Back to nature is a project that propose to develop a sustainable way of living together.It is a 16.000 sqm mixed-use housing neighborhood gently set in the landscape of Hjertelia.The project has the aim of reading the landscape where it stands, finding and designing its characteristics and peculiarity.It is a simple shape that reminds on ancient traditional settlement all around the world, a circle that sorround an hortus where to live and work together, a circle that follow the inclination of the ground becoming a form designed with nature. The height of the building, as well as the wood structural facade, is simply obtained in analogy with the tall trees that surround the area, as birch and pines so that it will not emerge from vegetation but instead it will be an essential part of it.
The jury appreciated the clear concept and small footprint of the circular form around a terraced, productive garden. The living structure engages elegantly with the topography of the site with its simple sloping roof. It has the potential to be an economical and prefabricated building system but would need to be constructed in a single phase. The jury also felt the single aspect apartments wereproblematic and did not provide the radical living the site and the brief deserves.
Associates: Giona Carlotto (IT), Gabriele Catanzano (IT) – architects
Contributors: Giacomo Premoli (IT) – landscape architect, Blendi Vishkurti (IT) – architect
1. How did you form the team for the competition?
We are a group of Architects met both studying and working at different stages. The team members share a common ground in Architecture based on their studies at Università IUAV di Venezia in Italy. All the team members graduated with honours obtaining a Master Degree in Architecture or in Landscape Architecture.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic, Living cities?
Back to Nature is a project that propose to develop a sustainable and experimental way of living together. It is possible to create new ways of living our cities creating new synergies between the environmental, social, economic and cultural dimensions. Urban development and ecological restoration must be thought together. By pushing those thematic to the limit of the site, we can create a new mixed-use co-housing complex in respect of nature with a limited impact on the planet earth.
3. How did the issues on metabolic and inclusive vitalities and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
A lot of ancient and traditional examples all over the world show us that there is a way of living together in a sharing system minimizing the environmental impact. The aim of the project is to read the site where it stands, with the ambition to design in accordance with the arcane rhythms of nature. This simple shape lands on the landscape adapting to its sizes and dimensions, becoming a shape drawn with nature. Therefore, every architectural project involves a mutation of the lot, but in this case the attempt is to try to talk about adaptation.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
The main reference for every project is always the site and the landscape that, if understood and interpreted with its peculiarity, can suggest unthinkable solutions. Physical three-dimensional space is the surest reference that remains to us. However, a project is always a continuous succession of alternating ideas and phases that often lead to a crossroads.
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?
It is important, in order to obtain a good final result, to take into consideration all the aspects related to the project, dealing in order to be able to solve them creatively. Implementation through the active participation of citizens can bring benefits through a negotiated and participatory process, resulting in a popular legitimacy of the project thanks to the collaboration given by everybody to the quality of the project. Participation to maintain an open mind of the project to the trends of the outside world, to the tensions of the society, to the changes of time.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
It is the first time that we participate in Europan. This award is a really helpful opportunity to grow our professional career, having the chance of being published and to keep exploring and developing our own ideas.
Function: architecture, paysage
Average age of the associates: 29 years old
Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? if yes, which ones?
Giona Carlotto participated in many competitions, in different times, with Gabriele Catanzano, Giacomo Premoli and Blendi Vishkurti. This is the first time that the team works together finally achieving an important result at Europan 16. We will continue working together doing much better in the future. We believe, indeed, in Architecture as a collaborative attitude.
Does your team share a common workplace? if yes, give us a short description:
Giona Carlotto and Gabriele Catanzano, based on their working experience alongside Go Hasegawa in Tokyo and Aires Mateus in Lisbon, work together in Venice. They frequently meet with Giacomo Premoli and Blendi Vishkurti in Arzignano and Vicenza, developing new competitions and projects.
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Back to nature
Back to nature is a project that propose to develop a sustainable way of living together.