93716 - Architectural Design I

Course Unit Page


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

Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

Once completed the course, the student knows the theories and methods for reading the architectural and urban elements, he/she knows how to identify, relate and hierarchize them within the context, he/she is able to return the results of these analyses in coherent documents and graphic elements.

Course contents

The course 'Architectural Design I' (Module 1 and 2) (6 CFU) is part of the integrated course 'The City and Territory values Lab.' which also involves the disciplines of history of architecture with the course 'History and Theory of Architecture' (3 CFU) and of architectural representation with the course 'Methods for the Representation and Modelling of the City and Territory' (6 CFU).

The course aims to address the theme of urban analysis as a design tool. The contemporary city presents new opportunities for analysis and mapping; the cartographic representation of the city can be a means through which the project and the strategies of urban transformation can achieve a visual coherence. Cartographic images become an instrument of synthesis, require conceptual choices that aren’t innocent vehicles of information: representation forces choices and accentuates the difference between abstraction and reality, in a continuous mutation of meanings between urban space and cartographic space. Analysis of the City and Practice of Cartography should not be understood as simple tools of representation, but as a means to highlight with critical attention the dynamics of transformation of urban space, both public and private.

The city of Bologna and part of its peri-urban territory will be studied through an analytical path of knowledge that, from a reading of historical maps, will reconstruct the process of development of the urban form, going to identify elements of permanence, urban facts, monuments, forms of settlement, natural elements, infrastructure, etc., to establish design lines of development or enhancement of the existing. The course will be marked by a series of seminars, reviews and presentations of the progress of the graphic works produced.

The activity of the course is fundamentally of laboratory, students will analyze the urban structure divided into thematic groups.

The courses 'History and Theory of Architecture' and 'Methods for the Representation and Modelling of the City and Territory' will be closely related to the activities of the course of ‘Architectural design I’ and will allow on the one hand the deepening of the themes of the European city and on the other hand will allow a deepening of graphics through the use of 3D models and digital representation techniques.

The course will be characterized by a first cognitive phase, based on critical/analytical exercises and by a phase of design application of the acquired knowledge through the identification of 'potential areas' unified by the common concept of 'limit'. An example is the structure of the Walls of the city, testified by the permanence of some fragments and by the presence of the twelve urban Gates; it is identifiable in areas characterized from the formal or functional point of view, as the University citadel or the Fair area; it is visible in that limit generated by the presence of a different urban pattern that isolates some great residential districts or still in those areas of limit between built environment and natural/rural environment.

The study of the city will therefore allow to know its development, but at the same time to identify potential areas, here briefly highlighted as 'limit areas', to prefigure possible developments, related to different and increasingly fluid and temporary uses of urban space.


For a theoretical framework of the themes that will be addressed during the course, it is recommended to read some of the following books:

- K. Lynch, The Image of the City, Cambridge MA, The MIT Press, 1960

- E. N. Bacon, Design of Cities, The Viking Press, New York, 1967

- O.M. Ungers, R. Koolhaas, H. Kollhoff, A. Owaska, P. Riemann, The City in the City, Berlin: a Green Archipelago, Cornell University, 1977

- A. Rossi, The Architecture of the City, Oppositions Books, Cambridge MA, The MIT Press, 1984.

- H. Hertzberger, Lessons for students in architecture. 010 Publishers, Rotterdam, 1991.

- R. Koolhaas, B. Mau, S,M,L,XL, The Monacelli Press, NY 1997.

- M. Gandelsonas, X-Urbanism, Princeton Architectural Press, 2000.

- J. Gehl, Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space, Washington, Island Press, 2011.

- F. Hertweck, S. Marot (ed), The City in the City, Berlin: A Green Archipelago, Lars Müller publishers, Zurich, 2013

Teaching methods

The course is organized through laboratorial activities with design exercises as application of the acquired notions; the students will analyze the urban structure divided into thematic groups.

Assessment methods

The final evaluation will take into account the results achieved in the different activities ('Architectural Design I', 'History and Theory of Architecture', 'Methods for the Representation and Modelling of the City and Territory'). The final exam will combine the evaluation of the project exercises developed within the single teaching modules and an oral discussion on the contents of the activities carried out during the course.

Grading on the exam will depend on the quality of the exercises and the of their presentation, with references to the course bibliography. In addition to drawing and representation techniques, particular importance will be given to the ability to use appropriate and correct disciplinary terminology.

The exam will be preceded by a mandatory seminar (details will be provided at the beginning of the course). The exam will take place with the exposition and presentation of the analysis and mapping work.

The examination committee will assign the student a grade following an evaluation grid that will consider the quality of the exposition, the knowledge acquired, the theoretical depth, the correctness of the project and the quality of the drawings.

Teaching tools

Each student needs to be provided with tools for the development of the project, both for hand drawing and digital drawing. All the drawings will be developed on a layout that will be provided at the beginning of the course.

The related teaching materials will be available to the student in digital format on UNIBO's VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT platform (https://virtuale.unibo.it/ )

Office hours

See the website of Annalisa Trentin

See the website of Serena Orlandi