of Architecture, Art and Design
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ISSN (print) 2464-9309
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The International Scientific Committee, for no. 15 | 2024, which will be published in June, has proposed the subject INNOVABILITY©® (part III) | Energy Transition, aware of its pressing relevance, but also of the scope introduced by the proposed threefold interpretation (with the previous calls Innovability©® part I | Digital Transition, n. 12 | 2022 and Innovability©® part II | Ecological Transition, n. 13 | 2023).
The goals for climate neutrality by 2050 and for a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions (compared to 1990 levels) by 2030 (European Commission, 2019, 2021) pose a range of complex issues for the European Union, and even more so for the rest of the world, including a significant increase in ‘clean’ energy production from alternative and renewable sources, reduction of energy poverty, greater security of energy supplies and a drastic reduction in dependence on energy imports while aiming to foster modern economic growth decoupled from the use of non-renewable resources and job creation and to generate environmental and health benefits. These objectives come with inevitable cultural, political, economic, productive, technological and social implications, to be addressed both within national borders and in the foreign policy arena. Despite various EU and national legislative measures and substantial financial resources allocated, the three main axes of climate policies (reducing emissions and consumption, increasing energy efficiency, and increasing the share of renewables) do not seem to have had the desired virtuous effects.
Recent IPCC Reports (2022, 2023) expose the hard truth about the state of the climate and confirm the urgency for action, indicating that policies put in place from 2020 will lead to a global temperature increase of 3.2°C by the end of the century, and identifying 2025 as the upper limit at which to begin reducing global emissions. The same Reports indicate that the tools to reverse the current trend are already available, but at the same time stress the importance of acting systemically, employing transversal measures, including adaptation and mitigation measures, equally distributed in regions at risk, and with inclusive, transparent, and participatory decision-making processes: in this scenario, energy-related aspects play a strategic role. The energy transition will certainly be an expensive process; according to the World Energy Outlook 2021 (IEA, 2021), 4 trillion dollars per year are needed to hit the 2050 carbon neutrality target, a massive investment that needs to be managed in a reasoned and judicious manner, evaluating all possible options and avoiding the adoption of costly solutions of uncertain effectiveness. Meanwhile, in 2022 the U.S. Congress passed the three climate bills (Inflation Reduction Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act) that commit more than 500 billion dollars in tax credits, loan guarantees and other investments for the energy transition, while the European Union, with Repower EU and Fit for 55, promoted a 300-billion-euro Plan, of which 225 billion is in funding and grants and 75 billion in loans.
The energy transition is, therefore, complex and difficult to implement because it involves ‘everything’ and is needed ‘everywhere’, and also because, on a global scale, primary energy consumption has been steadily increasing for at least half a century (Ritchie and Roser, 2022). Every human activity requires energy and produces greenhouse gases, and while the United States and Europe represent virtuous geographies in the production of energy from renewable sources, 75% of the world’s population lives in emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India, and South Africa, which today are responsible for two-thirds of total greenhouse gas emissions, while China alone emits more than a quarter: hence the need to think globally instead of locally since climate change is not only a danger in itself but represents a ‘threat multiplier’ (Ghosh, 2017) that stresses and amplifies not only the instability and insecurity already present in some areas of the world but also the global economy: according to the World Economic Forum (WEF, 2021) the most catastrophic scenario, involving a temperature rise of up to 3.2 °C, could wipe out up to 18% of the world’s GDP as soon as mid-century. All of this, needless to say, at great cost in terms of human lives as well.
The present-day is marked by great uncertainty over the stability and validity of the technological, economic, production, energy, and infrastructure systems on which society depends in everyday practices (De Certeau, 2011) and in the dynamics of social production and reproduction (Lefebvre, 2016); because of this, researchers agree on the strategic role of research and the importance of experimentation and exchange of good practices in a ‘clean’ economy based on the efficient use of non-renewable resources and eco-innovation of processes, products, and design solutions (Höpfl et alii, 2022) to lower the production of CO2 emissions. Such a goal can be achieved, in all spheres of the built environment, by overcoming the current limitation represented by the lack of coordinated action from an ‘enlightened direction’ that lacks a systemic vision and is not based on a methodological practice of a multi and interdisciplinary, non-scalar and intersectoral type, capable of simultaneously integrating knowledge, expertise, diverse disciplines and production sectors (sometimes seemingly unrelated) to rationalize and optimize, by combining traditional and innovative technologies, on the one hand, all aspects that come into play in the transformative intervention and its process, project and product dimensions, and, on the other hand, the input and output material flows for them to be ‘at least’ equivalent. In this regard, Terry Irwin’s studies (2018) represent a relevant contribution, proposing a Transition Design approach to address the critical ‘systemic’ issues of our century through five points: 1) visualising and mapping complex problems and their interconnections and interdependencies; 2) placing them within large spatiotemporal contexts; 3) identifying and overcoming stakeholder conflicts and leverage alignments; 4) facilitating stakeholders in co-creating visions of desirable futures; and 5) identifying leverage points in the large problem system in which to place design interventions.
Based on these reflections, AGATHÓN, in addressing the disciplinary areas of Design and in particular Landscape, Urban Planning, Architecture, Engineering, Architectural Technology, Design, Restoration and Recovery, and Representation, proposes the theme of Innovability©® (part III) | Energy Transition to foster an open discussion, through the collection of innovative and sustainable essays and critical reflections, research and experiments, projects and interventions (preferably interdisciplinary and interscalar in nature), that address topics including, but not limited to:
• energy landscapes;
• soft mobility infrastructures and services;
• tools and methods for mapping, cataloguing and dissemination of best practices aimed at the cost-effective containment and zeroing of energy consumption;
• transition design;
• integrated solutions for energy, ecological and digital transitions (green/smart cities, buildings, materials, objects, and services);
• solutions for energy sustainability with effects and benefits at different scales, from urban to indoor and vice versa;
• energy retrofit interventions as drivers of urban regeneration, for suburbs and ancient contexts and for historic, modern, and contemporary architecture;
• tools, methods, and languages of architectural design (overhangs, courtyards, porches, loggias, solar screens, flexibility of use and variability of functions, etc.) with formal, perceptual and symbolic values;
• Near Zero, Net Zero and Positive Energy development models;
• ecological’ solutions for carbon subtraction and storage in urban districts;
• solar albedo mitigation strategies in the buildings-open spaces system;
• responsive/adaptive, passive bioclimatic, nature-based, and biophilic systems;
• innovative components and materials (phase change, energy, etc.) for the reduction of energy consumption;
• Industry 5.0 and embedded and operational energy optimisation through circular approaches, open building, zero waste, recycling, upcycling, design for disassembly, reversible building design, life cycle design, design for longevity, etc;
• ‘circular ecosystems’ for zero-impact energy production from waste or refuse;
• renewable energy production and self-consumption, energy communities, positive energy districts, smart grids, off-grid solutions, microgrids, etc;
• integrated systems for energy production (photovoltaic, solar thermal, micro aeolian, etc.);
• zero-km production and consumption chains;
• support strategies, user-friendly tools, and services for the energy transition of companies and individuals;
• tools, technologies (ICT, IoT, cloud, GIS, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Digital Twin, BIM 7D, etc.), sensors and big data for the evaluation, optimisation, management, and monitoring of energy flows;
Note: INNOVABILITY®© is a registered trademark of ENEL S.p.A. – All rights reserved to Enel S.p.A.
