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PROTECTION AND VALORIZATION OF HOUSING AND REGIONAL ARCHITECTURE:

CHARACTERS, TECHNIQUES AND TYPOLOGY.


Universit degli Studi di Cagliari
Abstract

The research is focused on housing and regional architecture of a large area of national territory. It
extends the field of studies from Veneto to Emilia Romagna, to Abruzzo and Molise, to Puglia, to
Sicilia and Sardegna, facing the matter of the protection of a cospiquous heritage, so various as the
considered environments. This research is also related to the current national legislation (Law 24/12/03,
"Guidelines for the protection and enhancement of rural architecture").
The principal goal of the research concerns the identification of the typology - construction lines and of
the values owned by this architectural heritage with the aim to improve its position within the
contemporary housing and productive field, actually qualified by the incresing value of local identities
versus the globalization context.
These problems, concerning the relationship between tradition and innovation, join the thematism of the
undertakement of the projects for rehabilitation or new building, thus providing for the definition of
criteria for the evaluation of the compatibility of technologies and building solutions to the pointed out
technological components of analysed environments.
In this meaning, the research is organized in the proposed programs of the six Local Units, to answer
the specific requirements of the regional contexts, and it will be basically developed in the following
issues:
- Identification of areas and study cases within the regional context, based on criteria of typologicalenvironmental homogeneity, and also referred and compared with the international overview.
- Carry out of Repertories and Atlases of building types and building-environmental characters, inside
the historical architecture of the six areas to study.
- Analysis of the identified study cases, in order to define a methodology for planning projects
concerning the formative processes of building, the local techniques and characteristics and the
subsequent changes in the spatial-functional arrangement.
- Definition of criteria and guide-lines for the production of building materials and elements, aimed to
the updating of regulatory tools in the framework of renewal and environmental rehabilitation in preexisting urban textures and architectural heritage.
- Editing of Handbooks and Abaci of typolgical-constructive solutions, concerning criteria of
appropriate protection and technical-functional rehabilitation of the architectural heritage. <<<
Principal Investigator

Carlo AYMERICH Universit degli Studi di CAGLIARI


Research Objectives

During the second half of the past century, architecture has been characterized by the enlargement of
the gap between the historical heritage and the new building production. A cospiquous part of this estate
- housing and historical minor centres architecture, underestimated and unsuitable considered - has been
left to decay and obsolescence, to support inatead the outbreak of large suburbs featured by types,
techniques and characters, imposed by a process often led by speculative advantages.
Only since a few decades, with the crisis of modernity, a renovated production system is risen, based on
local identities and resourses, turned towards the re-use of local materials and the knowledge, the
protection and the valorization of architectural heritage. This new culture answers to the question of

need of environmental compatibiliti of building actions, both in the way of optimisation of typological
processes in relation to local techniques and contextual housing, in the way of valorization of
sustainable demand and of energy saving. Actually, this renewed and growing field of application of the
same materials still lacks of a complete know-how about the technical characteristics and the
environmental performances of these natural and local materials and buildings components.
The goal lies in a renewed proposal of criteria, proceedings and rules for the recover and the
rehabilitation. The research program aims to contribute:
- to grow up the level of knowledge about architectural heritage and contextual housing - exentially the
housing texture and the connected integration of services;
- to a reliable availability of exaustive data and information about materials, characters, technologies
and performance-fitting process of natural and traditional building, where the wall envelope plays the
significant double role of the witness of the stability of the building and of its interface with the external
environment - both in physical and in intellectual meanings.
In such a meaning, the six University Research Units joined in this group, will generally use the
respective local contexts for tests and verification works. Each of them will develop one or more items
inside a common methodology with the aim to contribute to integrate and to enlarge a subject regarding
quite a large extension of national territory.
More particularly, the specific aims of the research are:
1. To point out a setting of knowledge concerning the building and environmental characters of
determinate basic architectural features in minor environments, where could be possible to identify a
code about the typological order and process of growth.
2. To study the building characters belonged to natural and local materials. In relationship both to the
know-how and to the specific technologies which gave rise to the construction of the selected building
heritage.
3. To point out the transformation, growth and decade issues about this context.
4. To investigate about the following argument of rehabilitation of basic building structures, and the
ways, the standards and the design codes concerning the recover of the building contexts in object, the
recover meaning including the making of new building parts.
5. To point out compatible solutions in technological - performance words in different scale, from the
building to the element, to the material (local - natural and innovative).
6. To point out standards and criteria for the valuation of the environmental compatibility of
technological components according to the sustainability and the evolution of the production field, by
experimental tests and data recording both on the field and on existing or new made proper prototypes.
<<<
First Results

