Design and complexity. A multiscale approach for updating the project’s control tools

  • Fabio Conato University of Ferrara
  • Valentina Frighi University of Ferrara
Keywords: multiscale approach, environmental design, technological design, innovative materials and products, performance control


In the current situation, it is necessary to propose an integrated, multiscale and multidisciplinary approach to manage the complexity of the architectural project, identifying decision support tools to perform multicriteria assessments between technical performance and different environmental criteria. This contribution presents the results of research activities undertaken in the framework of a PRRIITT within the Department of Architecture of the University of Ferrara, with the collaboration of the Larco Laboratory – High Technology Network of the Emilia Romagna Region and various companies, for the development of a method able to evaluate in a provisional way and during the design phase the different environmental quality components generated by the technological system, overcoming today simplification intrinsic in current assessment and certification models.

Author Biographies

Fabio Conato, University of Ferrara

Architect, he is an Associate Professor in Technology for Architecture at the Department of Architecture. His research activities are mainly focused on building envelope’s domain, with particular attention towards the application of innovative building materials, components and systems. In the professional field, he works at both urban and architectonic scale.

Valentina Frighi, University of Ferrara

Architect, she is a PhD Student at the Department of Architecture. She carries out didactic and research activities on the domain of technologies for architecture, with a focus on building envelope’s innovative materials and components. In the professional field, she acts as a consultant, providing technical and design support in studios and architecture’s societies.


Cagnoli, P. (2017), “Metabolismo urbano e strategie di sviluppo”, in Ecoscienza, n. 5, pp. 76-78. [Online] Available at: _5/cagnoli_es2017_05.pdf [Accessed 21 April 2020].

Canepa, M. (2018), Riflessioni sullo sviluppo sostenibile a trent’anni dal Rapporto Brundtland, Mimesis Edizioni, Milano.

Chandratilake, S. R. and Dias, W. P. S. (2013), “Sustainable rating Systems for buildings – Comparison and correlations”, in Energy, n. 59, pp. 22-28.

Conato, F. and Cinti, S. (2014), Architettura e Involucro, BE-MA Editrice, Milano.

Conato, F. and Frighi, V. (2016), Metodi della progettazione ambientale – Approccio integrato multiscala per la verifica prestazionale del progetto di architettura, FrancoAngeli Editore, Milano.

Dalla Valle, A., Lavagna, M. and Campioli, A. (2016), “Change management and new expertise in AEC firms: improvement in environmental competence”, in Barreto Tadeu, A. J. (ed.), 41st IAHS Wold Congress on Housing, Sustainability and Innovation for the Future, September 13-16, 2016, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal – Proceedings, International Association for Housing Science, Algarve, pp. 1-10. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 5 March 2020].

Florez, L. (2020), “Sustainability and Green Building Rating Systems: A Critical Analysis to Advance Sustainable Performance”, in Encyclopedia of Renewable and Sustainable Materials, vol. 4, pp. 211-220.

Ganassali, S., Lavagna, M. and Campioli, A. (2016), “Valutazione LCA all’interno dei protocolli ambientali multicriteri per il settore delle costruzioni”, in Dominici Loprieno, A., Scalbi, L. and Righi, S. (eds), Atti del X Convegno dell’Associazione Rete Italiana LCA 2016 – Life Cycle Thinking, sostenibilità ed economia circolare, Ravenna, 23-24 Giugno 2016, ENEA – Servizio Promozione e Comunicazione, Frascati, pp. 415-422. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 21 April 2020]

Gaspari, J., Trabucco, D. and Zannoni, G. (2010), Involucro edilizio e aspetti di sostenibilità – Riflessioni sul comportamento energetico di pareti passive e stratificate superisolate: performances ambientali ed embodied energy, FrancoAngeli, Milano.

Lavagna, M., Bessi, A., Meneghelli, A. and Moschini, P. (2019), “La dimensione ambientale del progetto esecutivo – Esperienze e prospettive future | The environmental dimension of detailed design – Experiences and future perspectives”, in Techne | Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment, vol. 18, pp. 138-146. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 5 March 2020].

Losasso, M. (2017), “Progettazione ambientale e progetto urbano”, in Eco Web Town | Journal of Sustainable Design, n. 16, vol. II, pp. 7-16. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 17 January 2020].

Losasso, M. (2016), “Climate risk, Environmental planning, Urban design”, in UPLanD | Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, vol. 1, issue 1, pp. 219-232. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 5 March 2020].

Marino, V. and Thiébat, F. (2019), “Integrazione dei requisiti di sostenibilità ambientale nel progetto di architettura | Integration of sustainability requirements in architectural design”, in Techne | Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment, vol. 18, pp. 174-183. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 5 March 2020].

Schiaffonati, F., Mussinelli, E. and Gambaro, M. (2011), “Tecnologia dell’architettura per la progettazione ambientale – Architectural technology for environmental design”, in Techne | Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment, vol. 1, pp. 48-53. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 17 January 2020].

Tucci, F. (2014), Involucro, Clima, Energia, Qualità bioclimatica ed efficienza energetica in architettura nel progetto tecnologico ambientale della pelle degli edifici, Altralinea Edizioni, Firenze.

United Nations (1987), Our Common Future – Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 20 April 2020].

Vierra, S. (2019), Green Building Standards and Certification Systems. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 20 April 2020].

Wackernagel, M. and Rees, W. E. (1996), Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth, New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island-Philadelphia.

Synthetic indications for the design of the building aggregate concerning the direction of the prevailing winds (credit: F. Conato and V. Frighi). AGATHÓN 7 | 2020
How to Cite
Conato, F. and Frighi, V. (2020) “Design and complexity. A multiscale approach for updating the project’s control tools”, AGATHÓN | International Journal of Architecture, Art and Design, 7(0nilne), pp. 154-163. doi: 10.19229/2464-9309/7162020.
Architecture | Research & Experimentation
Share |