The International Scientific Committee, for no. 14 | 2023, which will be published in December, proposed the theme Module | for Landscape, City, Architecture, Objects.
The Module is a sign, a linear trend, a geometric or free form that is repeated within a given space while maintaining its proportions. It is exemplary form, norm and rule, number, elementary unit and measure. It is a concept that expresses harmony, proportion, and quality. It is a catalytic element of history, culture and memory that refers, within the different disciplines of urban planning and landscape, architecture and engineering, representation, design and art, as much to man (the Kanon of Polyclitus, the Vitruvian homo, Le Corbusier’s modulor) as to its artefacts and conceptualisations (the Greek embater or the still Vitruvian imoscape, the ‘vesica piscis’ or the medieval ‘modus ad triangulum’ and ‘ad quadratum’ and all its further and subsequent variations). The Module is both a measure of things and a synthesis of the relationships that these measures activate (connections) or deactivate (separations). The Module is rhythm, interference, structure, relationship, mutation, and standardisation, but it is also a synthesis of the specific human ability to perceive, simplify and represent the environment.
To design is both to measure and to relate. ‘Contare e raccontare’ (lit. counting and telling), as titled by Carlo Bernardini and Tullio De Mauro (2003), through the concept of the module that lends itself to being an expression of an act (counting or measuring) and at the same time of a narrative (telling), both actions enriched and nourished, in contemporaneity, by new semantic capital that, in its being material and immaterial, real and digital together, activates new transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary relations involving and contaminating the different scales of the project. The Module, in its capacity as a holistic measure of things, measure and measurability, seems to share, with the new contemporaneity, the idea of a ‘different’ space – at any scale – to be re-measured and re-counted both in the current configuration (the existing one) and with respect to that which it could and/or should be (the new). In this perspective, within the environmental design and transformative approaches, a renewed and contemporary expression of the Module seems to be emerging, dynamically confronting the inescapable demands of interoperability, virtualisation, decentralisation and sustainability.
A currently relevant theme, that of the Module in the Third Millennium, which relates to the counterpart proposition introduced by Giulio Carlo Argan (1965) in the collection of essays entitled Progetto e Destino, in which the historian investigates the evolution of the concept of the Module and its modification throughout history along with the modes of building, synthesis and cultural expression, while also introducing a new and personal definition, that of the ‘object module’ as the ideative principle of construction, associating it with the ‘module-measure’ as an abstract dimensional entity that establishes qualitative or metric quantitative relationships between parts. At that time, the application of the concept of ‘object module’, a compendium of the concepts of ‘compositional module’, ‘constructive module’ and ‘typological module’, materialised in Richard Buckminster Fuller’s lattice shell structures and Jorn Utzon’s ‘additive modularity’, in the concept of ‘open building’ by John N. Habraken (1972), in the industrialised production experiences of Konrad Wacsmann or Kisho Kurokawa (the 1971 Nakagin Capsule Tower is the icon of the Metabolist Movement) or in the modular furniture of designers such as Charles and Ray Eames and George Nelson, in Bruno Munari’s Abitacolo (1971), a childlike ‘hortus conclusus’ (as he calls it), or again in Pierluigi Spadolini’s experimentation with the SAPI (Sistema Abitativo di Pronto Impiego, 1982) in response to the theme of temporary or emergency housing.
The aforementioned experiences now introduce progressively evolving new conceptualisations, examples of which can be seen in a number of experimentations, such as the WikiHouse (Open Systems Lab, 2011), Carmel Place (Narchitects Studio, 2016), The Peak Home (Grimshaw, 2020), TECLA (Cucinella, 2021), Mitosis (GG-loop with Arup, 2021), RED7 (MVRDV, 2022), the residential blocks in Aarhus (BIG, 2022), the Odesa Expo 2030 master plan (Zaha Hadid Architects, 2022), or the emblematic add-on Radiator modular systems by Tube (Pakhalé, 2009) and Coordinates by Flos (Anastassiades, 2019), all projects in which the module concept allows for the interpretation and generation of complex and diverse spaces, organisms, and objects. Capable of being used in infinite application scales, ‘from the spoon to the city’ (Rogers, 1952), modularity resurfaces strongly in the new Millennium and can become a paradigm in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (UN, 2015) if associated with the issues pertaining to accessibility, adaptability, functionality and reversibility with a circular approach.
Based on these reflections, AGATHÓN, by addressing the disciplinary areas of Design and in particular Landscape, Urban Planning, Architecture, Engineering, Architectural Technology, Design, Restoration and Recovery, and Representation, proposes the theme Module | for Landscape, City, Architecture, Objects as a tool capable of contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and fostering the governance of the built environment at all stages of the process and up to its second life. The aim is, therefore, to promote an open discussion through the collection of essays and critical reflections, research and experimentation, projects and interventions for the new and the existing (preferably of interdisciplinary and interscalar nature), all innovative and environmentally sustainable (in terms of land occupation, optimisation of non-renewable resources, reduction of waste, CO2 emissions, resilience, mitigation, adaptation, etc.). In this sense, the Module is a useful tool to overcome a static and linear vision of the built through a parametric, circular and biophilic design with ‘open systems’, manageable by using intelligent digital tools that monitor the system’s performance throughout its entire life cycle, optimising the ideative, production/implementation and management phases (disassembly/disposal and regeneration/reuse/recycling):
• at the territorial and urban scale where the Module refers to historical cities (for example, the Roman castrum) and contemporary cities (such as the 15-minute city and the Barcelona Superblocks) or communities (such as self-sufficient or energy communities) but also to ‘ecotopes’ that in aggregate form configure a landscape unit, a set of natural and/or anthropogenic elements which, through spatial recurrence, persistence over time, documentary interest or homogeneity of use, differ from similar and/or surrounding territories thus making them recognisable; and again to ecosystem services, mobility, accessibility and the use of digital technologies, therefore with reference to all applications in smart grids, smart and green infrastructures, smart cities, smart tools, etc.;
• at the architectural scale where the Module expresses the essence of an archetype or eidos that is the expression of a condition of osmosis with respect to the ecosystemic and sustainability values of the built environment; as a possible generator of the project, the Module calls for new (possibly compositional) experimentation and becomes a tool for declining architecture with respect both to local functional contingencies and to actions of cultural and morphological rootedness, leveraging the inherent strengths of smart buildings such as adaptability, aggregability, decomposition, expandability, flexibility, mediation and osmotic transition of public or private spaces, collective or intimate, with the relational environment;
• at the scale of components and objects where the Module, through its repeatability, structures the complexity of a set, becomes a self-contained element or part of a system within which it is entrusted with specific functions or by means of which it is possible to optimise the design, production and management of a product as much in terms of environmental impact as in terms of modularity, adaptability, equipability, transportability, flexibility of use, ease of assembly, upgradability to technological improvements available over time, etc.
