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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]

/bo·ni·fi·cà·re/ 

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’.

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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 toxic landscapes of reuse. 

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STUDIO Z 

w/ Daniele Profeta

STUDIO X 

STUDIO Y 

w/ Luca Ponsi

w/ Cecilia Lündback

The studio will investigate the both tight and loose, close and detached relationship between the town of Orbetello and its boundaries of the surrounding lagoon, by studying the complex and multi-layered fabric of the town, through its historic, its natural and its anthropomorphic context.
Advocating for a rurbanisation of Orbetello, by increasing the interaction and inseparability of urban and rural life, each team of students will define through investigation both the site and the program for their punctual design intervention, aimed to generate, activate, and enrich the relationship between the solid and dense conditions of the anthropic urban development, and the fluid and permeable ecosystems and natural conditions of the surrounding waterscape of the lagoon. The definition of the program and the site will be part of the exercise, and will be supported by the research and analysis developed in the initial portion of the semester, in conjunction with the perpetrated on-site explorations and findings. The scale of each intervention will be localised and dimensioned to its surrounding context, to coexist and engage harmoniously with it.

Site: Orbetello, selected by each group based on research and project ambition

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. Scales of intervention intermingle, strangely connecting genetically modified microbes with vast toxic territories, juxtaposing the delicately short life-cycle of at-risk species with the unimaginably slow decaying rate of heavy metals dispersed in water. 
Focusing on the abandoned site of a chemical fertilizer factory at the edge of the Orbetello lagoon, this studio section will operate as
a collaborative think-tank to develop shared re-imaginations of a toxic post-industrial super block. Escaping grandiose narratives of revitalization, often promoted under the alluring guise of an harmonious return to a ‘natural’ or ‘untouched’ state,
we will operate with fragmentary, multiple and always already partial interventions: the class will work on a n-handed site proposal, with each group further developing close-up narratives of adaptation.

Site: ex SI. To. Co. Factory in Orbetello Scalo

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 critically addressing current means of production and material extraction. 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 constant change, 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 quarry south of Terrarossa, Monte Argentario

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