Modular Waterfront

Modular Waterfront

Unit 4 focuses on developing urban and architectural design following the principle of Systemic Architecture. Function, Structure and Space are treated as subsystems sharing a common DNA.

The unit’s agenda investigates how a large-scale project can give rise to a glocal (global-local) approach as described by Steven E. Moore in his essay “Technology,Place and Non Modern Regionalism”. The students will develop a modular design system which can dynamically adapt to  different scales: the global one set by the masterplan of the waterfront  and the local one of the attractor buildings .

At the local scale functions will be informed by the needs of inhabitants: permanent and temporary.   Naples is a city whose economy is  heavily based on touristic development.  The coastal area of Via Caracciolo has a prominent and iconic role for the city having to negotiate the needs of local community and the ‘pressure’ of global tourism.



Glocalising the design process

Investigating how local and global practices are meeting and integrating.

With FABLABs operating around the world and providing fabrication processes and tools, how can architectural design and construction be updated and give rise to a localized approach?

With the existence of a digital FABLAB in Naples, the fabrication of that system can happen locally, deploying local materials and labour. As a result design is happening remotely, could be anywhere in the world, but with a stronger local impact and far more immediate and integrated comparing to a conventional way of an architectural firm teaming up with local (or not) contractors.



Breaking down the site

Fourth years will be able to choose one of the three/four allocated areas for intervention and will design a building with its immediate surroundings.  Fifth years will start by designing a schematic master-plan, meeting certain criteria and requirements set by a competition-like brief.  MA students will be more flexible to involve investigative approaches involving swarm based, dynamic relaxation or vector-field mapping as urban analysis tools.


Fabrication approach

Fourth years: Investigate how laser cutting and 3d printing can be integrated into actual architectural parts fabrication. Methods investigated can be casting, contours, joints, discrete/modular elements fabrication.  Fifth years: the above in a more complex approach, combining different methods and opportunity to involve robotics in the design/fabrication approach MA students: research based approach, mainly focusing on robotic fabrication with 3d printing, hot wire cutting (mold creation, hardening Styrofoam with resins etc) and milling




Related Architects

Patrick Schumacher Zaha Hadid Architects

Related Places/Cities