19090 - Architectural Composition Theories (A)

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module, the student knows and is able to identify the close relationship between project practice and theoretical reflection typical of architectural culture, and at the same time the general elements of architectural and urban composition theory.

Course contents

The Course of Theories of Architectural Composition (4 CFU), integrated with the Laboratory of Architectural Design of the third year, offers a corpus of lessons aimed at clarifying some theoretical issues addressed in the context of architectural and urban research developed within the School of Architecture of Cesena to investigate its sources, evolution and dissemination in the Italian and international context. During the lessons, a series of theoretical texts and writings considered as essential references will be introduced and critically interpreted, paying particular attention to the figure of some authors, their cultural environment, the influence of their theoretical contributions for the contemporary project. The interpretation and analysis of the work of these authors will allow the student to investigate the reasons for the project and to gain awareness of the discipline of composition. Recurring concepts such as type, form, city, composition, character, monument, structure, language and representation, common to the theoretical contributions proposed, will be explored in the specific disciplinary field of reference. The relationship between text and project, between text and image will be deepened. Some principles on which the architectural discipline is based are illustrated, both at the scale of the building and at that of the city, the sources and reference texts will also be expanded through the use of complementary contributions from guests of other Italian universities. A specific critical bibliography will be provided on the main topics covered in class and, where necessary, an additional in-depth anthology will be made available to students. The texts and projects presented and discussed during the lessons will allow the student to develop a personal preliminary reflection on the project. Theoretical knowledge will therefore constitute a basic tool for the process of making architecture. Theoretical foundation and practical experience will confront each other in the one-to-one relationship between textual and design dimension. The lessons will be accompanied by the development of an exercise aimed at deepening the topics introduced during the course.


- Ignasi de Solà-Morales, Decifrare l'architettura, “inscripciones” del XX secolo, Umberto Allemandi, Torino 2001;

- Henri Focillon, Vita delle forme seguita da elogio della mano, piccola Biblioteca Einaudi, Mi, 2002.

- Giorgio Grassi, Scritti scelti, 1965-1999, Franco Angeli, Milano 2000;

- Rafael Moneo, La solitudine degli edifici e altri scritti, Umberto Allemandi, Torino 1999;

- Rafael Moneo, Inquietudine teorica e strategia progettuale nell'opera di otto architetti contemporanei, Electa, Milano 2005;

- Nikolaus Pevsner, Storia e caratteri degli edifici, Fratelli Palombi srl, Roma, 1986.

- Ludovico Quaroni, Progettare un edificio. Otto lezioni di architettura, Gangemi, Roma, 1988.

- Aldo Rossi, Autobiografia scientifica, Pratiche, Parma 1990.

- Ernesto N. Rogers, Gli elementi del fenomeno architettonico, Guida, Napoli, 1981.

- Oswald Mathias Ungers, La città dialettica, Skira, Milano 1997.

Specific bibliography will be provided during the course of the lessons.

Teaching methods

The teaching module will take place through lectures but also through the comparison with some invited teachers. The lessons will propose a methodology that considers the relationship between text and iconographic apparatus as a priority. The use of photographic images and architectural drawings will allow in fact to deepen the reflection on architecture and, in particular, on analogue composition as a design method and tool for critical analysis.

Assessment methods

The Architectural Design Laboratory III (CI 12 CFU) consists, in addition to the characterizing teaching of Architectural Composition I (4 CFU), by a module of Theories of Architectural Composition (4 CFU).
The final exam and the verification of the understanding of the laboratory contents, or of the learning of the design techniques, will take place through the evaluation of the presentation of the project documents, of the exercises carried out during the year and the verification of knowledge of the theoretical issues dealt in the modules of Theories of Architectural Composition.

Teaching tools

Frontal lessons through the projection of slides, audio and / or video reproductions.

Office hours

See the website of Lamberto Amistadi