21 Oct 2022
Camila, Birgit, Clara, Giulietta, Giulia, Iga, Clarissa, Melina, Ana, Monica, Vittoria, Rosa, Mariam, Carolina, Panagiota, Dora, Jessica, Sally e Stefano. Last Friday, at the Iuav in Venice, I had the immense pleasure of graduating all these passionate scholars and architects on the challenging intersection of neuroscience and architecture. With them, ever since the 2017 NAAD has bestowed 57 degrees, the large majority to women. When we started this attempt to ground the design on scientific awareness about human responses to environmental perception, it sounded pretentious.
After four editions of this course, which has welcomed students from all over the world, we are keen to continue this path. Creativity and unique culture are fundamental ingredients to interpret this new awareness. No algorithm will ever substitute it.
This is the most straightforward reason to embrace this approach.
Davide Ruzzon, NAAD Director
08 July 2022
How can science be supportive of the design of buildings and cities? Simply considering also the human sciences. We are used to asking for scientific support to calculate foundations and slabs or the energy spending of a building. Why are architects so skeptical of the support of human sciences, on those disciplines capable of interpreting the needs of people, starting from the recognition we have bodies, emotions, feelings, and expectations? Beyond Real Estate metrics, there are Human Metrics.
At the Biennale in Venice, Giardini di Sant'Elena, at the NAAD Closing Day, whit:
David Kirsh [ANFA President]
Eve Edelstein [University College London]
Giovanni Vecchiato, Fausto Caruana and Pietro Avanzini [Neuroscience Dept. Parma University]
Renato Bocchi [Emeritus Full Professor - Iuav University]
Angela Vettese [Professor - Iuav University]
Juhani Pallasmaa [Helsinki University of Technology, Finland]
Harry Mallgrave [Illinois Institute of Technology, USA]
Sarah Robinson [Aalborg University, Denmark]
Alberto Perez Gomez [McGill University, Canada]
Davide Ruzzon [NAAD-Iuav]
6|7 July 2022
July 6th: Offices
In the last years, employees’ mental wellbeing has become increasingly important for companies, also thanks to the awareness raised by research and new discoveries in the fields of psychology and neuroscience. With the pandemic and the consequent shift to remote work, the physical offices are witnessing many changes. The professionals bringed their experience for a lecture about new trends in architectural design and neuroscientific insights about offices and workers.
July 7th: Town Hall
Since ancient times architecture has been used by human institutions as a tool to embody power, as a statement of magnificence, strength and authority. The strong relationship between civic centres and the socio-political realm depicts the government’s expression towards the citizens. Studies in space perception and sociology show that the features of urban environments affect the emotional dimension of humans, and the design on buildings of power relies strongly on these processes to generate identity and influence. To what extent can the subjective sensibility of architects shape these processes?
The lecture “Town Halls” focused on the relationship between architecture, power and perception, from different points of view through an interdisciplinary approach.
4|5 July 2022
July 4th: Mall
Various professionals addressed the theme from a psychological, social, design, management, and development point of view. The day committed to discussing and understanding how the design of malls and environmental stimuli can influence the users experience in conditioning their choices and purchasing behaviors.
The goal is to understand what the dynamics of change in progress are in relation to the evolution of user needs and their emotional expectations.
The professionals showed us how the consumer experience is changing and the social impact that malls have and will have in the cities of the future as social catalysts.
In the final part of the day, a round table discussion taked place from the different professional perspectives. An opportunity to exchange ideas on the characteristics and innovations of malls in order to configure them as urban hubs with an identity and social value.
July 5th: Hospitals
The purpose of the in-depth day dedicated to Healthcare Architecture is to convey to students the technological / functional complexity, the spatial articulation, the plurality of users that populate the hospital building and the consequent need for an integrated, holistic design focused on the final user, from the earliest stages of conception so that the building becomes an instrument of care and health promotion.
The hospital is a huge, complex and expensive building within which very different functions and processes take place that all contribute to a single final purpose, that is to treat in the best possible way, the greatest number of people in the least possible time. From this impressive mission derives the habit of considering the hospital a large machine and defining its efficiency through quantitative / production parameters related to the number of patients or services in a year. This idea of a hospital brings with it all the problems generated by a too reductionist vision of the needs to which the designer must find an answer, up to the risk of losing sight of the final purpose: to generate health and well-being.
The hospital building is often compared to an airport for technical and functional complexity but in reality it is more like a city where all the activities that make up the life of human beings take place: in a hospital people born, work, heal, take care of others, but also see dying and die.
Therefore, in it the users of the spaces experience all possible emotions, often in difficult situations and in conditions of fragility. It is therefore extremely important to consider all types of users: technical operators, healthcare professionals, internal patients, outpatients, visitors, caregivers, administrators, young people, the elderly, children, adults, adolescents, men, women, non-binary people, etc. . and analyze their expectations before entering the facility and the needs in the various moments spent within it in order to make their experience inside the hospital the best and most appropriate possible for their action in the spaces.
8|9 Jun 2022
June 08th : Sacred spaces.
⇢ Shaun Gallagher, American philosopher and specialist of phenomenology and embodied cognition who presented his research on the neurophenomenlogy of awe, thus questioning the experience of the sacred both from a phenomenological approach and a cognitive approach with an emphasis on the link between the body and the mind.
