Cities and territories to live [Luna D’Emilio]

The thematic network “Cities and territories to live” is inspired by the motto “A better life in towns” of the European Urban Charter. The “European manifesto for a new urbanity” stands up with clear evidence in a juncture of severe urban crisis in which seems urgent to define new models and elaborate new opportunities able to usher innovative environmental policies and urban planning paradigms. In particular, this section addresses to those issues emerging from the international debate which call for urban practices of sustainability and equity such as: the role of environment, nature and agriculture in cities; the improvement of the physical urban space; the rehabilitation of existing residential architectural heritage and the right to live there; a sustainable mobility and the ecological efficiency of the city; the community development and public participation of citizens, the respect to urban diversity and the practices of multicultural integration; the creation of social and cultural opportunities. The articles published report examples of emerging good urban practices that are spreading under the keywords of sustainability / environment / solidarity / knowledge / citizenship, and have the intent to recognize and explore new paths, show where significant progress has already been made and what has still to be done.

Structure and infrastructure [Alessio Pipinato]

Structure and infrastructure” is the thematic section of EDA dedicated to the multidisciplinary scope of construction and design, specifically dedicated to structures and transport infrastructure and service. In this section studies, research and realizations sent by academics, designers, construction companies, local authorities, such as universities, research centers, municipalities, provinces, regions, roads, highways, railways, port interport, hospitals managers. Jobs sent to the editorial staff are selected on the basis of the criteria of originality, consistency with the sectorial theme, the innovativeness of the proposed topic, the scientific and design importance. Each paper is evaluated within 30 days from the receipt, and the author will receive by this time the outcome of the peer review carried out, including judgment. The work deemed worthy of publication will appear on-line at the time of acceptance from the author and are valued as national publication online with ISSN code.

Critical fundamentals of architectural restoration [Olimpia Niglio]

The critical approach of the restoration and its creative foundation can be verified and clarified back to reflect on the close relationships that exist between and restoration project. If the restoration is to understand the work of which is done through a historical-critical insight here is that the starting point is the setting of a cognitive methodology far from deviations utilitarian and policies, but set on a path that we groped to define how project of knowledge. Here history, importance, anatomical study and surveys dialogue and compare. But the restoration is nourished by “doubtful” and as such requires conceptual rigor, practical spirit, openness and above all attention to the relationship between conservation and innovation, demanding their intimate fusion. The restoration project is an act on this issue and this “thematic area of research” to analyze and deal with different cultural and disciplinary fields.

The architecture of reason: tradition, history and city [Gaetano Fusco with Renato Capozzi and Federica Visconti]

A dangerous misunderstanding of the contemporary architecture is the idea of the invention at all costs. The main aim of architects appears the will of distinguish themselves by the existing as physical context and, above all, as heritage that history of architecture produced. The paradox is that this attitude, in the age of globalization, produces the risk that cities – even if they are pre-eminently the place of local identities – end up to be all similar. The Network called “The Architecture of reason: tradition, history and city”, in an inclusive and wide way, wants to be the place of confrontation between theoretical, of project and research experiences with a common background: the idea that – contrary to the avant- garde where the progress is intended as diversity/refusal the architectural form is rational not because it “prefers the right angle” but because it is intelligible, able to explain itself and, in this way, shared. This attitude is what we call RATIONAL OPTION in architecture. It is a definition that origins in the theoretical thought of Aldo Rossi and, in this sense, is a specificity of the Italian cultural heritage; points of the Theory are: a process of disciplinary re-foundation careful to the HISTORY of architecture and its TRADITION; the structuralist analysis of architecture starting form the physical and material peculiarities of the CITY. 

Utopic cities: theory and planning  [Claudia Lamberti]

