The 21st century has witnessed a growing debate around learning places. A new educational paradigm that favored the spreading of the concept of informality in the renewed pedagogical models has long promised a radical evolution in the design of educational spaces, with the ideal figure of the university campus called to rethink its founding principles to stimulate new alliances between the design of its architectures and the new pedagogical agenda. In contemporary architectural discourse, we are witnessing a paradox: on the one hand, the euphoric rediscovery of the so-called radical pedagogies that in the Seventies had challenged the authoritarianism of the university institution guided by the principle of emancipation from the productive logic of the bureaucratic state; on the other hand, the often artificial revival of an informal use of space instrumentally adapted to the new production logics of a flexible and ever-changing reality. The thesis explores the precedents of this phenomenon in the aftermath of the Second World War in a specific region of Latin America which, despite its peripheral position, has functioned as a laboratory of design experiences on the project of educational space, in dialogue with some Italian architects directly involved in the design of those spaces in which they themselves worked as educators. The research is therefore structured on the critical-design analysis of six university campus projects conceived between Chile and Argentina in the 1950s. The selected episodes are presented as interconnected nodes of an educational project instigated by the same university institutions that intended to favor the relational component in their programs, to transform their internal organization into a flexible structure and to realize the highest level of integration with the outside world, identified both in the immediate context (urban) and in the larger one (regional). What emerges from the trajectory of selected episodes is a complex of architectural and urban solutions that are anything but neutral and univocal with respect to an alleged pedagogical mandate. On the contrary, these are multiple, ambitious and even divergent solutions, identified by specific design themes through which to explore the new educational paradigm within their own specific context. Therefore, the limits of the peripheral condition are turned into the advantages of a privileged territory for architecturally exploring the relationship between university and city around the theme of the monument, the ground, the megastructure, the envelope or the internal atrium. In parallel, the thesis identifies the architect-educator in charge of these experiments as a prototypical figure. In particular, they always participate in the post-war architectural discourse by operating an internal critique mostly supported by design contributions. As part of the institutional apparatus of the university, all the protagonists of the selected episodes interpret and adapt this figure to a specific condition with their contribution that are not only original proposals for educational spaces, but all these proposals are always reinvested in the environment in which each of them already work as teacher or consultant. In conclusion, the selected episodes and the work of the South American and Italian architects operating in this particular context become the pretext for discussing a design trajectory enriched by other experiences and theoretical contributions that are previous, contemporary or subsequent to the selected cases, rather instrumental for repositioning the architectural and urban themes analysed in this thesis at the center of a critical reflection on the design of contemporary educational spaces, especially on the gradual shift from the extended dimension of the campus to the inner content of its architectures.

The project of informal education. A design trajectory of university architectures in postwar Latin America and Italy

MORO, MARCO
2021-07-15

Abstract

The 21st century has witnessed a growing debate around learning places. A new educational paradigm that favored the spreading of the concept of informality in the renewed pedagogical models has long promised a radical evolution in the design of educational spaces, with the ideal figure of the university campus called to rethink its founding principles to stimulate new alliances between the design of its architectures and the new pedagogical agenda. In contemporary architectural discourse, we are witnessing a paradox: on the one hand, the euphoric rediscovery of the so-called radical pedagogies that in the Seventies had challenged the authoritarianism of the university institution guided by the principle of emancipation from the productive logic of the bureaucratic state; on the other hand, the often artificial revival of an informal use of space instrumentally adapted to the new production logics of a flexible and ever-changing reality. The thesis explores the precedents of this phenomenon in the aftermath of the Second World War in a specific region of Latin America which, despite its peripheral position, has functioned as a laboratory of design experiences on the project of educational space, in dialogue with some Italian architects directly involved in the design of those spaces in which they themselves worked as educators. The research is therefore structured on the critical-design analysis of six university campus projects conceived between Chile and Argentina in the 1950s. The selected episodes are presented as interconnected nodes of an educational project instigated by the same university institutions that intended to favor the relational component in their programs, to transform their internal organization into a flexible structure and to realize the highest level of integration with the outside world, identified both in the immediate context (urban) and in the larger one (regional). What emerges from the trajectory of selected episodes is a complex of architectural and urban solutions that are anything but neutral and univocal with respect to an alleged pedagogical mandate. On the contrary, these are multiple, ambitious and even divergent solutions, identified by specific design themes through which to explore the new educational paradigm within their own specific context. Therefore, the limits of the peripheral condition are turned into the advantages of a privileged territory for architecturally exploring the relationship between university and city around the theme of the monument, the ground, the megastructure, the envelope or the internal atrium. In parallel, the thesis identifies the architect-educator in charge of these experiments as a prototypical figure. In particular, they always participate in the post-war architectural discourse by operating an internal critique mostly supported by design contributions. As part of the institutional apparatus of the university, all the protagonists of the selected episodes interpret and adapt this figure to a specific condition with their contribution that are not only original proposals for educational spaces, but all these proposals are always reinvested in the environment in which each of them already work as teacher or consultant. In conclusion, the selected episodes and the work of the South American and Italian architects operating in this particular context become the pretext for discussing a design trajectory enriched by other experiences and theoretical contributions that are previous, contemporary or subsequent to the selected cases, rather instrumental for repositioning the architectural and urban themes analysed in this thesis at the center of a critical reflection on the design of contemporary educational spaces, especially on the gradual shift from the extended dimension of the campus to the inner content of its architectures.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/315903
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