Contested Space & Responsive Architecture

A Summer School in Italy, Supino, Lazio, August 20-26th 2012

5th September 2012:

Jim Roche from the Dublin School of Architecture taught on the Supino International Summer School in Italy from 20-26 August.


Luisa Morgantini with some of the students

Hosted by Luisa Morgantini, ex MEP and former Vice President of the European Parliament in collaboration with Supino Municipality, and led by Yara Sharif from Palestine and Nasser Golzari from Iran, the School attracted teachers and students from Palestine, Iran, Turkey, Italy, Sudan, Ireland and Oman.

The aim of the summer school was to explore the architectural and urban potential of small towns such as Supino (population 5000) that exist on the periphery of a major European historical city, in its case Rome, within the context of the current capitalist crisis.

Students and teachers addressed the following themes under the title of ‘contested space’ exploring, through social mapping, how architectural and urban forms and spaces might respond:

  • A  -  Traces and Signatures (addressing personal memory, social invisibility, etc.).
  • B  -  Wrapping and Breathing (addressing everyday life, climate and environment).
  • D - Economic and social stitching (addressing issues of local “tourism” and social sustainability, local migration and local empowerment.

The aim was to offer responsive design proposals that addressed the above themes and that would contribute towards stitching the town together socially, economically and spatially.

After meetings with the mayor, elected local representatives and municipality officials and having explored the town and interviewed locals, the students and teachers worked on their analysis and ideas for several days in the primary school with input from the host and municipality representatives. A public exhibition of the students’ endeavors, hung in traditional south Italian style, entitled ‘Reimagining Supino’ and an open discussion with locals occurred in the town square - Piazza Umberto - on the final day.

The exploratory School was intended as a first phase in what could become an ongoing exploration of international collaboration in exploring architectural solutions to the problems of Supino and similar towns. Hopefully some DIT students will attend next year.

>> View the school poster (PDF)


Jim Roche, second from left, with Luisa Morgantini introducing the students


Students present initial ideas


Locals observe students' work in Piazza Umberto


One of the student's posters in Piazza Umberto


Students' posters on display in Piazza Umberto


Meeting the Mayor and other officials at Municipality


Students present final ideas to locals in Piazza Umberto


Another of the student's posters


One of the student's posters


Luisa Morgantini explains the process to the regional TV station


Luisa Morgantini with Nasser Golzari discussing one student's poster


One of the Italian student's poster


Meeting the mayor, Jim Roche second from left

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