The International Scientific Committee, for its issue n. 13 | 2023, which will be published in June, promotes the topic Innovability®© (part II): Ecological Transition.
The term ‘innovability©®’ is used in the economic and social sciences field. It is considered a renewed driving force for a new development paradigm that expresses one of the most crucial current challenges and the need for a ‘supportive’ convergence between the two imperative demands of ‘innovation’ and ‘sustainability’ as if they were two opposing and conflicting entities. Apart from the term used, especially during a pandemic and its economic and social impact, mankind promotes its prerogative, using ‘things’ available in nature to make other things with a primary function different from its original one (innovation), aware that those resources are not inexhaustible (sustainability). In this context, always looking to the future, we need to plan our best political and system activities to promote the need to innovate using the resources of our planet well and consciously.
‘Green and digital transitions are twin challenges’, stated Ursula von der Leyen, in her inaugural speech as President of the European Commission in 2019. In this sense, the European Green Deal, the Next Generation EU and the New European Bauhaus, together with other national Plans (for example the PNRR in Italy) have strategic importance both in establishing, clearly and univocally, the paths of future development for an ecological, digital, cohesive and resilient Europe and in correcting the main imbalances of Europe, converging – despite the heterogeneity of the conditions of the Member States – expectations and requests, of a general nature, common and shared, of citizens and businesses. The ‘transition’ is a common thread that joins subjects and debates concerning science, technology and, at the same, time philosophy, anthropology, ecology and economy. They are described with many technical adjectives that define increasingly limited scopes, yet more open to cross-disciplinary logic, in a sort of speciation of disciplines and language recalling names such as Bateson, Commoner, Catton and Dunlap, Carpo, Kelly, Solis, Negroponte, and Jonas, Morin, Floridi, Caffo.
In this context, where digital anthropology is identified in the term ‘anticipation’, in the ability to interact with the uninterrupted flux of innovation to build a new digital ecosystem (Solis, 2016), the anthropocentric innovation finds its ideal collocation, expands and evolves, gaining the ability to put humans and their needs at the heart of new important proposals. The priority of this new form of ‘sustainable innovation’ is the social and environmental wellbeing, joint and contemporary, to facilitate an ethical and sustainable transition for the whole community's benefit (WEF, 2022). The anthropic transformation of space is an energy-intensive practice that increases the entropy level, still really far from systematic and popular ‘cradle-to-cradle approaches or from being respectful of non-renewable resources. The subject does not concern disciplinary statutes but cross-disciplinary and cross-sectional aspects to orient and support a resilient, sustainable and inclusive ‘recovery’.
The complexity of the subject is one of the challenges of our century. On the one hand, the Global and Sustainability Initiative (GESI, 2021) shows how the ‘ecological transition’ can ethically direct the opportunities of the digital area, and The European Double Up (Accenture, 2021) affirms that the ‘digital transition’ is a useful tool to start shared projects whose implementation would otherwise be slower, less pervasive and probably less performing. On the other hand, the union between ‘green’ and ‘blue’ shows many problems and contradictions (Floridi, 2020) up to the point of thinking about the impossibility of implementing the ‘ecological transition’ together with the ‘digital transition’ (Caffo, 2021). Therefore, to make the new ‘innovability©®’ paradigm – with its double key of interpretation and explanation of the possible scientific research and operational approaches – reach its peak and be implemented, new (material and immaterial) tools should be presented. They should be adequate, new, transversal, interscalar and cross-disciplinary but, at the same time, it appears essential working to build and feed a bond of strategic complementarity between ecology and digital, a two-way osmosis of approaches, progresses, experiments and results within a vision of shared progress and common goals.
The ecological transition has been discussed for some time now, but today it is a priority and a mandatory subject, expressing the need to ‘shift’ from production and consumption systems specific to the paradigm of infinite growth to systems capable of making the economic capital grow without destroying the natural, social and human capitals. The concept of sustainability, starting from the global changes and the biodiversity loss, reminds the ecology of mind by Bateson (1972), the three ecologies by Guattari (1999), the evolutionary physics by Prigogine (1977) but also the planetary thought by Morin (1973), the concept of exaptation by Gould and Vrba (1982) – drawn on by Melis and Pievani as a strategy for resilient communities (2020) – ecological economy, the concepts of ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ sustainabilities, up to the most pragmatic markers of sustainability (environmental, social and economic). An inevitable shift, if we simply consider the objectives of the Paris Agreement 2015, harbingers of a radical change not only concerning the use of non-renewable resources but our entire economy and our way of life. In all the building fields, an ‘enlightened direction’ will be needed, with a systemic and holistic vision based on a multi- and cross-disciplinary, ascalar and intersectoral methodological practice capable of simultaneously integrating knowledge, professionalism, disciplines and different production sectors (sometimes apparently not very similar) to rationalize and optimize, by combining traditional and innovative technologies. On the one hand, all the aspects that come into play in the transformative intervention and its process, project and product dimensions, and on the other, the material flows incoming and outgoing so that they are equivalent, or so that the waste and by-products of one sector can be fully reused in others.
In the light of these considerations, AGATHÓN 13, turning to disciplinary areas of the Project and in particular Landscape, Urbanism, Architecture, Engineering, Architectural Technology, Design, Restoration, Recovery, and Representation, presents the topic Innovability©® (part II) | Ecological Transition to fuel an open dialogue, by collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments, projects and actions (preferably cross-disciplinary and inter-scalar), innovative and sustainable, which address different issues, including but not limited to:
• tools and methods to map, catalogue, know and handle landscapes, territories and their resources, even non-renewable ones;
• tools, methods and languages of the biophilic and ecological design between performativity and aesthetics of the natural environment, overcoming ‘green washing’ (formal, perceptive, symbolic aspects);
• tools and metrics for ecological sustainability capable, with a holistic approach, of including its effects and benefits at different scales, from territorial to environmental units;
• production and management of sustainable forests, silviculture, forest ecology, natural reserves and parks, ecosystems and biodiversity: tools, policies and actions for the protection, management and enhancement of the natural capital in terms of quality, beauty and enjoyment of the natural landscape in urban and suburban areas;
• urbanature, ecological infrastructures, green corridors, urban forestation, parks, gardens, ‘green’ courtyards, removal projects in urban contexts for the reduction of land use and the increase of the permeability of surfaces, regeneration of urban voids with public green areas;
• community, horizontal and vertical urban farming, and relations between the built environment, food production, energy, water, scraps, biodiversity, sales and consumption, environment, ecosystem and technologies as a circular urban metabolism;
• nature-based solutions for the resilience and risk reduction of vulnerable contexts, for the enhancement and enjoyment of cultural heritage, for the control of microclimate, air and water quality, for the thermal, acoustic, and lighting comfort, for the increase of biodiversity and ecological footprint, for the enhancement of urban (vertical and horizontal) and suburban green areas, for the compensation of soil consumption, for health and psychological well-being;
• ecological interventions of urban regeneration, for suburbs, ancient contexts and historic architecture;
• green cities, green buildings, green materials, green objects;
• ecological solutions to remove and store carbon in urban districts;
• passive bioclimatic systems and intelligent home automation-telematic management and control;
• green tools and technologies to organize and manage the cybernetic relationships between natural and artificial (sensors, activators, artificial intelligence, photobiotic reactors, photosynthesis, etc.);
• ‘biological ecosystems’ where industrial waste becomes raw materials for other processes;
• circular systemic approaches such as Open Building, Life-Cycle Thinking, Design for Longevity, Design for Disassembly, Reversible Building Design, Zero Waste, Urban Mining, Upcycling, Recycling, Reuse;
• for the optimization and advanced management of the process (design, production, product, service, end of life, reuse/recycling), for non-renewable resources and scraps/waste, for implementing life cycles of sustainable and traceable products, for the energy efficiency of the built environment;
• for producing energy from renewable sources, energy communities;
• new ‘green’ bio-based materials, plant raw materials, secondary materials and waste from agriculture and pruning to produce energy, building elements/components, and artefacts;
Note: INNOVABILITY®© is a registered trademark of ENEL S.p.A. – All rights reserved to Enel S.p.A.
