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"The Agritecture Paradigm" | TerraViva WS n°5 | Ferrara | March

January 5, 2019


Italy underwent a rapid transformation after World War II, from a primarily agricultural economy to an industrial one. These changes have left many disjunctures and anomalies in what was previously a relatively harmonious rural/urban fabric.  Ferrara is surrounded by several smaller cities, such as Copparo, that were once the centers of agricultural production, now located in the UNESCO landscape between Ferrara and the coast, part of a huge naturalistic national park known as “Parco del Delta del Po”. The territory was organized by the canals and major deviations of the Po River.  Copparo, a small city of 17,000, sits 25 km to the north east of Ferrara. The graphic designer, Dante Bighi (1926-1994), who worked mostly in Milan, was born here and here built a villa known as “Villa Bighi”, that has been converted into a museum/foundation where this specific workshop has its origins. The activities of the course will be included in the Program of the “Mese dell’Ambiente” organized in March by the local municipality.


Like many small cities in Italy, Copparo contains remnants of an agro-industrial past that no longer fit into contemporary life. In this workshop we will be working with an overall concept of how to structure an agricultural park, an idea that originated in Milan with the Parco Agricolo Sud, and has been applied in Barcelona, Pamplona, Aachen and several other European contexts. We will work on three sites that range in scale from a small garden, a large connecting landscape, and an agricultural extension. Students will investigate the social and environmental potential of Copparo and propose, through models, projects, and performance, how to better utilize the city’s resources and stimulate a newly productive urban/rural city.


Phase one:


March 7th. Milan, 15:00-17:00 Presentation at PoliMi by Prof. Ingersoll, Diego Farina (Assessore al Patrimonio e UNESCO from Comune di Copparo) and architect Maurizio Bonizzi (coordinator of Centro Studi Dante Bighi).


Phase two:


March 14th. Autonomous trip Milano-Ferrara by train/car + TerraViva Bus to Copparo for the check-in at the hotel. Morning: visit villa Bighi, tour of sites, presentation of workshop objectives: Prof.Ingersoll, Assessore Farina, Arch. Bonizzi. Lunch. 15:00-18:00 groups do research and make first sketch proposals. 20:00 Dinner with locals.


March 15th. Copparo, 9:00-12:00, team work and revisions + visit to Mensa, one of the Este “Delizie” under restoration on the Naviglio canal. Picnic at Mensa. 16:00-18:00 revisions of projects. 20:00 aperitivo/dinner/party at Villa Bighi.


March 16th. Copparo, 9:00- 11:00 mid-term presentation to TerraViva professors. Bus to Ferrara, bags left at the Ostello. 12:30-17:00 Bicycle tour of Ferrara on city walls, agricultural parco urbano, picnic-lunch at Bottega degli Orti, visit to Steiner-inspired biodynamic community garden.  Last night in Ferrara.


March 17th. Return to Milan.


Phase three:


March 21st. Last official revision of projects with TerraViva tutors.


March 28th. Final presentations with all the TerraViva professors.


Phase four:


April. Public exhibition of the final projects in Copparo’s Urban Center (printed panels, maquettes, etc…).




- Submissions at:  workshop.terraviva@gmail.com

- Location:  Politecnico di Milano (Campus Leonardo) + Centro Studi Dante Bighi (Copparo) + Ferrara

- Credits:  4CFU

- Dates:  from Thursday 14/03 to Sunday 18/03 (4 days of teamwork at In Copparo/Ferrara) + Compulsory Revision with TerraViva tutors on Thursday 21/02 + Final Presentation to all the TerraViva professors on Thursday 28/02 

- Program:  The Official Schedule and Time-table will be released within the first half of January

- Facebook/Instagram Pages:  Workshop.Terraviva



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Our Soil, Our Commons,  Our Future

A new vision for Planetary Citizenship 


“Upon this handful of soil our survival depends. Husband it and it will grow our food, our fuel, and our shelter and surround us with beauty.

Abuse it and the soil will collapse and die, taking humanity with it”


From  Vedas Sanskrit Scripture

1500 BC


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