, often promoted under the alluring guise of an harmonious return to a ‘natural’ or ‘original’ state, we will engage the built artifact through its multiple histories as well as mediatic representations. A strong focus will be placed on imaging and rendering to multiply possible future narratives of the proposals: highly detailed architectural drawings will be supported (maybe contradicted) by postcards and travel guides for this projective space of engagement with the territory of Maremma.

Site: Ponte Tura & Area of the Steccaia

In a time of increasing resource extraction, mining activities and soil exhaustion - could the ground also be allowed to be fallow, restored or cared for? Can we imagine a ground that is economically unproductive and unprogrammed, but that instead provides possibilities for leisure, play, rest and cultivation? This studio will explore how the typology of the Garden might provide public grounds for restoration while also re-expanding the wetlands of the Grosseto plain. We will engage in environments of diversity and spaces that allow for the simultaneous presence and maintenance of the ornamental, medicinal, nutritious, therapeutic, dirty and contemplational. Through both precise and messy techniques of digging, cutting, pruning, collecting, heaping and furrowing, students will engage in the shaping and reshaping of objects and terrain to produce an architectural design project engaging ground, vegetation and building. Considering architecture as acts of replacement, reorganization, and repositioning of materials emphasizes the temporal aspects of architecture, seen as spaces and environments in change and fluctuation, rarely recognized by means of architectural representation. To engage aspects of time and change, we will work with moving image and animation as tools of testing, understanding and speculating on materials in movement and processes of change.

Site: The Floodplain of Ombrone River

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