The International Scientific Committee, for its issue n. 12 | 2022, which will be published in December, promotes the topic Innovability®© (part I): Digital Transition.
The term ‘innovability®©’ is used in the field of economic and social sciences. It is considered a renewed driving force for a new development paradigm that expresses one of the most crucial current challenges and the need for a ‘supportive’ convergence between the two imperative demands of ‘innovation’ and ‘sustainability’ as if they were two opposing and conflicting entities. Apart from the term used, especially during a pandemic and its economic and social impact, mankind promotes its prerogative, using ‘things’ available in nature to make other things with a primary function different from its original one (innovation), aware that those resources are not inexhaustible (sustainability). In this context, always looking to the future, we need to plan our best political and system activities to promote the need to innovate using well and consciously the resources of our planet.
‘Green and digital transitions are twin challenges’, stated Ursula von der Leyen, in her inaugural speech as President of the European Commission in 2019. In this sense, the European Green Deal, the Next Generation EU and the New European Bauhaus, together with other national Plans (for example the PNRR in Italy) have a strategic importance both in establishing, clearly and univocally, the paths of future development for an ecological, digital, cohesive and resilient Europe and in correcting the main imbalances of Europe, converging – despite the heterogeneity of the conditions of the Member States – expectations and requests, of a general nature, common and shared, of citizens and businesses. The ‘transition’ is a common thread that joins subjects and debates concerning science, technology and, at the same, time philosophy, anthropology, ecology and economy. They are described with many technical adjectives that define increasingly limited scopes, yet more open to cross-disciplinary logic, in a sort of speciation of disciplines and language recalling names such as Bateson, Commoner, Catton and Dunlap, Carpo, Kelly, Solis, Negroponte, and Jonas, Morin, Floridi, Caffo.
In this context, where digital anthropology is identified in the term ‘anticipation’, in the ability to interact with the uninterrupted flux of innovation to build a new digital ecosystem (Solis, 2016), the anthropocentric innovation finds its ideal collocation, expands and evolves, gaining the ability to put humans and their needs at the heart of new important proposals. The priority of this new form of ‘sustainable innovation’ is the social and environmental wellbeing, joint and contemporary, to facilitate an ethical and sustainable transition for the benefit of the whole community (WEF, 2022). The anthropic transformation of space is an energy-intensive practice that increases the entropy level, still really far from systematic and popular ‘crandle to crandle’ approaches or from being respectful of non-renewable resources. The subject does not concern disciplinary statutes but cross-disciplinary and cross-sectional aspects to orient and support a resilient, sustainable and inclusive ‘recovery’.
The complexity of the subject is one of the challenges of our century. On the one hand, the Global and Sustainability Initiative (GESI, 2021) shows how the ‘ecological transition’ can ethically direct the opportunities of the digital area, and The European Double Up (Accenture, 2021) affirms that the ‘digital transition’ is a useful tool to start shared projects whose implementation would otherwise be slower, less pervasive and probably less performing. On the other hand, the union between ‘green’ and ‘blue’ shows many problems and contradictions (Floridi, 2020) up to the point of thinking about the impossibility of implementing the ‘ecological transition’ together with the ‘digital transition’ (Caffo, 2021). Therefore, to make the new ‘innovability®’ paradigm – with its double key of interpretation and explanation of the possible scientific research and operational approaches – reach its peak and be implemented, new (material and immaterial) tools should be presented. They should be adequate, new, transversal, interscalar and cross-disciplinary but, at the same time, it appears essential working to build and feed a bond of strategic complementarity between ecology and digital, a two-way osmosis of approaches, progresses, experiments and results within a vision of shared progress and common goals.
A little more than fifty years have passed from the Cybernetic Serendipity exposition (1968), at the Institute of Contemporary Arts of London, the digital element has become increasingly pervasive and ever-evolving, taking the role of ‘powerful enabler’, a network of connected and interconnected human and technological components (Kelly, 2010). The ‘digital transition’, according to a recent research by Deloitte, is showing itself in the improvement of production processes and in an increased use of virtuous behaviours: recycling/composting (68%), reducing energy waste and resource consumption (54%), choosing means of transport with low environmental impact (36%), focusing more on the energy efficiency of houses (36%). These conditions define new development and sustainability settings, while creating a new value, actually accompanying the ecological transition. But much needs to be done in the building industry and industrial design areas.
In the light of these considerations, AGATHÓN 12, turning to disciplinary areas of the Project and in particular of Landscape, Urbanism, Architecture, Engineering, Architectural Technology, Design, Restoration, Recovery, and Representation, presents the topic Innovability®© (part I) | Digital Transition to fuel an open dialogue, by collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments, projects and actions (preferably cross-disciplinary and inter-scalar), innovative and sustainable, which address different issues, including but not limited to:
• Industry 5.0 (human-centred approach, sustainability and resilience) and digital technology as a driver for entrepreneurship, competitiveness and new professionalism;
• digital transition and project language (formal, perceptual and symbolic aspects);
• digital for ecological systems (smart ecological systems), energy (smart grids), urban (smart cities), mobility (smart mobility), building (smart buildings), housing (smart homes) and objects (smart objects);
• ICT, IoT, cloud, big data, GIS, blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, hybrid intelligence systems, machine learning and sensors for collecting and processing environmental and urban data, for resilience and risk reduction of vulnerable contexts, for designing, enjoying and managing the flexibility of spaces (internal and external), for the optimization and advanced management of the process (design, production, product, service, end of life, reuse/recycling), for non-renewable resources and scraps/waste, for improving accessibility to goods and services (leisure, well-being, health, safety, etc.), for implementing life cycles of sustainable and traceable products, for improving company, product and service performance, for the energy efficiency of the built environment and cybersecurity;
• interaction between physical and virtual spaces (virtual reality, augmented reality, ‘geotagging’, ‘location-based’ advertising, etc.);
• open-access digital platforms to share and handle data concerning the whole life cycle of the built environment (from the landscape to the small artefact);
• industrial digital platforms for modular off-site customised solutions optimised in terms of production, logistics and assembly/disassembly;
• morphogenetic, computational, parametric, generative modelling, 6D (sustainability evaluation) and 7D (operations and facility management);
• digital twin and virtual mirroring (for projects, systems and product simulations, in different life cycle stages);
• digital manufacturing to create sustainable artefacts, products and materials both on large and small scales, also through nano and biotechnologies;
Note: INNOVABILITY®© is a registered trademark of ENEL S.p.A. – All rights reserved to Enel S.p.A.
