Studioartec was born in 2005, when four designers with different skills met to accomplish the entire process of building design, regarding both architecture and engineering. The author of the present article is head of architectural design in the studio. Artec means architecture and technique, a name that highlights design as a series of processes that require different skills and knowledge. We aim at a high design quality with great care for sustainability and for a balance with the landscape and preexistences.
We'd like to design authentic architectures for the 21st century, architectures that go beyond both modernism and post-modernism, defining a new approach to design that tries to transcend and include all the lessons of the past, while remaining absolutely contemporary.
The main theoretical basis of this approach are Peter Zumthor's buildings and thoughts, the concept of critical regionalism as defined by Kenneth Frampton, the contemporary research on sustainability, the work of Juhani Pallasmaa on architecture and perception and of Peter Buchanan on the need to redefine the discipline as a whole.
I like to say that "Architecture is the name we give to all the physical and mental feelings we have for being in a man-made place". This is a phenomenological approach which highlights that it is not form for form's sake that engage us more, but the ability of architecture to create a place with a strong identity, to house our lives in beauty, in the most proper and most apt atmosphere for our gestures. This is the aim of architecture and in this way architecture is the art of life. A complete art (not just visual) that expresses itself through light, forms and materials reinforcing our deepest feelings and gestures and giving them a home. An art which enhances our awareness of the present moment and of our actions.
A good way to find a new way to define architecture is to start from scratch for every idea or task, to ask ourselves why we build and how we associate functions (physical and psychological) with forms. I'd like to think each new building as an archetype that hosts human activities and define functions.
Archetype also as a way to interrogate ourselves on the deepest meanings of architecture.
Archetype as a way to build a new architecture without mimicking the past (ancient or recent) but transcending and including it.
The relationship between architecture and place is not just about perception and social
interactions but also cultural. A good building must be able to measure with local culture. A correct
approach to the use of materials, the critical re-invention of typologies, development and
enhancement of ancient building tecniques in a contemporary way are elements which add
deepness to a new building and that radicate it more in the cultural fabric where it is located.
Architecture is always related to a specific site, it is born in a place and is in relationship with an
environment, with other buildings, with the landscape. A good and simple rule is to enhance the
quality of a place with the new building. Like all simple rules it's difficult to put in practice. Being
able to put himself in discussion, being patient and perseverant are essential qualities for the architect.
Both the words city and civilization originate from the latin word civitas. Is it really possible to
separate the civic values of a community from the urban quality of the cities where it lives? Or the
two things are inextricably bound and inter-dependant? One of the roles of architecture is to build
and reinvigorate the civic values of human life through a strong influence on the quality of the
spaces where human actions take place. Good architecture has to try to integrate with the
exixting city, to build it, to connect and phisically interrelate with it.
It's been too a long time that urbanism has actually forgotten the art of designing places, as it's too a long time that we limit ourselves to planning different areas in our cities instead of designing in detail our urban realms, thus we have lost the ability to create pleasurable public spaces comparable with the urban quality of historic cores of our towns and cities.
A new approach is needed for architecture and for governance systems that regulate architecture. Without mimicking the past we should try to learn from the great lessons of urbanism the past teaches us.
To transmit a culture to the next generations essentially means to transmit them all we know about
what it means to be human. It is therefore not possible to think to give them a know-how and a
culture unless this is sustainable, for present and future times.
The years we are living in and the next ones will be crucial for a radical re-thinking of an approach
to architectural design which has to be sustainable, and not just in terms of energy efficiency.
To fall in love with the place we live in is a necessary condition to desire that this place endures in
The role of architecture can be a role of resistance. Good architecture has still the possibility to tell the importance of mantaining a value. Good medieval buildings, or of the reinassance, of the XIX century, post-bellic or contemporary will remain such forever.