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20th Century Architectural Heritage


Grignolo R.

Course director

Di Nallo M.



The course is envisaged as an introduction to the 20th-century architectural heritage. The first part of the course provides a cultural, theoretical and critical framework for understanding the recent heritage as a historical, symbolic and aesthetic resource, and/or as possessing functional, technical and socio-economic values.
The exercise guides students through the construction of a “monographic study” for a given building. In providing the building under study with a historical-critical allocation in relation to the above parameters, the architect contributes to the “making of the heritage”: this is considered an intrinsic part of an architect’s design work.

Through a broad range of case studies, the second part of the course provides a methodology for devising criteria of intervention and tailored solutions for each specific case.


  • Introduce students to 20th century architectural heritage as a potential object of conservation and as a resource in a broad sense: historical, documentary, aesthetic, social, economic, environmental, etc.
  • Guide students in building up a "monographic study of a work", an essential starting point for designing with an existing building. The goal of this study is to situate the building or complex in relation to a multiplicity of types of history (of architecture, of construction techniques, of culture, of society, of sensitivity, of institutions, etc.) and to define the values that the building embodies. 
  • Demonstrate, through the use of selected case studies, that the energy and time spent in building up the "monographic study of a work" permits a considerable saving of resources during the design phase: preliminary and in-depth knowledge of the building under study allows architects to identify design solutions (conservation, restoration and/or reuse) in line with the key-principles of the building; such solutions are therefore less invasive and often less expensive, since they are based on the potential of the existing structure. 
  • Provide students with a methodology to apply the preliminary analysis to derive intervention criteria and tailored solutions for each specific case.

Teaching mode

In presence

Learning methods

60% Lectures
25% Seminars
15% Visits without overnight stay

Examination information

Intermediate critiques and reviews: attendance and delivery of required papers and graphic panels

Final exam: oral presentation of semester research on A1 panels


Study trips

  • Balerna - on a Saturday in October or November, date to be defined, 07.10.22 - 11.11.22 (Optional)