The International Scientific Committee, for its issue n. 11 | 2022, which will be published in June, promotes the topic Greenery: Its symbiosis with the built form.
Deforestation and forest fires, urban sprawl, indiscriminate use of non-renewable raw materials and increase in CO2 emissions contribute to global warming and climate change, causing a devastating impact on our fragile ecosystem, on society and on economy. Once it was established that we will not be self-sufficient in fossil fuels before 2050 (maybe), we recall the role that nature and greenery in general can play in the short term to address the current challenge that threatens the entire Planet. It was already highlighted by Beynus’ studies (2002): a knowledge heritage useful for the regeneration, with awareness and responsibility, of the built environment. Over the millennia, Nature has perfected strategies and solutions, processes and mechanisms to adapt to different climate and physical conditions through the rationalisation of the use of matter and energy by optimising material and immaterial metabolic exchanges. Earlier, Simon (1969) had understood the prospective of a ‘new ecology’ where the animate and inanimate components of the built environment combine to characterise a ‘unified’ landscape. Digital technologies can support this ‘double convergence’ towards a ‘cybernetic ecology’ allowing us to see the natural and artificial world as a whole (Ratti and Belleri, 2020).
Once the classic artificial/natural dualism is overcome, possible new project scenarios emerge, made thinkable by the potential of computer sciences, bioengineering, digital technologies, parametric design and 3D printing. They open up to new mediations and intelligence forms borrowed from a multiplicity of living species which define and configure bio-design, bio-architecture, bio-infrastructure, and bio-city solutions. A new interdisciplinary, systemic and multiscalary logic begins to spread: from cyber-gardening to the bio-technological remetabolization of whole neighbourhoods, to responsive envelope systems that integrate biomaterials and/or cultures of living microorganisms but also new opportunities for circular sustainability. The greenery has many advantages for the environment, the society, the economy, but also for health, well-being and quality of life. It is also recognised its natural capital, its function as support for life and for ecosystem services. Therefore, the creative and strategic use of the greenery is essential for an informed sustainability.
Adequate importance is given to biodiversity whose increase seems to guarantee economic benefits: the European Commission (2020) has promoted the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy as a fundamental element to relaunch a sustainable development, already in the ‘short term’. The recent emphasis on the ‘regeneration’ of the built environment gives an opportunity for a more holistic design, involving the earth, biotic and human systems of a specific context to achieve more general objectives concerning actions with a positive balance of land use. The EU Renovation Wave programme, and part of the New EU Bauhaus, gives important tools to renew the existing building heritage’s energy efficiency and also to regenerate – through digital means – urban habitats through the integration and symbiosis of natural and built environments in order to meet needs in a fair and socially inclusive way with a considerably lower resource consumption, emissions and biodiversity loss while addressing the effects of climate change (Ness, 2021).
In the light of these considerations, the Call of AGATHÓN 11, turning to disciplinary areas of the Project and in particular of Landscape, Urbanism, Architecture, Engineering, Architectural Technology, Design, Restoration Recovery, and Representation, presents the subject Greenery | Its symbiosis with the built form with the aim of collecting essays and critical reflections, original research and experiments, projects and actions. These contributions, concerning the issues of process, product and service in terms of sustainability, circular economy and development, can stimulate an open and interdisciplinary debate on the issues, available in a non-exhaustive list below:
• Sustainable Development Goals, New Green Deal, Renovation Wave, New EU Bauhaus;
• Production and management of sustainable forests, silviculture, forest ecology, natural reserves and parks, ecosystems and biodiversity: tools, policies and actions for the protection, management and enhancement of the natural capital in terms of quality, beauty and enjoyment of the natural landscape in urban and suburban areas;
• Historic architecture, ancient contexts and vegetation: restoration and preservation of gardens and parks from historic to recent events;
• Digital tools (ICT, IoT, big data, GIS, etc.) and methods for mapping, cataloguing, knowledge and management of urban (vertical and horizontal) and suburban green spaces, of its physical and demographic characteristics, as well as for monitoring its health;
• Urban farming, in the community, horizontal and vertical and relations between built environment, food production, sales and consumption, environment, ecosystem and technologies;
• Urbanature, urban forestation, ‘green’ infrastructure, parks, gardens, ‘green’ courtyards, removal projects in urban contexts for the reduction of land use and the increase of the permeability of surfaces, regeneration of urban voids with public green areas;
• Nature-based solutions for the resilience and risk reduction of vulnerable contexts, for urban and built environment regeneration and the enhancement of cultural heritage, for the control of microclimate, air and water quality, for the increase of biodiversity and ecological footprint, for the compensation of soil consumption, health and psychological well-being;
• Green building evaluation tools and metrics for greeneries capable of, with a holistic approach, including its effects and benefits at different scales, from territorial to environmental units;
• Passive bioclimatic systems with greenery and intelligent online home-automation management and control;
• Green raw materials, secondary materials and waste from agriculture and pruning for the production of energy, building elements/components, artifacts and new bio-based materials;
• Digital and bio tools and technologies to structure and manage the cybernetic relationships between buildings and vegetation (sensors, activators, artificial intelligence, photobiotic reactors, photosynthesis, etc.);
• Installations and set-ups in public and private spaces.
CALL FOR PAPERS N. 10 | 2021
LINKS: Physical, Virtual, Digital
abstract submission deadline | 14 July 2021
The International Scientific Committee, for its issue n. 10|2021, which will be published in June, promotes the topic Links: Physical, Virtual, Digital.
We are facing a profound transformation, we are active witnesses of an ongoing, pervasive widespread transition which combines dichotomies (analogue and digital), enhances oxymorons (artificial intelligence), overturns axioms (ubiquity), creates paradoxes (sharing economy) involving, without distinction, architecture, humanities and social science, anthropology, sociology, ecology, biology, physical-mathematical sciences and neuroscience whose impacts will become even more evident in the medium and long term. Although they are currently visible and accelerated in part by the global health emergency. A certainly ‘digital’ transformation, which scholars such as Floridi (2020), Galimberti (2020), but also Haraway (2018), Searle (2017) and Chomsky (2011) have placed above all on an ontological and epistemological level as it involves the essence of ‘things’, the way we define them, the world around us and in particular our relationship with the elements that constitute it.
Therefore, the nature of things and the relationships that connect them is one of the great issues that the digital transformation is ‘imposing’ today. It is also introducing innovative approaches and actions to solve both ‘historical’ and new problems (anticipating systems, possible futures, etc.) and new inconveniences (exclusion, digital divide, etc.), arrogating the ‘vitalism’ claimed by current cultural, social and economic challenges that influence the contents of Agenda 2030 and the principles of sustainability, innovation and social justice issues that underlie them. In fact, we are shifting from a reality made up of things to one characterised by relations – links – moving in a daily reality made up of intangible ‘objects’.
