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"The Urban Sponge" | Prato | November 2018

“Think Like a Forest. Micro Projects for the MacroLotto”

Prato is a very productive city of roughly 200,000 residents. The product is mostly clothing, but includes many other types of semi-industrial and full industrial production, Thus the hinterland of Prato is dotted with many large concrete warehouses and factories. The workshop will take place in the convent of San Niccolò, which sits on the northwestern edge of the historic enter of Prato, with the 13th-century walls as one of its edges.

Between the convent and the Borgo Nuovo district outside of the historic walls (a district which has a suburban train station) we find a densely settled area of predominantly industrial sheds that connect to the artery of Via Pistoiese. Some local residents refer to the area as “Chinatown” due to the large extent of Chinese businesses located in this area. In the planning language of Prato it is called “Macro Lotto Zero.” From the southwest corner of the convent, next to the Renaissance bastion at via Cavour is a large parking area used mostly for the city’s cemetery. Continuing west is a potential green corridor, with a few urban parks, schools and empty lots leading to the ring-road of Viale Nam-Dinh. There is a plan to create a cultural center at the crossroads of via Pistoiese and via Giordano. The area has been imagined by some as a new creative district for start ups and artist spaces. Beyond the ring-road are vast areas mixed with agriculture and industrial compounds of larger scale. Most of the industrial sheds in the area that interests the workshop produce clothing, many of them are in serious disrepair or abandoned.

Students will work in teams of 5 and “think like a forest,” relating to the recent Piano Operativo planned by assessore Valerio Barberis, based on perequazione, a compensation between public green space and private built space, a section of which is devoted to Urban Forestry with neuro-biologist Stefano Mancuso and Stefano Boeri.

Photo Credits © Eugenia Bolla, Stefano Lardera

TerraViva Competitions

Recently created as a new branch of "TerraViva", this specific section proposes a series of design competitions in line with the topics addressed by our workshops and mainly directed to architecture students, new graduates and young designers.

TACTICAL URBANISM NOW! 2021 - The Reappropriation of Public Space will be the third competition of 2021. Starting from December 13th, registrations will be open until 18/03/2022.


December 13th "Tactical Urbanism NOW! 2021 - The Reappropriation of Public Space"; 10.000€ in Prizes; 10 Honorable Mentions; 30 Finalists; Submissions within 18/03/2022; Results on 26/04/2022; Jury:  Miralles Tagliabue EMBT (Barcelona), Public City (Winnipeg), Openfabric (Rotterdam); Orizzontale (Rome); Intuy Lab (Lima); Sports (New York); Atelier Nea (Paris); OBBA (Seoul);


September 10th "Hangar Ticinum - A Community Hub on the River"; 10.000€ in Prizes; 10 Honorable Mentions; 30 Finalists; Submissions within 10/12/2021; Results on 20/01/2022; Jury: Piuarch (Milan); TSPA (Berlin); Stefano Boeri Architetti (Milan); Operastudio (New York); Degli Esposti Architetti (Milan); Untitled Architecture (Moscow); Comune di Pavia (Pavia); Politecnico di Milano (Milan);

March 15th "The Living Museum - Micro-Architectures in the Landscape"7.000€ in Prizes; 10 Honorable Mentions; 30 Finalists; Submissions within 01/08/2021; Results on 13/09/2021; Jury: Topotek1 (Berlin); Elemental Architecture (New York); Stefano Boeri Architetti (Milan); Paredes Pedrosa (Madrid); NADAAA (Boston); One O One Architects (Seoul); Nicolas Campodonico (Rosario); Studio O (Berlin);

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