Parametric Design for unMonastery - workshop launched

We started yesterday working with students at École d’architecture de Marne La Vallée in Paris (french link).

After a presentation of the unMonastery and an introduction to parametric design we launched the workshop.

We are basically asking students to design furniture, walls, mobile objects, lamps, façades, pavillions that can respond to complex and evolving needs of unMonks in Matera.

Students have asked a lot of questions, some of which I was unable to answer.

Maybe [antonioelettrico], [ben], [rita] or [alberto] can help with this:

1) What was the unMonastery building before? Why was it abandoned? What is the history behind its walls?

2) What kinf of construction machine we have in Matera?

I’ve already discussed this with [Rita] and [Antonio] but I would need details about this machines, their name and their availability in time.

We are working on 3 main subjects, explained by the images below, but we also ask students to be creative about new problems to solve in this kind of new social space:

1) Sharing/privacy

(how can we use parametric design and complex geometry to have privacy and intimacy in shared spaces - see the first photo below- ?)

2) Radical adaptability

  1. Seats solutions for LOTE

  2. ?


It would very useful to have your feedback.

We are doing our best to share what we are doing here.

Special thanks to the students and Aurélie De Boissieu who is co-directing the workshop with me.

Quick Response

The original building we were going to have was a call center, described by Alberto as:

It is a former call center, property of the city itself: renovated, used for a few years, then abandoned again, but still in good condition. It is fully wired; the bathrooms are quite new and in good condition. It is a huge space, resulting from connecting several ancient buildings more or less embedded in each other”

However the building changed to one adjacent to the original building, I believe it was part of the same complex but exactly how it factored into the call center sit up, I am unsure.

This is looking really great Francesco and sparks the idea that we should dig deeper with research into the history of the building. When I’ve occupied building in London, we’ve always been able to go to the boroughs archives and find historical documents relating to the use and history of the building. However I’m assuming Matera is different to London in this respect and research on the building might not be so straight forward. 

This is where it gets real

Francesco, it’s great that students are asking so many questions. As in real life (wait, this is real life!) answers are complicated. The complex was last used as a call center, but a glance is enough to determine that it is really a compound of many buildings and excavations that were built separately and conjoined at some point, or maybe the whole thing grew by additions. Heaven knows how many uses it had over the centuries, and which. It is called “il casale” (difficult to translate, but hey – you are Italian). On construction machines I have no information – they don’t let me near any of them!

invitation for also converging parametric collective in Antwerp

Nice initiative regarding parametric design.

I wish to invite people interested in this topic to converge by setting up a collective ( for one week ? )

in a 500 square meter house in Antwerp - Belgium :

I personally look forward to experiment further with modulable ( minimalistic and “nomadic” ) " furnitecture" ( combination of “furniture” and “architecture” )

I feel inspired by Eric Hunting, and after some exchanges he drafted this presentation

on Nomadic Ecovillages :

Personally I may want to start by experimenting with a Grid Beam / Open Structures approach ( possibly easiest ? )

and then progressively extend into more parametric potentials… of which I wish to learn more about )