Physic/material and history of forms also become virtual reality by mixing in the immaterial current of networks and deterritorialized flows: the digital ‘opens’ by connecting (delocalising) and ‘confines’, limiting (self-sufficient city), but above all it ‘induces’ new spatial configurations in a constantly evolving relationship between genius loci and shape, function and flexibility of use, between the ‘Vitruvian’ man, in his physical proportions, and the ‘inforg’ man who lives, works and relates to the contemporaneity of simultaneously virtual, physical and digital places. A space that, as an ontological entity (natural, built, joint, open, secured, connected, residual, interstitial, on a macro or micro or nano scale, no matter if we are talking about surfaces, volumes, thresholds, technical-construction/plant components and objects) in any form (from landscapes to territory, from infrastructure to cities, from buildings to objects, up to systems, components and materials) clarifies Links: Physical, in the single material, analogical and tangible object; Virtual in configuring experiences of augmented and immersive reality, of wearable technologies; Digital in interacting and implementing new creative and communicative processes and, at the same time, technical processes and to control and monitor the project at various scales, conveying forms and images, functions and performances in a new dimension of digital sharing.
In the light of these considerations, AGATHÓN 10, turning to disciplinary areas of the Project and in particular of Landscape, Urbanism, Architecture, Engineering, Architectural Technology, Design, Restoration Recovery, and Representation, presents the topic Links | Physical, Virtual and Digital with the aim of fuelling an open cross-disciplinary and inter-scalar confrontation, by collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments, projects and actions dealing simultaneously which may include but is not limited to: objects and form; memory and transformation; addition/integration; configuration and rule; aggregation and deconstruction/disassembly; function and flexibility of use; quality and duration; smart and sensitive; languages and forms of communication; modelling and interoperability; automation and dexterity; eco-compatibility and circularity, welcoming the proposed and unspoken suggestions, in a hybridisation and contamination process of the areas of relationship that today are prefigurable and possible – between people, between people and things/places and between things/places – inside an ‘ecosystem’ that is increasingly a synthesis of these three interaction modes.
CALL FOR PAPERS N. 9 | 2021
SECOND LIFE: regeneration, refunctionalisation, enhancement, re-cycling and up-cycling
abstract submission deadline | 8 February 2021
The International Scientific Committee, for its issue n. 9|2021, which will be published in June, promotes the topic Second Life: regeneration, refunctionalisation, enhancement, re-cycling and up-cycling.
The subjects of climate change, excessive use of soil, renewable resources, ever-increasing production of
waste, the current pandemic emergency and the global socio-economic crisis that it is causing, have in fact
entered our daily life. Even if these are dramatic issues, they can be, somehow, seized as an opportunity to
rethink the way we live and our world. In this ‘revolutionary’ (Floridi, 2020) and ‘polycrisis’ (Losasso,
2020) context, specifically referring to the building industry, the Academy, the Research and the Industry
worlds are called to give answers – based on sustainability and the principles of the Green Deal – that can
stimulate reconsiderations and re-orientations of processes and products, new projects on places, buildings,
objects and materials, able to positively affect the governance of the global change that our planet and
humanity need, able to give a ‘second life’ to the built and/or transformed environment, at any scale. In the
light of these considerations, the Call of AGATHÓN 9, turning to disciplinary areas of the Project and in
particular of Landscape, Urbanism, Architecture, Engineering, Architectural Technology, Design,
Restoration Recovery, and Representation, presents the subject Second life | Regeneration,
refunctionalisation, enhancement, re-cycling and up-cycling with the aim of collecting essays and critical
reflections, original research and experiments, projects and actions on the following subjects.
Regeneration | Environment, City, Infrastructures. New Landscapes where the community continues its
path of recognition as an active part of the economy and social relations in a specific context. An idea of
democratic and inclusive but also resilient territories and cities that by understanding the ongoing socio-
economic dynamics, renew and regenerate natural and built spaces, territorial and productive frameworks,
vulnerable and fragile areas, they become an active connection able to respond to the phenomena of
‘progressive dispersion’ and to the increasingly pressing and imperative safety, inclusiveness, pandemic and
emergency vulnerability issues with smart and human centred approaches.
Refunctionalisation | Building. Recovery, up-cycling and refunctionalisation of the existing building are
some of the implementation strategies to aim for in order to efficiently use the resources. As an alternative to
the concept of demolition and reconstruction, recovery as well as up-cycling and refunctionalisation adapt
the building to new emerging use, technical-performance, regulation needs. Flexibility, multifunctionality
and modularity, new spatiality and configurations, relations with the context, front and threshold, safety,
salubrity, energy efficiency and resource savings, service life, are just some of the possible fields of study.
Enhancement | Cultural Assets. The ‘passive preservation’ can no longer be the ultimate goal of the
intervention: the more marked the cultural heritage is in its material and intangible, natural and anthropic
elements, the more there is a need for actions aiming to give new ‘dignity’ and new life to these Goods,
sometimes ruins, deprived of their original identity, both to be enjoyed by current generations and to be
passed on to future ones. Enhancement, enjoyment, communication and accessibility also applied through
digital potentialities, are fields of study just as multidisciplinary holistic and systemic methodological
approaches capable of reading, interpreting and translating into actions the complex relations between pre-
existing elements, natural context and added anthropic systems.
Re-cycling and Up-cycling | Objects, materials, components. Re-manufacturing, re-cycling and up-cycling
as alternative to the concept of disposable come into play in the building industry, through a creative process
or together with new sharing and product/service methods. Intersectorial and interscalar subjects, open
research fields on urban mining and material bank, end-of-life or Design for Disassembling and for
Durability/Flexibility approaches, outlined on the material and product scale in terms of recyclability,
qualification procedures, traceability, material passport, but also of the definition of tools for the analysis of
material flows and the quality of end-of-life products and support to decisions to verify the effectiveness and
sustainability of circularity actions.
CALL FOR PAPERS N. 8 | 2020
POSSIBLE AND PREFERABLE SCENARIOS OF A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE: Towards 2030 and Beyond
abstract submission deadline | 7 July 2020
The International Scientific Committee, for its issue n. 8|2020, which will be published in December, promotes the topic Possible and Preferable Scenarios of a Sustainable Future – Towards 2030 and Beyond.
Investigating the future is an established practice for the academy and the world of crafts and industry. From the Chicago Columbian Exhibition of 1893 to the two Worlds Fairs of New York City (1939 and 1965) and so on, the future has been foreseen as filled with technology and amazing architecture. However, not every vision of the future has described promising scenarios: the dystopian novel by George Orwell entitled Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in 1949, looked 35 years ahead, painting an anything but reassuring picture of the future. We have entered the third decade of the new millennium, and we must certainly reflect on the objectives we had set for 2020 and on the results we have achieved.
