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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
Carmelo and Alessandro met while studying together at La Sapienza in Rome. Alessandro and Giulia met in Amsterdam while working for different offices and in 2019 they founded together with other collaborators the multidisciplinare collective SELVATICO. The decision to take part in this edition of Europan emerges from the common interest we have in the theme 'Living Cities'. The strategy focuses on merging the local knowledge of the site and experience of Carmelo, with the multidisciplinary approaches of Giulia and Alessandro, to create a new conversation which blends tradition and innovation.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic, Living cities?
The project wants to enhance the main character of the site, reinforcing its biodiversity value and at the same time interconnecting local inhabitants and places. We see the olive orchards as an incredible opportunity: an open-air museum, where farmers and the local community invite people to explore, experience and learn. The diversification of tourism will develop a year-round program, with a system of activities that emphasizes the local identity, forming the foundation for sustainable and multifunctional use of the territory.
The local character of the landscape is re-purposed in a new integrated and multifunctional equilibrium where the new network of slow mobility becomes the place where all the elements scattered in the landscape are preserved, protected, and re-connected. The project will strengthen the ecological tissues in a new enriched biodiverse landscape where social and productive dimensions are supported by sustainable mobility and responsible tourism. The local production and the protection of the territory is achieved through a circular approach where the loops of materials and resources are closed and work in synergy with the territory.
These themes are hot topics that trigger our profession of architects and designers in our society. Carmelo and Alessandro previously worked on a regenerative project in Scampia's neighborhood (Naples). Giulia gained experience in urban transformation and spatial circular strategies while working in Amsterdam, where she develops future-proof neighborhood plans. It is the first time that together we face the territorial scale and the complex challenge of a spatial strategy for sustainable regional development. We did extensive research on the territory discovering the reach mosaic of natural and built heritage. Great source of inspiration for us were LOLA, Inside Outside, LAND and Open Fabric.
Local stakeholders are fundamental actors in the success of the plan. We believe a strong network of activities and inclusive synergies among the different players are needed to enrich and diversify the potentiality of the territory and reinforce the local economy. We tried to aim to a clear vision for the future living cities, a proposal that can adapt and be extended based on the changing needs of the region and its inhabitant. Support from all the stakeholders involved is also crucial, that's why we believe that a participatory process is necessary to define the priorities and challenges to implement the project in the most efficient way.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
Yes, It is our first Europan, and we are delighted about the result. We think this could be an incredible chance to launch our careers, and we will be enthusiastic to share our proposal with the municipality of Bitonto and eventual stakeholders interested in it.
Function: architecture, landscape and urbanism
Average age of the associates: 32 years old
Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? if yes, which ones?
Carmelo and Alessandro won the first national prize in UNhabitat Mass Housing Competition as students and deepened the topic as their master thesis. Giulia during her studies developed and built the sustainable living module Biosphera 2.0 that won the Energy Globe Award in 2018. Alessandro and Giulia as the SELVATICO collective have been working on several projects and different competitions in the Netherlands and Belgium. Last year they won the international competition Heerlen Rooftop Project; the winning proposal is in phase of implementation and will open in 2022. They have been recently selected also for the next edition of the contemporary art festival in Watou.