1. Purpose of the course
The course aims to introduce the student to the knowledge of elementary spatial, functional and constructive situations, conducting a reflection on the theme of living and introducing the Vitruvian notions of firmitas, utilitas and venustas, developing analytical and design exercises on the theme of residence.
The reflection on living - and, at its minimum, the reflection on housing - produces fundamental and foundational acquisitions regarding metric issues, the qualities of space, its ways of use, its graduation into public and private, internal and external, to the paths etc ...
The Vitruvian components are introduced by showing their integration into architectural artefacts and indicating which conceptual and thematic areas of the project they are to be referred to, individually and in the changing mutual interdependencies.
However, in the lessons of the course, it is intended to offer an evolutionary version of the components themselves, replacing them with the three homologous notions of Technical Education, Anthropological Education and Aesthetic Education. The latter appear to be more appropriate to represent and present the issues of making architecture today and of its teaching.
2.Individual and collective
The individual as well as the collective sphere correspond to specific organizations of the space, relating to the way it is used.
A house is a place of intersection between individual areas (one's bed, one's room, one's wardrobe, etc.) and collective ones (the dining table, the kitchen, the living room, etc.); similarly, a city is a place where areas of different degrees of individuality and / or collectivity are arranged, compared and overlapped.
This is why the relationship between the individual and the collective is one of the great themes that have always accompanied the discipline of architecture and since the postwar period, in particular, reflection on these aspects has assumed a crucial role.
In general terms, the definition of individual and collective spatial areas, and the organization of the space that follows, is one of the engines of the construction of the city and the territory. It is therefore considered extremely appropriate for the student to become aware of it starting from the first year.
3. Course Theme
The course deals with residence and specifically, with two-family houses.
Students are required to study issues related to residency in reference to four areas:
1-theory of architecture (thematic dictionaries, concepts enunciated by the masters - for example: Le Corbusier, the house is a machine a habiter)
2-exemplary projects indicated by the course (for example: Palladio, La Rotonda; Le Corbusier, villa in Garches; Koolhaas, house in the woods)
3-surrounding contemporary building (open your eyes: look, with a critical spirit, at the houses with which our territories are populated)
4-manuals (Architect's Manual, Neufert, performance specifications etc ...)
These four areas are indicated because they represent, with a good approximation, the sources of knowledge on the subject and the place where experiences, whether good or bad, are stored. More precisely it means:
-the theory of architecture, as a place of Definitions;
- exemplary projects, as a place of quality and awareness;
- current construction, as a place of banality and unawareness;
- manuals, as a place for modeling and technical knowledge.
Furthermore, the simultaneous attention to this plurality of areas intends to make students aware, right from the start, of the distance that separates the elaborations of architecture from the mechanisms of transformation of the territory, that is to say the rare collimation between cultural needs and real economic and productive logics. The objective of an effective cultural action must always be the reduction of this distance and the pursuit of widespread quality.
The course is designed as the first part of a two-year course and is divided into a 4 CFU workshop, (which can be considered a concentrated version of the old course of Theories and Techniques of Architectural Design), followed by the main course (10 CFU) in turn organized into three exercises, of different duration.
In addition, it is a consolidated practice in this faculty for the teachers of Composition 1, the following academic year, to teach Composition 2, usually bringing with them most of the students of the previous year (without any obligation, of course). Given this custom, the organization of the Composition 1 course, the topics covered, the topics covered by the lectures, the architects illustrated, the exercises carried out are preparatory to the next course, which, moreover, is organized assuming the previous one.
The course starts with an immersive and intensive experience, lasting six days. The workshop is divided into lessons and exercises, and both are necessary to provide students with the essential rudiments for effective communication and for the knowledge of the simple elements of architecture (What is a wall? What is a window? is a bedroom made? ... etc.)
A_Objects / Concepts
It will last a week and requires students to get acquainted with objects and concepts of construction and architecture. Among the objects we consider: basement, wall, roof, pillar, beam, floor, door, window, staircase, cladding, excavation, structure (in the static sense), etc ... Among the concepts we consider: axis, symmetry, projection, section , repetition, syntax, parataxis, center, edge, periphery, addition, subtraction etc ...
Experience has shown that knowledge relating to these objects and these concepts is scarce and confusing, even in advanced years: it is therefore good for students to acquire them immediately. To this end, each student is required to prepare himself on these notions. The acquired knowledge will be subject to verification with evaluation.
