ILAUD and the Department of Architecture of the University of Ferrara established in 2020 an award dedicated to the memory of Etra “Connie” Occhialini, vice-president of ILAUD, engaged until her last days as a teacher of the Urban Planning Laboratory at the Department of Architecture of the University of Ferrara, intended for the Final Year students in Architecture and young graduates in Architecture after 2018.
The Award concerned one of the crucial themes in Connie’s research and teaching: the “reading” of the urban context, in particular the public open space and the landscape, as an essential component of the urban and architectural project. It consisted of two scholarships of 1,500 euros, to make a study trip aimed at carrying out onsite documentation and critical analysis of interventions of regeneration or new creation of a public space of urban significance, in Italy or another European country, implemented in the last decade or in an advanced state of construction.
The brief required to highlight, among other things, the reasons and history of the intervention, its urban relevance, the operators and the possible involvement of the inhabitants, the functions and uses, the elements that characterize the architectural configuration and the urban landscape, the environmental and social impact, namely the capacity to favor processes of inclusion and interaction between the different components of society. It was also asked to demonstrate the public interest in the intervention and its contribution to the cultural debate.
The modalities of “reading” and presentation of the work were free, however, a series of graphic and written elaborations necessary for understanding the places and related issues was required, which will be presented on the ILAUD website, published in print, and used as teaching material in the Laboratories.
Despite the considerable work effort required and the difficulties of the moment, seven study proposals were received (five individuals and two groups), concerning two projects in Italy ( one in Rome and one in Riesi, Sicily) and five abroad, in other European countries (two in Barcelona, two in Lisbon and one in Vienna), all fully responding to the spirit and the specific requests of the brief.
The proposals were examined by a jury formed by two professors from the University of Ferrara, the Director of the Department of Architecture prof. Alessandro Ippoliti and the President of the Master program in Architecture prof. Gianluca Frediani, by an ILAUD representative, prof. Daniele Pini, as well as by an administrative manager.
Based on the interest of the interventions identified for the exercise of “reading” and, above all, of the originality of the methodology proposed by the competitors, the following study proposals were awarded:
ANITA GUSTUTI, MARINA SERVIDEI, MARTINA ULBAR, final year graduating students from the University of Ferrara, who intend to analyze an urban regeneration project in Lisbon, the Terraços do Carmo designed by Alvaro Siza, which creates a complex connecting space between the Barrio Alto and the Baixa in the central Chiado district, rebuilt after a devastating fire, in which the preservation of the memory of the places is achieved through genuinely contemporary architecture.
MARGHERITA DAGNINO, graduated in Architecture at the University of Genoa, who intends to analyze the effects, in particular the social impact, of a small regeneration project in Riesi (province of Caltanisetta, Sicily) started with the recovery and the opening to the public for recreational and cultural uses of a building confiscated from the mafia, and supplemented by the upgrading of the surrounding streets and open spaces, with the creation of playgrounds and meeting spaces.
In full coherence with the teaching of Etra “Connie” Occhialini and with the works of ILAUD, both proposals reflect a complex and inclusive vision of architecture and urban design, emphasizing the social and environmental aspects of the intervention, as shown by the forms of appropriation of the spaces by the inhabitants as well as the quality and sustainability of the architectural and spatial configurations.