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Project I: Atelier Torzo


Torzo F.

Course director

Perez lebot A.


Redpath J. A.



The Garden

We live in times of frailness and uncertainties and witness natural, technological, social and political events that will likely radically change the world as we know it.
The experience of the pandemic over the last two years has revealed the inadequacy of the neoliberal system and has put into discussion the building briefs that served this system for decades. From the phantasmagoria of hypermarkets to the hypertrophic production of housing or mixed-use buildings translating into concrete, glass and brick, the stock exchange.
The climate changes previewed for more than fifty years are now active in the fullness of their consequences and show the unfeasibility of western societies' life costumes posing the urgent question to all governments on how to reinvent our way of living.
Privileged witnesses of the longest peacetime known in western history, for months, we face the tragic threat of a vast-scale war and find ourselves helpless.
All of these events have triggered contradictory social and political dynamics, which reveal an accentuation of nationalistic orientation and an emphasis on the self-affirmation actions of individuals in antagonism with the set society through a glorification of small groups or associations. It seems a time in search of heroes rather than a society.
We believe in societies, and based on this secular faith, we believe that it is our right and duty as citizens to commit to a sense of living together through a practice of empathy and understanding.
Embracing Huizinga's optimism as an act of devotion to life and culture, we propose students investigate the essence of places where we, as individuals, can share thoughts and culture and, from there, rebuild a sense of belonging to a society.

Contubernales, salotti letterari, coffeehouses, cafés littéraires, and houses of literature have been through time and countries the places where people exchanged thoughts as lymph to a movement of societies. The course proposes eight project areas, distributed in four Arrondissements of Paris, with a program varying between 2000 and 4000 sqm, where students are invited to develop a meaningful narrative for gathering, learning, and wandering in combination with outdoor spaces, may they be courtyards either gardens.


The aim of the course is to train students to develop tools for critical and humanistic observation of a cultural context, learning to recognise the permanence that constitutes its identity, an expressive morphology beyond languages and iconography that collects the gestures repeated over centuries of the art of building and that survived the succession of different social and political agreements, and through the project articulating a personal interpretation capable of establishing a dialogue with the collective cultural heritage.

The work will be simultaneously developed on different scales of reflection, seeking a consonance between the choices of settlement, the articulation of spatial narratives and the construction expression of structural and architectural details.

Students are invited to exclusively draw freehand in order to consolidate both a competence and confidence in the elementary tools of the architectural practice and build models on a territorial scale as well as architectural fragments, congruent with each student's individual work.


Teaching mode

In presence

Learning methods

The process of design starts from an understanding of the mate­rial constrains and of the cultural context where we are called to operate, through a discipline of observation and reflection. 

The goal is that of formulating the primary spatial relations that make the specificity of a place and of a vision.

In order to check the consequences of choices the work is developed in parallel at different scales, combining studies of settlement with details 1to1 or facade studies. 

There is no preconceived language, not in the process nor in the result. 

This approach has similarities to the scientific method, where an experiment is developed continuously sifting individual percep­tions and objective observations. 

The fruit of our work, in the end, is a building to be lived.

Examination information

The design assignment is individual.

3 internal mid critics a final critic with external guest critics.

Hand in material list will be illustrated in detail in the program




Study trips

  • South West England, 04.10.23 - 08.10.23 (Compulsory)