International Summer School Re-inhabiting Cold War NATO Bases




advanced / refresher course







This International Summer School 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 the NATO Base WEST STAR (site B) 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 six 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 (Curtin University Australia, Politecnico di Milano, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Università IUAV di Venezia, Syracuse University in Florence, Università degli Studi di Trento, Escuela de Arquitectura de Málaga, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, University of Greenwich, Università degli Studi di Palermo).
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 hypogean spaces of the military base and the highly anthropized naturalistic external areas. Different disciplines are therefore involved, from territorial analysis to architectural survey, to design, conservation and reuse of architectural and landscape spaces. The question of accessibility to cultural heritage is at the forefront, as is the issue of managing future user flows. 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.


Design theme

Starting from the verification of existing military cartography and on the materials provided by Municipality of Affi, the topics addressed will be:
-       the question of landscape design.
-       the issue of the accesses to the Base.
-       the re-use of the military space.
-       the design of micro-architectures to support the planning programme.
-       the design of visit itineraries with multi-sensory educational supports (also addressed to the blind people).
The West Star Base will have as new destinations of use:
- Cold War museum;
- sensitive digital data bank;
- caveau for art works;
- spaces for exhibitions to be visited by 100/150 max people at a time.


Collaboration with external institutions:

The collaboration with external institutions will be realized through the participation in ISS educational activities by teachers and tutors coming from the following universities: Università della Svizzera Italiana, Curtin University Australia, Syracuse University in Florence, Università IUAV di Venezia, Università degli Studi di Trento, Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, Università degli Studi di Genova, Università degli Studi di Palermo.

The Municipality of Affi  will offer the following services:

- supply of all the basic material (maps, relief, photos, etc.) on the NATO Base WEST STAR;

- access to the NATO Base by students, teachers and tutors for no. 2 inspections during the ISS;

- use of no. 1 laboratory where students with teachers and tutors will design projects;

- use of WiFi 24/24 hours and A3 or A4 printers for students during the ISS laboratory;

- use of a plotter for the printing of no. 40 A1 color posters on glossy paper for the evaluation of the projects and for the preparation of the exhibition;

- use of no. 1 room equipped with WiFi with a capacity of at least no. 100 people where professors (by microphone) will present their lectures using pdf and ppt files;

- use of no. 1 room where the projects exhibition will be staged.




The Course will develop in 56 hours in total. The didactic activities will be in form of seminars at the headquarters of the Municipality of Affi (VR).

At the end of the ISS, September 15th 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 Bunker, 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 a traveling exhibition, that will be on display at the headquarters of the Municipality of Affi (VR). Subsequently, the exhibition will be moved at the University of Brescia, via Branze 38, Engineering Area.

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 achieve after the attendance of at least 70% of the classes.

Olivia LONGO,
7 Sept 2019, 00:04