Academic Year 2023/2024 - 3° Year
Teaching Staff: Marco NAVARRA
Credit Value: 12
Scientific field: ICAR/14 - Architectural and urban design
Laboratories: 144 hours
Term / Semester: One-year

Expected Learning Outcomes

The purpose of the Studio is to guide the student to to understand and practice the urban and architectural design. The course aims to provide students with an operational methodology to tackle the urban and architectural design.. The aim of the course is that students acquire a project method capable of tackling different issues and topics. The urban contest is understood not so much and not only as a support on which to intervene but rather as a "place of relationships in which each part is not comprehensible if not in relation to a whole that is in turn integrated into a larger whole". These concepts will be developed trough lectures and design exercises. A final design essay will be the moment of synthesis and verification of the proposed Studio.
According to the Dublin Descriptors (DdD), passing the exam certifies the acquisition of the following results:

DdD 1 knowledge and understanding

  • knowledge of the fundamental elements of the architectural and urban composition for their use in the design process for the transformation of places.

DdD 2 ability to apply knowledge and understanding

  • ability to control the construction tools and the compositional aspects of the project, its typological and functional characteristics, which regulate the qualitative relationships of the architectural forms of the space.

DdD 3 (autonomy of judgment), 4 (communication skills) and 5 (learning ability)

  • ability to operate and communicate independently the design choices made (DdD 3, 4 and 5).

Course Structure

The teaching will take place both through ex cathedra lessons, which will focus on the theory of architectural design and contemporary design's methodologies, and through the development by the students of an application project on a study area. 

Required Prerequisites

Basic knowledge of architectural and urban design methodologies. Basic knowledge of technical drawing methodologies. Manual skills of constructing scale models. Theoretical and historical knowledge of contemporary architecture.

Attendance of Lessons

Attendance at classes is mandatory.

Detailed Course Content

In the first semester  we will proceed to a basic preparation on the fundamentals of the urban and architectural design through lessons and elementary exercises. In the following semester a final project will be elaborated which, starting from the hypotheses illustrated above, proposes a strategy, defines some scenarios, and the elements of a coherent conceptualization developing measured and technically controlled project actions. By strategy we mean the predisposition of some inter-related moves also belonging to different levels of reflection; by scenario we mean the formulation of hypotheses on future transformations and their possible consequences; by conceptualization we mean an effort of abstraction which, coming out from a logic of problem solving, evaluates the general implications of the issues addressed; project actions mean the representation on an appropriate scale of interventions that modify the physical state of the places. Strategy, scenarios, conceptualizations and actions are not to be understood as operations aligned within a deductive process: although it may be useful to question some possible scenarios before designing specific actions, the different operations maintain considerable independence, while evaluating the relationships established between the various operations and hypotheses; each of them requires to choose within different types of descriptions and surveys, within different forms of representation and the use of different scales: as a whole these operations constitute the urban and architectural design.

Textbook Information

The essential bibliography provides an indispensable reference for acquiring the theoretical framework and useful guidance on the tools to be adopted in developing the project exercises.

The general bibliography allows for further theoretical insights and historical and geographical knowledge of the area on which the project exercises will be applied.

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Lo fi Architecture LUPANO Mario, EMANUELI Luca , NAVARRA Marco, Lo-Fi - Architecture as curatorial practice, Marsilio, Venezia 2010 
2 Assemblage  BENNET Jane, Vibrant Matter, Duke University Press, Durham and London 2010 
3Architecture Theory/Design Methodology ATELIER BOW-WOO, Architectural Ethnography, SternbergPress, Berlin 2017 
4Conviviality_Common Goods ILLICH Ivan, La convivialità, red!, Milano 2005 
5New Cultural Paradigms CACHE Bernard, Earth Moves, The MIT Press, Cambridge 1995 
6Territorial fragilities NAVARRA Marco, Terre Fragili, Lettera Ventidue, Siracusa 2017. 
7Caltagirone and the Bosco di Santo Pietro AA.VV. Caltagirone, Sellerio, Palermo 1977 

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

The Studio to shape up as a collective learning exercise in which knowledge is developed individually and in groups, and then shared more widely. Active participation and contribution to the development of the various Studio phases is strongly encouraged and will be positively evaluated.

The students will be evaluated on the base of their preliminary analytical work (Translation), their attendance and active participation in the collective discussion, and the quality and depth of their design proposal at various steps (Assemblage, Construction). The evaluation will focus on the acquisition of critical awareness.
Final exams as well as intermediate deliveries will consist in the presentation and discussion of the requested materials. Marks will be individual and based on the students’ understanding of the issues involved. The evaluations for the interim reviews and submission will be given a weight of 40% of the final mark. The remainder 60% will be assigned to the final project which will ought to be concluded by the end of the semester.
The assessment of the learning outcomes and of the competences of students will follow the objectives of the Dublin indicators. In the interim reviews and submission the learning skills and the capacity of knowledge and understanding of the contents of the lectures and readings will be assessed through the elaboration of a written presentation. In the final review and submission, the capacity of applying knowledge and understanding, of making judgements and the communication skills of the students will be assessed through the oral presentation and the delivery of models, boards, personal sketchbook and a portfolio collecting all the works elaborated during the studio.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises


Actions :OCCUPYING SPACE Describe the principles behind occupying space and distributing the elements in the picture by drawing a plan or section.
Tools and materials : 1 A4 sheet of paper, pen.
Time : 30 minutes. 

Objectives: Observe Understand. On understanding the principles of space occupation. 


Actions : Draw, on an A4 sheet of paper the settlement logics of the urban fabric you see in the picture and describe them with a 100-word text Tools and Materials : 1 A4 sheet of paper, pen.
Time : 20 minutes.
Objectives: Observe Understand. On understanding the principles of space occupation. 


Actions : 1. Take a photo sequence in the city where you live or study (3 frames) that represents different logics of space occupation. 

2. Compose the photographs into an A4 page and print the pdf file Tools and Materials : 1 camera Time : 10 minutes for each photo Objectives: Observe Select. On observation skills. On understanding the principles of space occupation. On the refinement of photographic tools. 


Actions: 1.Choose an urbanized territory in GOOGLE Maps or BING and describe freehand on an A4 sheet of paper the settlement logics of the urban fabric you see in the figure. 

2.Describe the settlement logics through a title, five key words and a 100-word te- sto in an A4 page to be printed in pdf format 

Tools and Materials: 1 computer, 1 A4 sheet Time: 15 minutes Objectives: Observe Select. On observation skills. On understanding settlement logics. On the refinement of drawing and storytelling tools.