Architecture, a process of change in society

Published
26 Sept 2018

Reading
3 min


«Any form of creativity has to be guided by a serious, in-depth cognitive path. Also, architecture requires knowledge and creative empathy with the places where it is deployed. This is why I have founded the SOS – School of Sustainability, where the professionals of tomorrow, of the next 20 years, can learn, grow and meet major challenges».

With these words, Mario Cucinella began to tell the story of the adventure of the SOS – School of Sustainability, founded in Bologna and now directed by Massimo Imparato: with Imparato and three students of the school (Laura Lamendola, Maria Pazzaglia, Valerio Vincioni), Arch. Cucinella took part on Wednesday 26 September in the encounter “Ceramics in sustainable design” in the setting of the Café della Stampa at Cersaie in Bologna.

Knowing how to ‘measure’ materials and their level of sustainability is decisive in the design of today and tomorrow. Various materials, like wood and ceramics, convey a message that is as old as mankind. Yet it is also still very modern. Water, earth, fire, an age-old tradition now combined with avant-garde technologies, make ceramics one of the most sustainable materials available to designers. In a new perspective that sees sustainability and material quality as synonyms for comfort and personal wellness.

«Design that pays no attention to places, cultures, landscape and energy conditions, has created models that are not suited to the climate and to local conditions, transforming construction not into an opportunity, but into an energy problem on a worldwide scale», Cucinella continued. The exponential growth of cities has been a great opportunity, but global economics increasingly oriented only towards profits has generated neglect of people and created alienating places, like the peripheries of large cities.

«Building in the peripheries is now a major opportunity, which requires a new design approach and demands the involvement of institutions, the academic world, and business. The project SeiMilano in which we are involved at present is a major effort of urban regeneration in the outskirts of the city to the southwest, and proposes the theme of the garden city, in keeping with a model of urban growth marked by a close symbiosis between architecture and landscape», the architect explained.

In the perspective of Cucinella and SOS, architecture should return to the center of the process of change in the society, in a competent and influential way, providing the young people who will be the leaders of tomorrow with the tools to approach the challenges of the future. «I am thinking about the projects of my studio for healthcare, such as the Città della Salute e della Ricerca in Sesto San Giovanni (Milan) or the new Polo Chirurgico e delle Urgenze at Ospedale San Raffaele, also in Milan. To design places of care while caring for places, putting the emphasis on details and quality of spaces, getting back to the idea of a place of hospitality, where people take care of people».

A new idea of sustainability that takes the technical side into account, the performance of buildings, but above all a relationship between architecture and landscape capable of generating identity. A model that pays attention to places and people: only in this way can sustainability be transformed from protest into action, allowing architecture to recreate the profound ties between people, environment and the constructed world.

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