However, project into the future (pro-jàcere, from Latin, jump forward), explore and imagine how your life will change, boosted by human ingenuity and with the support of science, is in the human nature. The four visions of the future proposed by Norman Henchey (1978) conceptualized in classes – ‘possible’ (any future), ‘plausible’ (future that makes sense), ‘probable’ (highly likely to happen), ‘preferable’ (the best that could happen) – have been brilliantly described in the ‘Futures Cone’ reinterpreted by Joseph Voros (2003). As we move away from the present, the ‘possible’ tends to ‘preferable’ due to the lack of elements and data on which to base the programming and the planning: in fact, the certainty on the type of technologies and production methods that will be available, on the social structure and user uses, and so on decreases.
By 2030, the world will already be different: Thomas L. Friedman (2016) highlights that the three main forces of our Planet – Moore’s Law (technology), the Market (globalization) and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss) – are all pressing at the same time, with inevitable consequences for the territory, cities, architecture, products and services that will be designed, developed and used in the future. The 17 2030 Sustainable Development Goals presented by the United Nations provide an answer for this time horizon (www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/), tracing the path towards a model to achieve a better and more sustainable future for everyone.
But will these Goals be able to accelerate sustainable innovation? However, it is clear that how the future of our planet, its landscapes, cities, architecture and consumer products will mostly depend on the decisions we make today, on our level of ‘vision’ and on how we will deal with the subject of sustainability with respect to the aforementioned Goals. Going beyond 2030, imagining 2050, we will certainly have to deal with a population growth that will reach ten billion people, of which 75% will be living in cities and urban areas (United Nations, 2019); therefore, the cities of the future will become crucial metropolises for the sustainability of the whole Planet. In the meantime, the academic, crafts and industry worlds are raising a series of questions (listed in the pdf of the Call).
Based on the above-mentioned questions, AGATHÓN, turning to disciplinary areas of the Project and in particular of Landscape, Urbanism, Architecture, Engineering, Architectural Technology, Design, Restoration and Recovery, Representation, presents the subject Possible and Preferable Scenarios of a Sustainable Future – Towards 2030 and Beyond with the aim of collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments, projects and actions able to give a vision of the sustainable future of Living by looking at the two-time horizons of 2030 and 2050, providing answers to the main macro-questions:
• Ecology and Environmental Quality;
• Effectiveness and Circularity in Resource Use;
• Mitigation of and Adaptation to Climate Change;
• Energy Efficiency and Renewable Sources;
• Globalization and Glocalization;
• Digitalization, Enabling Technologies and Opportunities linked to Industry 4.0;
• New Ways of Living, Working, Studying, Producing, Consuming and Socializing;
• Challenges caused by Pandemic Threats.
CALL FOR PAPERS N. 7 | 2020
FROM MEGA TO NANO: The Complexity of a Multiscalar Project
abstract submission deadline | 5 February 2020
The International Scientific Committee, for its issue n. 7|2020, which will be published in June, promotes the topic From Mega to Nano: The Complexity of a Multiscalar Project.
The ability of ‘change of scales’, work on more different scales – multiscalarity – create new ones or change the meaning of the scales commonly accepted, it is common practice in the approach to the project and has always concerned architects, engineers, designers and artists for the multiple symbolic and real meanings of the size of a territory, a city, an architecture and an object. However, it can provide a range of opportunities even in different contexts such as economy, politics, culture, etc. The concepts of scale and size are fundamental to link, in a systemic point of view, the detail with the big picture, the detail with the group, to interpret and represent, to discretize and recompose elements and parts that stand in a hierarchy or interconnection relation, to investigate the physical and social, to outline critical issues and potential, but especially to establish the importance of relational aspects between the group and its component as a way to understand their identity, their nature and organization, their regulation rules and the role played in different contexts, namely the fundamental elements to identify the form and structure of a territory, a city, an architecture and an object.
The concept of scale in Architecture regulates the size of the anthropic space, always keeping human dimension as reference. The choice of the scale inevitably becomes a conceptual selection of what the project actually wants to represent. When using multiscalar representation, we try to show the complexity of reality, by using as many regulation criteria and specific evaluations as we can, not only by describing its size and geometric aspects but most of all by significantly highlighting its qualitative aspects and those related to identity, culture and history. This means that there is not just one scale to represent a territory, a city, architecture, an object or a detail; however, in terms of a necessary multiscalarity, the project chooses the most fitting scale to develop practices, on a case-by-case basis.
Therefore, logically the scale influences the project: thanks to the progress of technology in the field of design at all levels, it is probably the component of the project on which the designer works the most, simultaneously coordinating real and virtual relations; these relations do not end when the form is created, but continue over time and modify the management of the object’s complexity. Measuring, using the scale as a tool, means understanding the things in the world by establishing some differences, therefore ‘off-size’ can be the basis for new theoretical assumptions in which both the infinitely large (mega) and the infinitely small (nano) contribute to defining crucial topics, such as environmental, social and economic sustainability, resilience, territory government, the idea of space, aesthetics, use, development of new products, services and materials, etc. Therefore, the multiscalar approach can be considered as an important design working tool that, in a systemic point of view, can foster the proposal of adequate strategies for action and planning of sustainable actions, developing new methods, working techniques and shared measurements, through well-considered hierarchies of priorities necessary to optimize the choices of the project and to determine reliable cost/benefit balances (especially of environmental nature).
In the light of these considerations, AGATHÓN, turning to disciplinary areas of the Project and in particular of Landscape, Urbanism, Architecture, Engineering, Design, Restoration and Recovery, Representation, and Technology and Technical Architecture, presents the subject From Mega to Nano: the Complexity of a Multiscalar Project with the aim of collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments, projects and actions addressing the multiscalarity, including but not limited to:
• environmental and energy sustainability;
• territorial economies and society;
• migrations and cosmopolite communities;
• strategic processes for territorial and urban development;
• material and immaterial aspects of the project;
• detail and project;
• materials and built environment;
• knowledge and representation of the built environment;
• verification and simulation of the project;
• digital models and big data.
CALL FOR PAPERS N. 6 | 2019
RESILIENCE between Mitigation and Adaptation
abstract submission deadline | 3 September 2019
AGATHÓN aims to deal with the theme of Resilience between Mitigation and Adaptation with the aim of collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments, projects and interventions referred, on interscale terms, to the different dimensions of the man-made and natural environment, to which risk, fragility and vulnerability can no longer be dealt with individually by the traditional tools of sustainability, innovation, redevelopment or regeneration, but only through a systemic approach capable of supporting, integrating and fostering relationships between individual, group and community, cultural and multi/transdisciplinary competences (urban planning, architecture, representation, history, restoration recovery, technology, design and communication, economy, sociology, psychology, etc.) thus integrating humanistic and technical knowledge. More specifically, the main areas of interest concern:
• Landscape and Territory Scale: as cross-disciplinary synthesis of systemic and integrated knowledge of the environment, in its natural aspects (natural and naturalized signs, natural network systems, etc.) and related to anthropic uses and transformations (networks and infrastructures, etc.); a resilient landscape policy must take into account, above all, the non-material interests and desires of the population, beauty, biological and landscape diversity, habitats, identification with the territory, etc.;
• Urban Scale: the quality of cities requires complex strategies, both for intervention scales (structural and process interventions) and for fields of action (economic, environmental, social), to be continuously implemented over time and with respect of the characteristics of the contexts; the resilient city changes by designing innovative social, economic and environmental responses that allow cities to withstand the demands of the environment and history in the long run;
• Architecture and Building Scale: to ensure a resilient approach, Architecture must absorb, on the one hand, the principle of adaptation (to contexts, climate, and risks), on the other the principle of degrowth and of limit, intended as saving/optimization of natural resources and minimum pollution in all stages of their life cycle; case studies and experimental creations represent their privileged interpretation;
• Material Scale: the levels of innovation in building creation and the technological abilities to manage the transformation processes have changed the base scenario, entrusting the handling of the building process to the integration of the building construction project with the components and materials. By thematically contextualizing the definition of material compatibility, the interpretive keys include – but are not limited to – innovation, efficiency, quality, technique and vulnerability.