⇢ Michele Astone, PhD in architecture at La Sapienza in Rome presented his thesis work on the relationship between church and cities in the work of Francesco Berarducci, allowing us to question the identity of sacred spaces within our environment and cities.
⇢ Gianluca Peluffo, renowned architect in Italy, presented his concepts and intentions on the Sokhna Mosque in Egypt.
Second part of the day: Round table with
⇢ Sarah Robinson, architect and writer informed us on how the built environment interacts to shape the body, mind and culture and thus discuss how we can create a sense of togetherness between space, body and mind.
⇢ Alberto Perez Gomez, architectural historian and theorist who developed a phenomenological approach to architecture, spoked about the relation between the space and the context and environment it is in.
June 09th : Prison.
Despite efforts over the past decades in the legislative and designing fields to improve their conditions, prisons still remain places of suffering and humiliation for both inmates and the staff working in them. Detention space, in fact, is still considered as a place of custody voted to depersonalization and loneliness, rather than as a center of rehabilitation and resocialization. In some cases, it is no exaggeration when prisons are described as "potential schools of crime".
To humanize these spaces and to ensure that, from reservoirs of “human waste” they could come to a source of redemption and inspiration, is a difficult but necessary goal. To make this happen, we now have the opportunity to call upon the latest research conducted in the field of neuroscience and environmental psychology. Space, in fact, according to the latest studies, can be considered as an effective tool to manage emotions, foster relationships, and enable psycho-physical well-being.
According to the European Prison Observatory, a project coordinated by the Italian NGO Antigone, which studies the conditions of European prison systems through quantitative and qualitative analysis, there would be about 600,000 inmates in Europe. The overcrowded and unhealthy environments in which most of them live impair their psycho-physiological and social functions.
Intervening on spatial conditions, taking these aspects into account, would also mean being able to act on levels of aggression and the underlying perception of overcrowding, and thus reduce the risk of potential recidivism or recrudescence.
Architects, psychologists and experts, who have been working in this field for years, maked their valuable contribution by recounting their own work and personal experiences, offering food for thought and providing useful information for understanding the social, as well as the economic, scope of this field.
09 May 2022
Antonio Damasio to Venice to hold a Lectio Magistralis at the Iuav University, in the frame of Master NAAD Neuroscience Applied to Architectural Design. It was a special occasion to deepen the feelings and consciousness relationship, starting from his last book, 'Sentire e Conoscere' published by Adelphi, in Italy.
05 May 2022
To create an architecture that meets her needs and expectations The purpose of the in-depth day dedicated to school construction is to convey to students the importance and power of space in the moment of learning when if it is well studied it can became a third educator.
If rightly the school must be for children and not children for school, as a famous slogan goes, the school building must also be at the service of children and not only from the point of view of safety and hygiene, but also in terms of coherence with its use. A welcoming environment, which puts children in the right mood to grow, to learn and to develop their skills and autonomy.
Given the vast public and private real estate assets and the lack of free land, most of the times schools, as happens in many other sectors, are located inside existing buildings, born for other uses or in times where for the same functions were required different environments and with different purposes from the current ones.
For existing buildings, a regulatory adaptation in the seismic, hygienic-sanitary and energy fields is already planned (often defined as “environmental wellbeing”, reducing the concept of well-being to the thermo-hygrometric one). It would be interesting to investigate the issue of functional adaptation considering users (adults and children) not only as living beings, but in their entirety of body and mind, beings who think, feel emotions and act accordingly.
2|3 May 2022
2nd May, Student Housing
With the aim of bridging various perspectives from different active professionals in the field,
⇢ Upali Nanda, Principle and Director of Research at HKS, she discussed her presentation entitled “Research in Architectural Practice – Linking Brain, Building and Business”.
⇢ Elisabetta Tagliente, Development and Asset Manager for CampusX, shared with the students an overview of the projects and business approach of student housing in Rome.
The first part of the day has been concluded by
⇢ Ester Previti - Communication Manager,
⇢ Laura Sundin and Layla ABD El Monem, Design & Build Group Managers of DoveVivo, an Italian company dedicated to building and managing co-living spaces,
In the second part of the day, open round table with
⇢ Marco Zanibelli – Director of Lombardini22,
⇢ Beatrice Di Costanzo and Lidia Rotondi from FININT SGR – one of the largest fund management companies in Italy.
May 3rd, Social Housing
students taked part, along with leaders and professionals from the field, to an afternoon entirely dedicated to the topic.
⇢ Nicla Lazzaro and Alessandra Milazzi presented the students an overview on the projects by DeaCapital, e Real Estate and Alternative Funds Sgr.
⇢ Milena Prada illustrated a presentation on Fondazione Social Housing, discussing projects, interventions and theoretical aspects of the real estate reality.
⇢ Silvia Massari and Paolo Boleso from InvestireSGR, a leading independent asset manager specialised in actively managing real-estate portfolios, and
⇢ Alice Hollenstein, Urbain Psychologist and founder of Urban Psychology Consulting and Research, who enriched the debate from all perspectives.
11 Apr 2022
Laura Sangiorgi "Colors";
Veronika Kotradyova "Materials and Human Responses";
Sergei Gepshtein "Species of space";
Andrea Ravignani "Rhtythm in biology"