TO-NJ round trip (into a foom). A comparative urban morphology based design teaching experience between China and Italy at Politecnico di Torino

Ricchiardi, Ana and Trisciuoglio, Marco; (2022) TO-NJ round trip (into a foom). A comparative urban morphology based design teaching experience between China and Italy at Politecnico di Torino. In: Annual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form. University of Strathclyde Publishing, Glasgow, pp. 1472-1480. ISBN 9781914241161

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In the realm of "teaching morphology" studies, there is the opportunity to test a comparative method based on analogies and differences. This paper describes a pedagogic experiment in an International Architecture Master Program held in Italy in Spring 2020. In the Design Unit "Architecture and Urban economics", the main objective was practising urban morphology and building typology as reading and writing tools to understand and design the "urban block". The Design Unit proposed students with the challenge of using morphological tools to compare, relate, and intervene in two urban blocks situated in very different contexts, but with the same surface, the same position in the urban context and the same shape. One study site is located in Turin, Italy; the second study site is located in Nanjing, China. The challenge to compare two different realities using the same tools and analogous sites helped students realise these instruments’ potential as generators of knowledge. The organisation of the course developed around weekly theoretical and practical collective discussions. The student's design process was an incremental step-based process involving different stages, such as context diagnosis, envisioning master plans and programs, developing design options, selecting a specific project, and implementing it. What is more, lectures on Real Estate evaluation, Urban economics & management and Media Sociology supported the design process, highlighting the importance of interdisciplinarity in studying and applying urban morphology. The design unit was developed in Spring Term 2020, during the beginning of lockdowns around the world due to the pandemic emergency. This particular situation became an excellent opportunity to test new communication methods with 45 students located in four different continents and verify/falsify the approach towards the way the topics were explained and developed to shape the next generation of architects and researchers, and practitioners.

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