the sounding line
The built world, the field where we navigate, is where these ‘thoughts’ work and operate; a world partly well known to us and partly hidden to our consciousness.
Alison and Peter Smithson, Italian Thoughts
diploma3 projects for this year were sited in the historic landscape surrounding the Naviglio Pavese, a neglected canal that flows south from the city of Milan 33 kilometers to the Lombard city of Pavia and the River Ticino. Begun in the 16th century as part of a network of canals in the region, the Naviglio Pavese was once a vital transportation link yet has fallen into disrepair since the 1950’s and remains solely as an irrigation waterway for the surrounding rice fields and poplar plantations. This canal cuts through a landscape rich in history and remarkable buildings, monasteries, cemeteries, large disused farms or ‘cascines’ and sites of abandoned industry. In 2015, the city of Milan will host the World Expo. Under the theme: ‘feeding the planet, energy for life’ the city intends to focus resources on the reclamation and redevelopment of farms and the network of canals that flow through the city and countryside, extending the exposition site to areas beyond the city. This current discussion of real options and expected government funding towards infrastructure, made our investigations and propositions along this canal timely.
The unit investigations into this region began with a project entitled atlas. Working within the techniques offered by printmaking, the atlas was understood as a large-format non-hierarchical book that allowed the students to establish and document their interests and the specifics of this extraordinary place; also as a collective ground for interpretation and intervention.
24 projects were developed by the unit along the length of the Naviglio Pavese. We encouraged a willingness to work with these places as they are, modifying with judgment, generosity and optimism. All projects in the unit explored the architectural possibilities within the theme of cloister, a typology that is prevalent in this landscape and one that suggests both a sense of separation as well as community. Our intention was to speculate how, through architecture, one could give value and meaning back to this landscape and be an eloquent measure and catalyst towards simpler and more enduring forms of settlement.
Villa Garbald Workshop
Yuichi ‘Hashi’ Hashimura
Mohammed Syed Shah