The purpose of the exercise is to induce students to compare with artifacts of recognized quality, all belonging to a specific architectural school (the Paulista school). In this way it will also be possible to show what it means to work within a tradition, taking on some themes and developing them originally.
But, above all, the students will be engaged in an exercise in disassembling the artifact, in producing graphic drawings of an analytical nature and in the construction of a well-defined and openable model, which allows one side to measure the transition from the two-dimensionality of the drawings three-dimensionality of the objects, on the other hand to stimulate manual skills and knowledge that rests in the hand.
C_ Semi-detached houses
The design activity will begin with clarifying to the students that doing architecture means neither providing a mere functional response to a practical need, nor producing a building product correctly resolved in its technical aspects; rather, making architecture means taking on the poetic responsibility of the project every time, imagining a way of life, expressed in the organization of spaces and their qualification; take care of the place you are going to modify; and build the project on the basis of a theme that the designer chooses, or that, in this didactic simulation, the course assigns.
The usual design experience of the composition courses will consist in this case in the design of a two-family house equipped with a small production annex (clinic, business, studio ...): it is therefore a simple building program, concerning two apartments of approximately 100/120 sqm. each, plus the relative external spaces; all placed in an area indicated by the course.
The exercise will last a minimum of six weeks; some mid-term reviews will be subject to evaluation.
The course indicates to students a reference bibliography, which students are required to consider in order to find the necessary cultural and operational supports; specific bibliographic information may be provided during the course.
This is accompanied by the anthology of the course, that is, a small collection of articles that students are obliged to study and know and about which they will be questioned during the exam.
5. Conducting the course
The course is divided into lectures, ex cathedra communications and seminars.
The lessons are divided into lessons in grouped courses (with the students of Prof. Misino) and lessons of this course. The first will be communicated from time to time; the lessons of this course will cover:
0. Prolusion / introduction
2.What architects do (Le Corbusier, for example)
3.Utilitas upgraded_Anthropological education
4. Firmitas upgraded_Technical education
5. Venustas upgraded_Education Aesthetic
6. Body and space
7. Training actions 1
8. Training actions 2
The communications mainly consist of contributions on the work of some architects, chosen from among the leading masters of modern contemporary architecture:
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (FB)
Ignazio Gardella (ET)
Adalberto Libera (FB)
Kazuyo Sejima (AB)
Paulo Mendes ad Rocha (MG)
Rem Koolhaas (FB)
These communications will consist of a concise illustration of the architect's cultural and professional career and a detailed illustration of three residential works.
In total, eighteen houses will be meticulously presented. The week following the last presentation, an individual query will be carried out on the blackboard, in which, in three minutes, it will be necessary to illustrate the salient features of the requested house with schematic graphics. Information on the modalities of this study phase will be provided in due course.
Alongside this cycle, some works or projects deemed useful for the development of ongoing exercises may be illustrated in the classroom.
5.1.2_Seminars and Reviews
The seminar activity consists of classroom work under the supervision of the teaching team; the work done in the classroom is different from that done at home, it is a place for discussion and in-depth study of the issues raised by the exercises and allows for a comparison with the activities of other students, evaluating similarities and differences between ways of doing. This confrontation is a moment of reflection and therefore of growth.
The revisions are a fundamental didactic moment, the intent of which is not only (not so much) to direct the processing towards the best outcome, but to make the student acquire awareness about the mechanisms of the design process, the internal coherences of the project, to a conduction of the same congruent with the premises and the initial reasoning, even in the case of their complete subversion.
5.1.3_Materials provided by the course
The course will make available to students, at one of the copy shops in viale Pindaro, a CD containing this same program, a list of reference projects, the basic cartographic materials, the anthology of the course and anything else necessary and appropriate. .
5.2.1_ Computer use and hand drawing
Students will be able to use the computer for various writing software (such as Word), graphic and photographic processing (such as Photoshop or Illustrator), presentation (such as Powerpoint) and also 3D modeling (such as 3DStudiomax). But they are required to draw by hand the documents relating to exercises B and C, using pen and / or pencils and / or markers and / or collage on glossy paper or not.
