Designing Soil and Subsoil Spaces in Architecture. Analysis and Enhancement of Disused Military Sites of the Cold War

When:  September 4-15, 2023

Where: Università degli Studi di Brescia


Ali Abu ghanimeh (The University of Jordan, Forum Architetti mediterranei), Olivia Longo (University of Brescia)


Ali Abu Ghanimeh (The University of Jordan, Forum Architetti mediterranei), Shaden Abu safieh (Middle East University), Ibrahim Al-hindi (Birzeit University), Claudia Battaino (University of Trento), Simona Bravaglieri (University of Bologna), Annette Condello (Curtin University), Oqba Fakoush (Damascus University), João Ferreira Nunes (Università della Svizzera italiana), Pedro Garcia Martinez (Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena), Mattias Legnér (Uppsala Universitet), Olivia Longo (University of Brescia), Ibrahim Maarouf (Alexandria University), Alessandro Massarente (University of Ferrara), Raffaella Neri (Politecnico di Milano), Ivana Passamani (University of Brescia), Piotr Podemski (University of Warsaw), Lejla Šabić-Džumhur (University of Sarajevo), José Vela Castillo (IE University Segovia Madrid), Lucio Zazzara (University of Pescara). 


Ali Abu Ghanimeh, Shaden Abu safieh, Ibrahim Al-hindi, Claudia Battaino, Simona Bravaglieri, Annette Condello, Silvia Dalzero, Oqba Fakoush, João Ferreira Nunes, Pedro Garcia Martinez, Lejla Kresevljakovic, Mattias Legnér, Olivia Longo, Ibrahim Maarouf, Luciana Macaluso, Alessandro Massarente, Raffaella Neri, Piotr Podemski, Salvatore Rugino, Lejla Šabić-Džumhur, Davide Sigurtà, José Vela Castillo, Lucio Zazzara.


Davide Sigurtà (University of Brescia).


Lejla Kresevljakovic (University of Sarajevo), Salvatore Rugino (University of Brescia), Davide Sigurtà (University of Brescia).


Leonardo Malatesta (Centro Studi Storico Militari sulla Guerra fredda).


Behlül Mert Can (Sakarya University)


Alexandria University, Birzeit University, Centro Studi Storico Militari sulla Guerra fredda, Curtin University, Damascus University, Forum Architetti mediterranei, IE University Segovia Madrid, Middle East University, Politecnico di Milano, RuniPace, Sakarya University, University for Peace, The University of Jordan, University of Bologna, University of Brescia, University of Ferrara, University of Pescara, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, University of Sarajevo, Università della Svizzera italiana, University of Trento, University of Warsaw, Uppsala Universitet.

This International Summer School (ISS) is an advanced and refresher course and, consequently, it aims at providing the opportunity to gain professional experience, including scientific knowledge and empirical research on the themes of the course. In particular the aims are:
- to provide methodological and empirical tools related to architectural and landscape design, to survey and reuse recently abandoned buildings of cultural value, witnesses and bearers of an unstable and unconsolidated historical memory;
- to manage the planning strategies regarding the building heritage both at the architectural and urban scales, enriching the figure of the technical designer with historical and socio-economic humanistic skills, with reference to the relationship between intervention on the building and effects on the local economy;
- to encourage the exchange between participants both in cultural terms and in terms of personal experience and knowledge;
- to activate an interdisciplinary contamination both from a theoretical and methodological point of view also among teachers coming from different backgrounds and research institutions.
The reuse of disused military sites of the Cold War is a virtuous opportunity to understand the complexity that characterizes the contemporary urban landscape, both from a territorial and architectural point of view.
What are the possible readings of the contexts? What are the possible re-qualification proposals? What are the methods of intervention both on pre-existing buildings and through new architectural hypotheses?
The ISS refers to the research carried out at DICATAM over a period of about ten years on the theme of giving new life to ex military areas. The initiative is the natural continuation of seminars and workshops realised in collaboration with Professors from other Italian and foreign universities (The University of Jordan; Curtin University, Australia; Università della Svizzera italiana; Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Spain; IE University, Spain; Università degli Studi di Trento; Politecnico di Milano, Università IUAV di Venezia, Syracuse University in Florence).
The common denominator between academic figures and different experiences originates in the idea of a "weak and widespread" architecture (Branzi), where the “weak” concept indicates a creative act based on the knowledge and modification of natural and reversible processes, so that new design forms can be tested in order to take into account the continuous transformations of the territory, imagining an architecture that is not absolute but made up of open systems that are able to adapt to the evolving needs of the local community. These landscape and architectural interventions work like flexible filters, that work on the empty / full relationship.
In particular this course aims at creating inclusive synergies between the spaces of the military sites and the anthropized naturalistic external areas. Different disciplines are therefore involved, from the architectural survey to architectural and urban design, conservation and reuse of architectural spaces and landscape. The ISS wants to offer a didactic and research opportunity where experts from different disciplines can discuss these issues through seminars, lectures and laboratory activities.
The in-depth work on a real case study requires an interdisciplinary practice typical of the design and research activities of an engineering and architecture firm.

Starting from the verification of existing military cartography, the topics addressed will be:
- the question of landscape design.
- the issue of the accesses to the site.
- the re-use of the military spaces.
- the design of micro-architectures to support the planning programme.
- the design of visit itineraries with multi-sensory educational supports.
The military site will have as new destinations of use:
- Cold War museum;
- drone school;
- holiday homes;
- spaces for exhibitions.

Structured as a hypothetical ideas’ competition, workshop arranged with our mentors will provide the opportunity for students to discuss and produce their visions and imagine new scenarios. The ISS will develop in two steps:
1. Virtual presentation of the ISS and design ideas competition.
2. Workshop in presence.
At the end of the ISS, the work done by students and graduates will be evaluated.

The final examination will consist in the description of the design process that led to the development of the architectural and landscape design, both relative to the reuse of existing spaces and to the drafting of new architectures to be combined with the pre-existing buildings, in order to accommodate the accessibility functions. The projects will be described through posters with a predetermined format provided by the teachers. Projects must also be described through a report of maximum five A4 pages, possibly accompanied by photos and/or drawings about state of art and of the project.
The examination materials are delivered and organized for the inauguration of an exhibition.

At the end of the course, the participants will receive an attendance certificate signed by the coordinators. The certificate for the advanced/refresher course will be achieved after the attendance of at least 70% of the classes.

REGISTRATION: Fill in the form and send it to [email protected]

CONTACTS: [email protected][email protected]


Last updated on: 05/09/2023