M21: modern urban agriculture society 2019-03-05T19:35:30+00:00


National design competition: AAA Architetti Cercasi
Award: First Prize
Year: 2015
Site: Bari, Italy
Client: Confcooperative Federabitazione Nazionale, Fondosviluppo spa

Collaborators: F.Ferrante, G.D.Vulpio

M21_Modern urban agriculture society
M21_site plan

[…Una politica energetica non si attua con congegni tecnici ma con una riorganizzazione sociale…]

[…Si tratta di ripensare il ruolo dell’energia nella nostra civiltà, nella vita quotidiana dell’uomo qualunque e, allo stesso modo, di ripensare che cosa possa fare l’uomo qualunque per migliorare lo stato attuale delle cose, di cui è succube. Sono sinceramente convinto che la civiltà industriale sia importante, ma sono ancora più convinto che la sopravvivenza delle persone, degli “uomini qualunque” sia più importante…]

(Yona Friedman, Alternative energetiche. Breviario dell’ autosufficienza locale. 2012, Bollati Bolinghieri)


The industrial civilisation we live in wastes a huge amount of energy. People living in an industrial developed country consume ten times more the energy then an individual of the Third World. We do think that a lot of energy is needed to live well but at the same time we cannot ignore that low cost energy era is over. Therefore, facing the increasing resources costs, it is important to think about a new policy that could reduce energy waste, saving the resources as our countryside men used to do, a reality that  still persists in the Third World. It is necessary to focus on a new “updated agricultural society” based on its own self-sufficiency. We believe that this future perspective is possible and that good architecture can help.


If a district  is not capable of  self-sustenance will become another dependant part of the nearest city centre.  Architecture stimulates the social living and organizes the spaces following the heritage of the mediterrean way of living and increasing the range of public spaces. This project connects with the existing urban situation which is integration of the new and the heritage of the landscape embracing nature, culture and facilities.


We think that if a distict  cannot be autonomous, soon or later its inhabitats will move in another part of the city  unsatisfied, causing overpopulation and then return home for sleeping with the sense of unsatisfaction. The restictions imposed by the Piano Particolareggiato, the big distance between  the city centre and the project areas,  the neat cut between the urban textures , due to the presence of the main infrastructural axis of the city (SS16), contributes to the isolation condition of the area. However, the remarkable landscape resources of a countryside that will become soon a city, forced the designers to face the theme of integration between the rigid grid plan and the fragmentation of the countryside. A new “connective tissue” capable of hosting tradional rural activities will give the inhabitats the opportunity to contemplate the landscape and take advantage of some urban functions such as housing and facilities. Parks, green boulevards and urban yards will contribute to the restauration of the landscape and reinforce the alliance between  countryside and city. It is therefore possible to reinterpret the inherited historical landscape without losing its heritage, converting it into a precious source of  wellness.


The architectural design proposal is based on the fact that if a neighbourhood isn’t capable of self–sustenance it will live a sort of bipolarity with the city centre, far from the neighbourhood. The building isn’t just a residence in a narrow sense but  it vehicules the meaning of dwelling, interpreted as the ability  to host the  largest number of relations as much as possible. Open spaces play a fundamental  role  in the functional plan of the district. The surface of the entire urban area is characterized by different realities and functions: parks and urban gardens, exchange and gathering spaces.


The project is an attempt to go beyond the monofunctional logic of the building, introducing several social common spaces in order to give the inhabitats of the neighbourhood a place to meet and  perform different kinds of activities. The strategy consists in giving the comunity what normally is given to the builder. We believe that architecture cannot design the life of people with spaces but provide a helpful  inducement for the comunity.


The apartment disposition tries to interpret the model of mediterranean architecture. The internal subdivision gives a certain flexibility to the apartment, in order to give the owners the freedom to arrange the spaces. The same principle is adopted for the disposition of the apartments in the entire building volume in order to prevent and cancel that “serial effect” typical of contemporary social housing, without increasing costs, nor invalidating spaces quality. A 0,6 meters module has also allowed us to place larger apartments on two levels declaring their internal rythm on the facade. The apartments plan layout is never the same in the three buildings so that the three facades are different from each other. We ensured an internal flexibility saving the traditional way of dwelling. Ground floors host coworking spaces that consist in two levels: a library and working stations.