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atelier paolo cascone _ esa

Spring term 2010

We do not lack communication. On the contrary, we have too much of it. We lack creation. We lack resistance to the present. (Deleuze and Guattari)

Thoeory in practice:

This semester our agenda investigates on post-vernacular ecological prototypes.

We will investigate on vernacular unplanned settlements and construction techniques for performative village prototypes and low tech dwellings in extreme microclimatic conditions.

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The APC 6 months design studio intends to develop high-tech design / low-tech construction approach to performative design merging computational process within vernacular construction techniques from Sahel region. We will develop research by design on on self-organized village prototypes and performative local dwellings (house prototypes, schools, community centers etc.). Where extreme micro-climatic conditions become an environmental and social emergency for local communities this atelier will integrate geometrically parametric approach into local construction techniques.

The purpose will be to develop a scale one to one prototype in Ouagodougou (Burkina Faso) as a concrete experience for students to test evolutionary material organization out of traditional constructive systems and its environmental performances.


The project will start in Paris where we will develop a research on local construction systems and material – walls, vaults, domes and dwellings – of the Sahel region, where increasing desertification has led to a lack of timber for traditional methods of construction. In addition to this we will develop programmatic layouts for the Barghoula (40 min from Ouagadougou) village in collaboration with our local contacts trying to respond to local needs according to site-specific microclimatic analysis and dynamic simulations in order to recognize imbalances, tendencies and site-specific types of developmental opportunities. Digital and physical models will be developed and tested from the structural and the environmental point of view.


During the second phase the atelier will enter into an information-based design process in which phase 1 data will give consistency to the design strategy. This strategy will open up to the generative potentials of the machinic in architecture. A set of rules and constraints will defines material organizations that emerges trough technical consistency. The eco machine prototype will be generate out of physical and digital modelling according to the idea of using local and recycled materials. Morphogenetic will play a key role as opposite to non geometrical technology responding to multi-parametric criteria (energy producing, waste storing, treating and recycling etc…) .A catalogue of configurations will be produced out of the initial prototype (genotype) will be produced and tested trough scripting techniques and simulations.

Phase 3

In the beginning phase 3 the prototype will be proliferated and tested in larger scale. Meanwhile we will focus on design to manufacture techniques trough rapid prototyping machines .