Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student should know the theoretical and operative instruments that pertain to architectural design, applied to the different degrees and extent of intervention, from architecture to urban design, to the relationship between architecture and landscape.

Course contents

The architectural design work is rooted in a tradition of studies that considers the architectural practice as strictly related with the theoretical elaboration and reflection on architecture. The objective is to consider the topic of the composition and invention of architecture in its necessary relation with the construction of the city and the territory, revealing the underlying order of the architectural morphology.

Places and architectures, both built or just imagined, are considered as borders within which the entrenchment of architecture is defined: they are space intended as the main scenario of the constant reinvention where the past and new are part of the same elaboration.

The work that this studio intends to carry out focuses on the definition of the architectural project in relation to the construction of the “urban” space; if we consider architecture as a science characterized by its specific multidisciplinary corpus, and intended as a process of acquiring knowledge of urban facts, we can therefore infer that shape coincides with the result of such a process, and with the most suitable solution to the same needs which have required the construction of architecture in the first place.

Therefore, the design defines itself in a technical-practical dimension, which leads to the analysis of how during times and years, answers have developed to specific questions of architecture, creating typical solutions; finally the design separates itself from its historical dimension as it leaves behind the very meanings which gradually have been associated to the forms.

The main field of action of the design work will indeed be the relationship which is established with architectural tradition and with building typologies, in which the correct response to problems posed to architecture has crystallized in permanent forms.

The main area of application of the workshop will be the territory of Emilia Romagna, particularly the one of Bologna, and the realisation of a mixed-destination complex; the Design Workshop will deal with a frequent task of urban design, which is the need to modify the characters of a rural area to respond to new needs dictated by infrastructural transformations.

The relationship between the settlement and the design of the territory, and the relationship between the territory and its elements of composition, define the logic relations and connections that the new design will have to address.

Once again, the hypothesis of a transformation aims to outline the project according to composition and structural lines intended to define it as part of an hypothesis of construction that pertains to the entire territory and the whole of its constituting elements; in this way, the design will relate with the actual reading of the architecture of the place for which is intended, with the peculiarities of the different natural and built elements, but also with the clear character of the territory, with its historic structure of settlement. Therefore, it also relates with the concatenation of urban facts at different scales, that ties the “house” to the division and occupation of land, the characters of the urban patterns, and to the relationship between open spaces and built elements.

Referring to an established experience, the design looks at built architectures aiming to understand fixed connections and looks at the different urban parts or built elements of the territory measuring them against what has already been designed and realized. By doing so, it will be possible to place once again the built space, and the ways of its construction, within the architectural design.

The necessary re-formalization that such a relationship requires, induces the deepening of the relationship between new hypothesis and consolidated territory, between old and new, showing that the problem coincides, once again, with the need to reason upon the transformation of “urban facts” by analysing their nature, their specific characters, so that the acts of understanding and designing architecture are inextricably linked in one process.


Progetti per Pavia, a cura di Rosaldo Bonicalzi. Milano: Libreria Clup, 2003.

Focillon, Henry. Vita delle forme. Milano: Minuziano, 1945 (Torino: G.Einaudi, 2002);

* Grassi, Giorgio. Scritti scelti 1965 -1999. Milano: F. Angeli, 2000, in particolare gli scritti seguenti:

Architettura e razionalismo, pp.39-63

Rurale e urbano nell’architettura, pp.97-110

Il formalismo nell’architettura moderna, pp.176-182

Risposta a tre domande sulla monumentalità, pp.224-225

Questioni di progettazione, pp.226-233

Architettura lingua morta 1, pp.239-248

Grassi, Giorgio. Una vita da architetto. Milano: F. Angeli, 2008;

Hilberseimer, Ludwig. Architettura a Berlino degli anni ‘20, Milano: F. Angeli, 1979 (Milano: F. Angeli, 1981);

* Hilberseimer, Ludwig. Mies van der Rohe. Milano: Clup 1984 (Milano: CittàStudi, 1993);

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. Tristi tropici. Milano: Il Saggiatore, 1960 (Milano: Il Saggiatore 2015);

* Loos, Adolf. Parole nel vuoto. Milano: Adelphi, 1972 (Milano: Adelphi 2014);

Lord, James. Un ritratto di Giacometti. Roma: Nottetempo, 2004;

Martí Arís, Carlos. Le variazioni dell’identità. Il tipo in architettura. Milano: CittàStudi, 1990 (Milano: CittàStudi, 1993);

Pracchi, Attilio. Il tetto e le stelle. Osservazioni sulla casa tradizionale e le fiabe. Bologna: Ogni uomo è tutti gli uomini, 2015;

Rogers, Ernesto Nathan. Esperienza dell’architettura. Torino: G. Einaudi 1958 (Milano: Skira 1997);

Rossi, Aldo. Autobiografia scientifica. Parma: Pratiche, 1990 (Milano: Il Saggiatore, 2009);

* Rossi, Aldo. Scritti scelti sull’architettura e la città 1956-1972, a cura di Rosaldo Bonicalzi. Milano: Clup, 1978 (Macerata: Quodlibet, 2012), in particolare gli scritti seguenti:

Considerazioni sulla morfologia urbana e la tipologia edilizia, pp.195-210

Tipologia, manualistica e architettura, pp.277-288

L’architettura della ragione come architettura di tendenza, pp.345-352

Architettura e città: passato e presente, pp.439-445

Savini, Maura. La fondazione architettonica della campagna. Uno studio sulla pianura bolognese, Bologna: L’Artiere Edizionitalia, 1999;

La città interrotta, a cura di Maura Savini. Bologna: Renoedizioni, 2010;

* Tessenow, Heinrich. Osservazioni elementari sul costruire. Milano: F. Angeli, 1979 (Milano: F. Angeli, 2016);

Woollen, Malcolm. Erik Gunnar Asplund. Landscapes and buildings. New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis, 2019;

Ulteriori indicazioni bibliografiche saranno fornite durante lo svolgimento del corso.

Students are requested to read all texts and writings marked with an asterisk, and at least one additional text chosen from the other bibliographical references.

Teaching methods

The didactic structure of the studio supposes a structure based on the necessary continuity and relation, built in the design process, between theory, hypothesis of construction, technical elements and drawing. The design process will be centered upon and followed through the constant discussion between professor and work groups, and through moments of collective discussion within the entire workshop.

Assessment methods

The exam is centered upon a discussion concerning the choices operated during the design process regarding the main theoretical, architectural, and designing problems identified and met in the project.

The evaluation will revolve around the logic of the designing choices as compared to the identified designing problem; in the same way, it will also pertain to the adequacy of the designing solution towards both the specific location of the project and the more general hypothesis.

Teaching tools

The students will employ tools of digital drawing, and also digital 3D modelling (or, alternatively, they will be able to realize scale models).

Office hours

See the website of Maura Savini