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Project I: Atelier Banchini


Banchini L.

Course director

Garrido Arnaiz P.


Gotti F.



Our studio is a research team working to develop a common ground of knowledge and share ideas and thoughts about the current state of architecture and urban planning. Each step of the research is design, each act of manipulation is independently relevant. 

We design by taking action on materials and in space. During this studio we experience the production of space starting from needs, contingencies and through the direct engagement of the body. We value process and experience above final products. We work on ever-changing-forms. Our projects are not aimed at creating a final shape following a defined programme, but rather at developing a design that embeds possible variations, adaptations, and future transformations, considering an evolution of users.

Simple materials and construction techniques guide the definition of spatial and architectural features: orientation, distribution, articulation and details are the result of careful studies and tests of material qualities and their possible composition. 

The choice of the materials obey the standards of affordability and availability. The construction process needs to be thought through the medium of the body, assisted by basic tools. We invoke the philosophy of self-construction and self-sufficiency.

Action, Transition and Emancipation are the guiding principles of our design studio.



Our studio is searching for neo-vernacular utopias
to counterbalance our dystopian present. We choose to see architecture as the visible outcome of political situations. As such, buildings are the material evidence of a social and economic history and cannot be understood as autonomous forms.

Our studio is interested in contemporary informal architectures; what we like to call the neo-vernacular. Although often born from social injustice, self-built urban environments can be seen as the physical result of a temporary utopia. They are the result of the direct conjunction of human needs and economic factors, free from the mediation of the architect or the control of the legislative power. Avoiding the aestheticisation of poverty, we look at these architectures driven by a strict economy rather than abstract concepts and question top-down approaches to architecture.

During this semester we will focus on the physical gesture of construction. We will look at architecture through the lens of workmanship and understand the act of building as an Action. Manual labour and the economy of means will guide us through the process of design, using human movement as a starting point. Far from formalism, we will create architectures born from the deep understanding of the often-painful act of construction and see architecture as a social and political act rather than a design exercise.

Learning methods

During the semester, we will host regular Weekly Talks by international architects, artists, critics and activists who will guide us through various topics and expand our notions of construction, design and urbanism.

The studio will also organize curated Dinner Debates: an informal occasion to eat, meet, continue sharing opinions after class and build our own collective idea of Utopia.

The work produced by the studio will be discussed regularly in various review formats to offer an exchange as broad as possible.

Table Reviews are intimate occasions of debate and exchange with the tutors. Each group will be assigned a tutor and meet regularly throughout the entire semester.

Peer-to-peer Reviews are internal reviews led by
the participants of the studio. Their aim is to develop a constructive critical culture amongst all the participants. The tutors will not intervene in these critiques.

Atelier Reviews will involve all the participants
of the studio. During these reviews, the work will be discussed without presentation. As such, the work will need to stand by itself.

Intermediate Review and Final Review will be curated by the team together with international guests.
It will be the occasion to confront our production with external viewers. 

Examination information



Study trips

  • Almería, 10.10.22 - 13.10.22 (Compulsory)
  • Almería, 10.10.22 - 13.10.22 (Compulsory)