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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 .

1 févr. 2008

Eco_Logic Highrise

Spring/Autumn 2007

Premise :
"How does a surrounding element, with its various specific characteristics, affect the general form we have been studying? How does the form, both determined and a determinant, assert itself against these elements? What manner of hard parts, soft parts, interior parts, and exterior parts are created in the form by this effect ? And what is wrought by the elements through all their diversity of height and depth, region and climate?"
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Growing structures:
This Atelier continues its research into multi-performance high-rise buildings as an opportunity to investigate on morpho-ecological structures.
We consider ecology as the study of interrelation between organisms and their environment in this sense the differentiation and performance of material organization will play a key role for a responsive architecture and its interaction with the built environment. Where the average of high-rise became a symbol of commerce, the ecologic high-rise can be seen as the physical representation of complexity.
Complexity it is not conceived as an aesthetical "capriccio" but as the final result of a bottom-up design process based on a cause effects relations between the prototype organization and the external stimuli. These may include environmental, structural, or other performing criteria, which are to be related to a spatial strategy, organisation and requirements.

Design as a process:
The Atelier is conceived as an advanced design lab.
We focus on an information-based design process in which site specific information will be produced and used as a generative tool.
Emphasis will be placed on form-finding techniques through the making of many evolutions and evaluations of physical and digital models. At the same time we make use of the latest computer capabilities (environmental simulations, generative scripting, parametric modelling) and rapid prototyping techniques (CAM methods).

Each student has developed a project of a performing high-rise prototype, through extensive physical and digital modelling, that will respond to site (Paris) specific conditions.
Workshop sessions in parametric modelling has been led by the atelier staff and invited guests.
The sites selected to reflect upon the question of the building vertical in Paris are the ones chosen on january 2007 by the committee of the 'Ville de Paris' and that could accommodate towers:
-la porte de la Chapelle (18th arrondissement)
-la porte de Bercy (12th arrondissement)

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