Subject: Studio Napoli Est
Date: 21 February 2022

Dear Student,

We are looking forward to meeting your energy, curiosity, and learning thirst by diving together into the complex challenge of reading, reinterpreting, and designing the peripheral areas of the dynamic and intricate urban reality of Naples.

We will try to unfold issues and values of this contemporary city, a term that implies multiple and intertwined layers made of tangible and intangible elements: the historical city, the ecological city, the city of marginalization, the city of built infrastructures and the city-landscape, the city of risks and the city of social vitality. In this fragile equilibrium, we think that the overall conditions of livability in the outskirts, and in interstitial and waiting areas must be questioned.

With this awareness, we place the transformation processes of transitional spaces at the core of our studio. This means dealing with spaces that have the possibility of evolving into something else, feeding a new ecology of the city. These spaces are areas that have completed their life cycle and that are now wasted-lands, awaiting for new uses to be activated with specific practices of care at multiple scales. They are liminal spaces, at the threshold of the urban centre and rural areas, of water and land, of the city of the rich and the city of the poor, the safe city and the city of hazards.

In this perspective, the metropolitan coast of Naples, laying under the volcano Vesuvius, is a condenser of new opportunities that can channel abandoned areas and waste flows into resources for the regeneration of territories. With a focus on the eastern waterfront of the periphery of Naples, the district of San Giovanni a Teduccio, we will tackle a wild assembly of transitional spaces that emerged as the result of industrial dismissing and of unrealized or incomplete urban plans.

The local difficulties in guiding change and the significant disconnections in both development proposals and existing fragmented zones – port areas, residual agriculture plots, dense residential neighbourhoods, large infrastructures, archaeological sites, decadent warehouses, and new educational hubs – are conditions yet to be solved and they frame our starting point. How can design become a process of sensitive mending for unsolved urban contexts? What elements must we look at to activate relations and synergies? What are the systems of values, norms, and infrastructures that shape the territory? How can the ecological turn intervene in such systems? What tools, actors, and timeframes can guide attentive and effective transformations?  

During the studio, we will collectively try to answer these questions while forging critical thinking and working in groups on strategic proposals involving architecture, urban, and landscape design. We will create a knowledge framework approaching the area through a combination of technical and interpretative analyses. The identification of essential elements of the culture of places – and its translation into visual languages – values subjective perceptions that feed suggestive readings of the city.  These build the foundations for positioning yourselves as agents of the transformation. With the ambition to improve the quality of life and design inclusive and sustainable transformations, we will define processes, functions, forms and materials of possible future scenarios for Napoli Est.

We hope to meet you soon and be inspired by places, people and atmospheres we will encounter together.


Michelangelo Russo, Marica Castigliano, Fabio Di Iorio, Maria Simioli (UNINA team)

Andreu Arriola Madorell, Aurorarosa Alison, Ambra Benvenuto, Alessandro Cacioppo, Francesca Garzilli (POLIMI team)