cod. 1007710

Academic year 2022/23
2° year of course - Annual
Professor responsible for the course unit
integrated course unit
18 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

At the end of the course we expect the student to be able to:
- know the design process from setting needs to their formal translation into Architecture with particular reference to the theme of figuration (see Contents);
- have a critical awareness of the devices of the architectural composition and its fundamental importance in the design exercise, including contextual;
- analyze and understand the architectural project in terms of the language and poetics of its author (1st Dublin descriptor);
- apply the skills acquired in the context of the architecture project in reference to the Contents (2nd Dublin descriptor);
- acquire a necessary and indispensable autonomy of critical (or self-critical) judgment on the architectural project declined with respect to the specific themes described in the Contents (3rd Dublin descriptor);
- enhance communication skills within the architectural project in particular with respect to the indications described in the Contents (4th, 5th Dublin descriptor).


Fundamental prerequisites are the proficiency to have learned the contents of the first year history, drawing, design / composition courses. In the Laboratory no particular skills will be required in the use of drawing software: it is emphasized that the representations useful for the project are not linked to the knowledge of a specific program and that it is the student's freedom to choose with which tool to draw a plan, an elevation, a section, an axonometry, a perspective, etc.

Course unit content

The architectural project is the synthesis of the various applied knowledge and acts through the translation of needs (functional, social, historical, but also structural, linguistic, poetic, etc.) into Architecture.
The Laboratory (Studio) is the place in which to operate dialectically (student-teacher and student-student) the synthesis of all the knowledge already acquired or in the process of being acquired.
In the design process of the SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE DESIGN STUDIO, the theme of figuration emerges as a tool for interpreting and expressing the representative meanings of architecture within the urban landscape in its historical evolution and in its contemporary phenomenology. For this purpose the following topics will be covered:
- Distinction between figure and image;
- Figuration as a recognizable cultural datum in the dialectic between author and context;
- Elements of compositional construction of the figure
The theme of the laboratory referable to a specific public space is assumed as a settlement problem of architecture where the project has the opportunity to measure itself with elements of characterized figurative entity within the theme itself and in the relationship with the landscape of the context. Particularly significant are the in-depth analyzes concerning the relationship between urban figures and architectural figures, between interior and exterior as well as the concept of three-dimensionality of the figure and the tools of language.
In addition to the compositional-design application, some lessons will be devoted to the meaning of figuration in architecture, as well as the historiography of styles and the simulacra of contemporary architecture-image. The Laboratory's activity also includes the study of some authors with particular focus on the role of language and the meaning of poetics. some ex-tempore exercises of critical rewriting of a figurative composition will also be proposed.
The relationship between representation techniques and architectural language - plastic modeling of the figure as well as the deepening of structures, materials and systems in relation to figuration is also fundamental.
In this design process, sustainable technologies for architecture are integrated, intended not as a mere paratactic adoption in the definition of the project but as active components of the compositional syntax.

Full programme

The project will concern the main theme of the architecture of public spaces contextualized in the Cittadella district in Parma, in particular in the area of the Tardini stadium. Imagining the decentralization of the stadium in a position more suited to its use, the laboratory will tackle the redesign of the area as an opportunity to reflect on the theme of environmental pre-existing, the memory of places and the relationship between new and existing.

The project, therefore, will have to include some historical pre-existing structures (the access door to the area, the original structure of the stadium, etc.) and from there to create equipment coherent with the vocation and free time. This is also related to the park system of the first strip outside the historic center (Cittadella and Ferrari) and to the historic center itself in continuity with San Luca and the Maria Luigia college.


M. Tafuri, Storia dell’Architettura italiana 1944-1985, Einaudi, Turin 1986
R. Venturi, D. S. Brown, S. Izenour, Learning from Las Vegas: the forgotten symbolism of architectural form, Cambridge 1972. Italian translation by M. Sabini, Imparando da Las Vegas. Il simbolismo dimenticato della forma architettonica (Cluva, 1985); Edition for sale, Imparare da Las Vegas. Il simbolismo dimenticato della forma architettonica (Quodlibet, 2018)
Issues of the International Review of Architecture Zodiac. Rivista founded by Adriano Olivetti, new series edited by Guido Canella (nn. 1-21, 1989-1999)
Issues of the International Open Access e-Journal (class A rating) "FAMagazine. Research and Projects on Architecture and the City" (Issues available on

Teaching methods

The teaching activities will be conducted by favoring active learning methods alternating with lectures, illustration of projects and case studies, as well as collective review seminars. During the case study (in general authors and / or contemporary architecture projects), the comparison with the student on the basic themes of architectural design will be privileged, also in order to bring out any foreknowledge on the topics in question by the students.
A fundamental activity of the Laboratory concerns the student's self-learning. Starting from case studies / projects indicated and emerged during lectures and / or reviews, the student is invited to deepen independently through the study of materials (published drawings, articles and essays) found on authoritative sources such as books and magazines, ( attention to the consultation of materials via the internet because they are often of poor quality)
The course will instead activate experiential learning cycles in which students will be required to apply knowledge through a rewrite of an architectural project.

Assessment methods and criteria

The course provides for the verification of learning through the evaluation of the project intended as a synthesis of knowledge and the student's ability to apply them. Any other exercises and / or insights (Ex-Tempore / research / case study) will be evaluated during the year.
The final oral exam consists of an individual interview through which the knowledge and critical understanding of the built architecture (1st Dublin descriptor) in relation to the project will be verified. The interview will also verify communication and learning / reasoning skills, clarity of presentation and use of the specific terminology of the discipline (4th, 5th Dublin descriptor). The ability to apply knowledge will be verified through the project documents (those necessary for understanding / communicating the project are required: preliminary analysis, general plan, planivolumetry, plans, elevations, sections, axonometric views, perspective views, sketches, diagrams, maquette/s).
During the final exam, in the case of group design/exercise, each member of the group must master the entire exercise in its entirety as well as explicit the parts that he personally supervised.

Other information

The course will make use of the support of the Moodle Elly platform on which materials useful for the course will be uploaded. In addition to being invited to register and regularly consult the Elly page of the laboratory, students are invited to use the platform as a teacher-student communication tool.