Team Representative: David Vecchi (IT) – architect; Associates: Davide Fuser (IT), Marta Benedetti (IT) – architects; Silvia Tasini (IT), Federica Gallucci (IT) – architect & visual artist; Maria Letizia Garzoli (IT) – architect & researcher
Flat 2, 44 Bramber Road, W14 9PB London (UK)
+44 77 31 78 02 90 - firstname.lastname@example.org
D. Fuser, M. Benedetti, S. Tasini, D. Vecchi, F. Gallucci & M. L. Garzoli
VIDEO (by the team)
1. How did you form the team for the competition?
The team took shape at different stages. Getting to know each other for some time, we understood our common interests in architecture and our appreciation for similar design strategies, so we joined efforts for a collaboration. Our diverse backgrounds and skills applied well to a complex competition such as Europan.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: the place of productive activities within the city?
Our project sets to restructure both the spatial fabric and the physical and socio-economic resiliency of the Weiz site, in response to the infrastructural upgrades planned by the municipality. The task is imbued with an ecological and holistic vision, trying to sustainably link city life and natural cycles. In a time when ‘production’ has taken many more shapes and technology sometimes empties public realms, integrating different activities and involving the local community can maintain the urban context alive, safe, and pleasant.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
We like to think our design strategy through the concept of ‘seamlessness’, which stands for smooth transitions and can characterise several dimensions and aspects of the project. With this idea in mind we address physical transitions, from sidewalk to lane, productive and social transfers, from one use to another, a shift of temporal activities throughout the day on the same site, and finally seasonal ecological changes of the riverscape. In essence ‘seamlessness’ roots for fruitful coexistence and for a maximisation of the resources.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
Although aimed at very different geographic or social contexts, the topic of holistic planning has been previously applied by the team through different types of project. One example is the project for the requalification of a depressed area of Porto Brandão (PT) / Europan 14, where a new landscape and urban scheme, featuring the reintroduction of grape-cultivation and the injection of new key buildings aim at reactivating untapped resources of the territory. A second speculative research proposal was developed for the Mughal monuments along the Yamuna river in Agra (IN) –World Monument Fund and Harvard GSD funded research–, envisioning a scenario where the precincts of the architectural heritage become productive and experimental sites as well. This includes a possible engagement of local communities in spaces predominantly marketed to tourists or upper classes leisure, and otherwise culturally linked to a very distant identity. In all these cases the project of architecture strives to facilitate the link between communities, environment and productive activities.
We borrowed from many precedents to formulate a proposal for Weiz, however, perhaps the most fundamental reference was to Jan Gehl’s work. We particularly tried to translate in our project his interpretation of the public arena and his strong ethos in community development through the urban design project.
5. Urban-architectural projects like the ones in Europan can only be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?
As often incorporated in the reference projects we reviewed, building a relationship with the community is the corner stone of the process. A defining moment for this approach lies in the deep knowledge and direct observation of the activities and flows of the site. The collected readings of the space will be integrated and evaluated with the community before a final intervention is presented. It is key to base the project on the local experiences rather than on readymade recipes. One of our team members matured experience in this process taking part in a segment of the CalamaPlus, a bottom-up project in Chile where participatory design is part of the on-going definition of a series of urban projects in the mining city of Calama. The main industries of the private sector, the city and the community worked together at a bettered masterplan.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
The team leader has previous experiences with Europan. He was awarded a first prize for Europan 12 (2013) and a special mention for Europan 13 (2015). As it did in these cases, Europan provides for us with the opportunity to access complex and interesting projects at a large scale, which are usually restricted to younger professionals. We hope this project will help us to keep building a consistent and relevant body of work.
Functions: Architecture, Architectural and cultural conservation, Preservation, Visual Art, Urban Design
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?
All team members have 6 to 10 years of professional experience in Italy and abroad; they have worked individually or in team, and been employed on a variety of architectural and urban projects, including residential, retail, urban design, requalification, competitions, exhibition curation and design, and research.
A selection of relevant projects individually implemented includes:
- Competitions: Europan 12 winner in Porto Brandão (PT) in 2013 – currently in design development; first runner-up prize for the project of the Kristiansand Art Museum and Cultural Quarter (NO) in 2016;
- Exhibitions: various installations at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014 and 2018; design exhibition and curatorial project for the Chicago Architecture Biennale 2017 (curatorial associate position);
- Construction: three single family homes in Norway between 2016 and 2018; a single family home in Spain, Casa Alhondiga 11 (project lead 2016-2017);
- Pedagogy: project coordination with Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra Arquitecto + Scuola Politecnica di Genova at the Piranesi Prix de Rome 2016;
- Research: study on the land property legal framework and their relationship with architectural developments in London (funded by the Richard Rogers Fellowship of the Harvard GSD 2019).