CALL FOR PAPERS N. 5 | 2019
PRO-INNOVATION Process Production Product
abstract submission deadline | 19 February 2019
AGATHÓN deals with the subject of Pro-Innovation | Process Production Product with the aim of collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments, projects and creations (of new architectures, recovery and restoration interventions, art and product/visual design) that might be case studies for innovation, sustainability and social inclusion, describing the subject, which may include but is not limited to:
• Process Innovation: sequence and organization models, management and control of the process stages; operating methodologies (ideational, design, productive, operational, management and of disposal of the work/product) of the whole life cycle of the artifact; regulations; new professional experts and technical skills; ways to involve professionals and users in the several decision-making stages, etc.;
• Production Innovation: tools suitable for the optimization of the different stages of the production process including machines and robots for digital manufacturing (CNC milling, laser cutting, 3D printing, etc.), for prototyping and for prefabrication, relating to analysis and design/simulation software (also with virtual reality) CAD and CAM, BIM, digital, parametric, algorithmic and generative, environmental, structural, energetic and thermal; installation and assembly techniques and technologies, etc.;
• Product innovation: smart, advanced, composite, recyclable, sustainable, nanostructured, shape-memory, phase-change, self-repairing, responsive, adaptive, low-cost and high-performance materials/components/objects with a low environmental impact; automation, detection, management and control equipment for performance optimization; ‘passive’ technologies for efficient casings, including natural ventilation and cooling systems, water collection, storage and recycling, and off-grid renewable energy production.
CALL FOR PAPERS N. 4 | 2019
IMPERMANENCE between Necessity and Pleasure
abstract submission deadline | 5 Sepember 2018
AGATHÒN deals with the theme of Impermanence between Necessity and Pleasure with the aim of collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments (of processes, products and materials), projects and creations (of architecture, art and design) that might be case studies for innovation, sustainability and social inclusion, describing the two terms, Necessity and Pleasure, in the following uses: emergency, residence and hospitality, health care, events (cultural, recreational, artistic, commemorative, etc.), trade, work, street food, sport, leisure, training, research, production, etc.
CALL FOR PAPERS N. 3 | 2018
Comparison of the Academic Programs, Teaching and Projects of Architecture Schools
abstract submission deadline | 26 February 2018
AGATHÒN deals with the theme of Comparison of the Academic Programs, Teaching and Projects of Architecture Schools. The main objective is the comparison among different Schools of Architecture, Engineering and Design. Secondary objectives are the answers to some questions. What will the new architecture be like in this third millennium? Except for the star-chitect’s (often questionable) work, design and architecture seem to be a forgotten art, as long as the urban landscape is degraded and marked by tired and worn rationalism. What can be done? Do architecture schools have adequate strategies for the new era and for diverse contexts? AGATHÓN believes that your participation can address the following issues:
• Academic Programs (mandatory and elective academic subjects, theoretical and practical approaches, credits earned, etc.);
• Teaching (lectures, laboratories, team or individual work, work carried out in the classroom, etc.);
• Design in various architectural areas (architecture, landscape, interior design, urban design, recovery and restoration of existing buildings, construction drawings, industrial design, etc.);
• Education Buildings (projects and creations of Schools of Architecture, Engineering and Design, Institutes, Departments, Academies, Colleges, Campus, etc.).
CALL FOR PAPERS N. 2 | 2017
Architecture and Nature
abstract submission deadline | 5 August 2018
AGATHÒN deals with the theme of Architecture and Nature declined on the visual and material aspects; in particular on:
• the natural landscape and urban landscape, aimed at protecting and modifying the natural environment or the structuring of the urban environment to make it more and more functional and responsive to the growing social concentration in the city;
• architectural materials such as stone, wood, terracotta, adobe, green, water.
Such visual and material aspects are required:
• studies on historical heritage, aimed at knowledge, conservation and value-making;
• innovative research on processes, products and materials;
• examples of ancient, modern and contemporary architecture.
AGATHÒN deals with the theme of Continuity: Projects for the Historical City. The dramatic decline and development in many Italian (and not only) cities are all too clear and sparks a warning not to repeat the speculation, abandonment, the mistakes that have pervaded this Peninsula of ours, with no respect for cultural, artistic, and environmental values. Less evident is the fact that in the last few years the populations in our historic cities have changed. Former residents have moved to new areas, abandoning historic buildings and quarters to new arrivals from Asia and Africa.
The urban vista has been degraded, tired rationalism marks many quarters of our cities, and the University holds onto a complex and useless didactic machine. What should be done to consolidate the culture of the project and to found a new architectural practice appropriate to our times? There are many questions. Which mindful efforts do we see from producers of forms, architects, artists, designers, artisans, and industrialists in the name of continuity with tradition? What is the ethical content of our téchne with regard to the requirements of quality? Since we revere the past and future of our cities, what are the current actions, ideas, projects and works, the status quo of which, we have to improve, in order to bestow value on them, to make them liveable and adequate for today?
Which architecture and which art for our historic cities? Because of the migratory flux, socio-political changes impose on us a welcoming stance, integration, and participation. What can be done? Who are the inhabitants of the historic cities? Should we not create, in historic cities, levels of locality (in buildings and quarters) in which multi-ethnic neighbours are integrated among themselves, with the inhabitants of the place and with the built environment? And can the artistic expression, which is evident with increasing frequency in urban spaces, lead to change and bring about urban regeneration? Are historic centres capable of experimenting with new synergies among diverse protagonists (citizens, artists, associations, etc.)? Can street art or site-specific installations favour the processes of integration between the community and the built environment? Can they drum up participation and integration between residents and emigré communities? Finally, are our historic cities liveable?
All these, as well as other possible questions, need answers appropriate to diverse contexts.
Our aim is the assembling of different experiences and research carried out on this theme. The published contributions will act as a testimony to the historic reality in which we live: ideas, projects, chosen works or also incomplete, or possibly imperfect, but culturally vibrant, works. It will be our responsibility to reflect on these contributions in order to move toward the critical clarification of a real, problematic situation that embraces unknown and urgent factors, and which is in a continuous state of development.