Eco-Urbanism

5 Nov

Contextual sensitivity has emerged as a primary method within the design process, in regards to massing, integration, and most saliently- to sustainability. A more eco-friendly intention has surfaced, and has become a deciding factor of many designs. It becomes less about the building in isolation, but rather more about the building in relation to both the immediate micro-landscape as well as the distant macro-landscape. This method therefore addresses all scales: from a single material within a building, to the overall urban context of an entire neighborhood, city, or even country. A green economy, green design, and green experience is rapidly becoming the archetype of contemporary cities.

Pino Scaglione’s book, Cities in Nature, seeks to encourage a new method of thinking about the relationship between urban and natural systems, analyzing the potential interactions between public spaces, natural environments, infrastructure, and architecture. He defines an essential word in the study of eco-urbanism: metrolandscape, which is defined as design in relation to urban infrastructure. This term becomes the embodiment of his theory, in which the relationship between design and urban infrastructure, and its interrogation of the territory, are the means through which successful design is holistically integrated on an urban scale.

Metrolandscape_Urban Connections

To begin to comprehend the interaction between design and territory, ecological output diagrams and extensive analyses are presented. These indicate the quality of life, consumer output, pollution, and infrastructural metropolis that exists within and between major cities. From the inception of research and analysis begets experimentation.

Italy_Ecological Output

Many architecture firms have been expanding upon each other’s research to develop both fictitious and actual projects that manifest the current condition of eco-urbanism. Among these is the Bolzano Contemporary city by Metrogramma Studio. Within this design process, they have enacted several important meta-planning studies on topics related to the scarcity of space in the Valley of Bolzano and its possible expansion scenarios. They have investigated, and thus designed, potential urban development within the realms of both urban density and ecological impact within the Valley. Another influential cite-scale renovation occurred under the direction of Stefano Boeri Architects, who established a new masterplan for the city of Rovereto.

Rovereto experienced significant urban mutation over a period of decades, yet did not undergo significant urban development to counteract such drastic changes. These transformations included increased tourism, university influence, and new urban infrastructure. The intent of the masterplan was to determine some strategic areas to improve in connection with the new conditions within the city. It sought to unify the disparate expansions of different urban components, and create a greater union as a city. On a smaller urban scale, architects have established building designs that meet the criteria of the metrolandscape intention.

Rovereto_Urban Masterplan

Casa Holler sits in an austere but natural landscape, atop a wooded slope with panoramic views of the Adige Valley and the cityscape of Bolzano. With such a rich site, the quality of the landscape could easily be lost through a constructive intervention. Therefore, the architects Holler and Klotzner elevated the volume of the residence so as to preserve the natural development of the land and the integrity of the untouched terrain.

Casa Holler_Territory Preservation

Pino Scaglione’s research exists within a thriving field of eco-urbanism and greater sensitivity to green urban design. His analyses of the ecological footprints of cities and their urban infrastructural design are directly correlated with the abundant innovative and experimental work by countless other architects within the field. The notion of a metrolandscape invites all other architects to partake in the urban restorative revolution.

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