Designing a city has always been a program of the social and political relationships among men that will dwell it. The laws of the several rulers were turned into ideal cities, “carved in stone words”, as Piero Pierotti said.Since ancient times, when cities were meant to be the living place of both gods and men, the architect’s imagination and the commitment’s purpose worked together to build new settlements. The word “utopia” was born in Greece, but it reached its climax within urban planning during Humanism and Renaissance:since Filarete’s and Francesco di Giorgio Martini’s projects, until  Thomas More’s emblematic book and the writings of such philosophers as Tommaso Campanella, that was “the Age of ideal cities”. In the 18h century, all of the theorists who had begun to study the improvement of the living condition of workers, inevitably start designing new cities and decent housing with shared facilities.Owen, Cabet, Fourier provide workers’ self-sufficient cities, instead of dehumanizing suburbs of the metropolis. During the 19th and 20th century, many European cities were equipped with new means of transport, trams, trains, cars, and the early planes. Intellectual and citizen were fascinated by such improvements as the invention of gas and electric public lighting, but the age of economic and scientific progress, did not coincide with an overall improvement of living conditions and housing. Popular neighbourhoods were at the same time alienating, being formed by the so-called “rental barracks”, in which households were concentrated in a few square meters, and  alienated, as the single-family homes forming “Garden Cities”, were sterile symbols of social separatism. With the outcome of cinema, dreams and criticism of urban planners found a new space in the movies, drawing portraits of how men perceived the metropolis they were living in, as well as pictures of how they imagined the ideal city. Nowadays, in the 21st century, some architects declare the death of urban planningand the impossibility of governing the urban chaos, that follows autonomous laws.Politics seems to operate in the complexity only in a fragmented way.Is there anyway a place, in architectural theory and practice, for a new urban utopia? This thematic network will publish interdisciplinary essays on all these topics, from ancient times to contemporary age.

Contemporary declinations and local contexts   [Chiara Visentin]

Read the respective local identities not only to understand them but above all as a valid help for a more aware design of the places. Architecture, past, present and future, is in fact strongly linked to how the places are and how they behave. The specific characteristics of different architectural typologies, shapes and materials of buildings are often closely linked to the different conceptions and conditions of the context and place those have often influenced architectural practice. There are many terms that could make us divert towards a wrong consideration of the context, instead of founding value of a creative activity of man, among these: vernacular, regional, historicist, local, pre-existent, mannerist, postmodern, archaic; in reality, removing us from more or less dangerous architectural caricatures, there is no doubt how the place, the landscape, the context or whatever else one might call it, is the form of a Nation to understand in its most complex and fascinating reality. Holder of a real power, both in social memory and in physical structure, for the fundamental relationship between invention and setting that has had and must continue to give to architecture. For a coexistence of experiences that transforms into continuous innovation what has always been alive, a perfect blend of personal and pre-existing elements provided by the place. As an open space for dialogue, this thematic network will consciously investigate the diversity of cases, will examine cultural stratifications historically present, will listen to the reasons for the context, accepting relevancy from time to time without renouncing the tradition of modernity and the dynamic conscience of the contemporary, facing problems without prejudices.

Toward a seismic architecture  [Alberto Parducci]
Il problema riguarda, ancora una volta, il rapporto fra architettura e struttura nella pratica professionale corrente, dove non sempre ci si rende conto di quanto sia importante l’armonia fra queste due componenti progettuali; armonia essenziale nelle zone sismiche. L’ambiente d’affari in cui si lavora separa la funzione di un “architetto”, che definisce l’opera essendo impegnato a risolvere problemi distributivi da inserire in forme compositive rispondenti ai codici della scuola di appartenenza, da quella di un “ingegnere”, che interviene dopo ritenendosi custode di magici procedimenti numerici, ormai automatizzati e neppure sempre efficaci, da soli, nel caso sismico. Entrambi sembrano però convinti che il filtraggio attraverso un codice di calcolo minuzioso possa rendere veramente antisismica qualunque costruzione così progettata. L’anomalia è favorita anche, non certo meno, dall’ormai tradizionale separazione culturale fra i percorsi formativi delle due categorie professionali. Questo “ambito tematico di ricerca”  intende costruire un luogo virtuale di incontro, di dialogo e di confronto scientifico tra architettura e struttura e ci auguriamo che non resti solo virtuale. C

Materials, technology, innovation and environment  [Giuseppe de Giovanni]

The rapid technological change, which sees the presence of new materials, new technical and constructive solutions, is an important moment of reflection within the building process for the verification of the benefits that can derive from this change also in relation to social sustainability, economic and environmental. The increasing amount of ‘evolved’ materials available on the market today and the greater articulation of the construction process phases have increased the level of complexity of the project and of the construction, requiring the participation of more and more specialized professionals able to work in synergy. The possibility of creating a network between different ‘knowledge’ is certainly a valuable support for updating knowledge, combining different research experiences that may concern the use of materials and innovative technologies applied to architecture and design with increased interest in environmental sustainability. The information disseminated through the thematic network, the transfer of innovation and technological experimentation should allow users to increase their knowledge of innovative methods and tools suitable for defining and measure the technological quality of an artifact, its management, its design and in general its production process.