It is not about rejecting the benefits of technology. Given that the computer is a tool like the pencil, even if with much greater potential, nevertheless the hand drawing remains a central element not only of representation but also of architectural thought. The question concerns the eye and the hand; the eye, because the hand drawing allows and imposes, in every moment, unlike the computer, to accurately evaluate the relationships between the parts, as regards their dimensions, the "weight" as a whole and the "graphic weight "; the hand, because there is a "thought of the hand", operating in the act of drawing, which must be known and developed. The computer comes next. It has too often happened to see, even in graduation sessions, bathrooms larger than bedrooms and partitions designed "heavier" than load-bearing walls: a good hand drawing exercise reduces the possibility of making these mistakes.
Students will work in groups of three (no more and no less), but some activities will be strictly individual.
Students are always required to come to the classroom equipped with the necessary equipment for work (paper, pencils, pens, cardboard, cutters, glue, adhesive tape. and laptop).
Students are required to bring with them, every time, all the documents of the previous phases, to allow the teacher to evaluate the development of the work and to highlight the various steps of the project development.
Students are required to look for and show the references used in the development of the work (notes, arguments, photocopies of articles and projects, ways of using them ...).
The activity of accumulating references, various materials, reflections, sketches, diagrams, etc ... will constitute a notebook of the course, that is a sort of strictly individual tool for recording the work done and measuring one's growth: a way to do not disperse thoughts and reflections. This notebook must be created day by day (and not prepared the week before the exam) and will be requested and observed by the teaching team during the seminar activity.
The notebook will be subject to specific evaluation.
5.3-Methods of examination
The exam will be individual and will consist of a discussion on the results of all the exercises, on the topics covered by the various lessons and contributions, on the compulsory texts. Each exercise will be subject to specific assessment and all assessments will contribute to determining the final exam grade. The final grade will also be defined in relation to the results of the partial assessments.
5.4-Rules of good conduct
The use of computers is not allowed during lessons: they will be turned off and put away; we kindly ask you to silence personal phones; the tables are used to work and not to deposit backpacks and jackets. Students are asked to observe these elementary rules of conduct, so that inside the classroom there is always a "laboratory" atmosphere.
Punctuality with respect to the agreed times is recommended.
Finally, please note that attendance at the course is mandatory, and that an excessive number of absences prevents you from taking the exam.
Herman Hertzberger, Lezioni di architettura, Laterza, Bari 1996
Ludovico Quaroni, Progettare un edificio. Otto lezioni di architettura, Mazzotta, Milano 1977
Piero Ostilio Rossi, La costruzione del progetto architettonico, Laterza, Bari 1996
On the sense of action:
Giancarlo De Carlo, Gli spiriti dell’architettura, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1992
Federico Bilò, Tessiture dello spazio. Tre progetti di Giancarlo De Carlo del 1961, Quodlibet, Macerata 2014
Federico Bilò (a cura di), Ordinariness. Progetto e Quotidiano, “PPC” n. 29/30, 2015
On living and housing:
Maurizio Vitta, Dell’abitare, Einaudi, Torino 2008
Irenio Diotallevi e Franco Marescotti, Il problema sociale, costruttivo ed economico dell’abitazione, Poligono Società Editoriale, Milano 1948-50; ristampa Officina Edizioni, Roma 1984 (in biblioteca)
About Le Corbusier:
Jean-Louis Cohen, Le Corbusier, Taschen 2005 (da comprare)
Willy Boesiger (a cura di), Le Corbusier, Zanichelli (da comprare)
Alexander Tzonis, Le Corbusier. La poetica della macchina e della metafora, Rizzoli, Milano 2001 (da comprare)
LC, Opera Completa in otto volumi, a cura di Willy Boesiger (in biblioteca)
About Mies van der Rohe:
Werner Blaser (a cura di), Mies van der Rohe, Zanichelli (da comprare)
Peter Carter, Mies van der Rohe al lavoro, Phaidon, London 2006 (in biblioteca)
Ludwig Hilberseimer, Mies van der Rohe, CLUP, Milano 2000 (da comprare)
Mies van der Rohe/Casas Houses, “2G” n. 48/49, 2009 (in biblioteca)
About Rem Koolhaas:
Jacques Lucan, Oma. Rem Koolhaas, Electa, Milano 1991
Roberto Gargiani, Rem Koolhaas/OMA, Laterza, Bari 2006 (da comprare)
Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York, Electa, Milano 2001
Federico Bilò (a cura di), Rem Koolhaas_Bigness_progeto e complssità artificiale, Edizioni Kappa, Roma 2006
For reflections on the space between the individual and collective dimensions:
Georges Perec, Specie di spazi, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino 1989
James Graham Ballard, Il condominio, Anabasi, Milano 1994