The results expected in the first phase of the research can be synthetized:
All Units will individuate the research areas in their regional context, following criteria of
typological/performance homogeneity and will elaborate local Repertoires of the residential building
types and constructive methods, in form of Abaci or Atlases illustrating and analytically giving a
description of the characteristics and technological - environmental performances of the selected
building context. These Repertoires will also involve the analysis of the study cases.
All Units will arrange all documents related to the examined contexts and architecture in a specific data
base support.
The activity will be aimed to the constitution of a national Survey of cases of study in local contexts
characterized by a strong historical, environmental, natural components compared with European and
Mediterranean area cases and contexts. These study cases will be initially analyzed after bibliographical

sources and the comparison with similar realities from a wide range of points of view, as the
technological-performance characteristics, the energetic and eco-compatible requirements in the local
context, the structural aspects; subsequently with a verification run on site.The research programme, as
already mentioned, will be developed by the six Units so as to articulate the final products after an
integrated and well organized scheme.
The Unit of Cagliari will propose a Repertoire of suitable and sustainable solutions for the rehabilitation
project of both pre-modern housing and interventions of coherent actualisation. This Repertoire will
include the evaluation of elements and materials acceptable by their compatibility with elements and
materials of the existing historical-traditional heritage, their limited environmental impact and their
sustainability. This will be also run with the set up of a system and/or control parameters of real
examples of projects or realisations.
The Unit of Bologna will take care about the set up the methodological level on a big scale, producing a
procedural framework of intervention, compatible with the environmental characters and the specific
norms in force. Such a result will constitute an informative base which will be lately submitted to
institutions of territory management, with which specific agreements are currently activated (or
foreseen), aimed to the environmental re-qualification of urban contexts or housing settlements.
The Unit of Palermo, at the end of the search, will propose to produce a systematic classification of the
main aspects of the regional architecture analysed, relating them to the variety of the different urban
and extra-urban spaces and to the geographical contexts (the urban centres, countries, the mountain or
coastal territory), for identify those factors representative of the typological homogeneity, in the evident
and un-eliminable differences.
The outputs of the research of the Unit of Bari are:
- The identification of analysis parameters and selection of the most relevant ones.
- The definition of a model, that is a survey and analysis methodology, through parameters and rules of
correlation deduced from territorial analysis.
- The translation of the analysis model into a cataloguing system for regional basic architecture able to
manage a correlate access to typologies of data different in contents and references.
- The assessment of the features of sustainability and compatibility of regional architecture which can
be transferred into contemporary methodology.
The Unit of Ferrara, at the end of the research program, will produce a systematic classification of the
fundamental features of Regional buildings and urban spaces, together with the clear understanding of
their crucial role in the process of construction of the Italian and European city. Such a classification
will be double-checked with the matrix of urban spaces in order to identify the architectural key factors
which do constitute the very basic structure of the Italian and Western city: the urban neighborhood.
The Regional Architecture and the Traditional Urban Fabric will serve as basis for the designing of an
innovative operational guide to the interventions of urban re-qualification: the Architectural Code for
the rehabilitation of contemporary ill-conceived sub-urban areas.
The Unit of L'Aquila, at the conclusion of the research, aims to define the methodological approach, to
acquire basic data related to enviromental resources, basic building materials, workmanship cycles,
building proceedings, equipments, workers of hystorical building, to check ancient building

proceedings in order to make them praticable inside building site for renovation and check the
possibility to adapt or to update these proceedings to resources avaiable under present-day conditions
and identify new proceedings in respect of changeability degree and values to preserve. The research
means to prepare guide lines and control instruments for the interrelation actions either in the upgrading
ambit or in the new building insertion into specific construction context. <<<
Timescale

24 months
National and international background

All studies and researches concerning future architecture usually begin with questions about the crisis
of modernity and the research of a suitable new idea of development. Since the last years of the
twentieth century, a new phase is started, much more connected to the local resources and identities,
with the aim to understand and to increase the value of the historical and natural heritage after the
application of the "growth in quantity" pattern, which has driven to the indiscriminate expansion of
settlements and the following decay of the heritage.
Several times over, the design paradigms, on which statements the architectural culture acted in all
fields, have been deeply changed and updated.
Concerning this notice, it is specifically important in architecture to confirm the connection between the
re-discovery of history, the use of local material and human resources, and the rise of problems related
to the growth limits and to the impossibility to reproduce consumed resources.
This reproducibility was warranted, during the pre-modern times, by the low technical capability to
transform the natural environment. Both towns and architecture remodelled the environment only by
local available resources. Accordingly, the research on design and construction looks at the local
building heritage with an increasing interest. This concerns a deep investigation on the thematic of
recover as far as the awareness of the sources of inspiration in order to reach a new quality of the
constructed environment, yet founded on sustainability.
The culture related to preservation and valorisation of architectural heritage has brought in more recent
years to a methodologic and operative position which assignes a new centrality to the material
constitution of the building and to the role of building techniques in the creation of the basic parameters
of a more complex rehabilitation program. Indeed, the fields of interest, the research and the
methodology of intervention have been progressively precised through the integration of a more
typological context, with a growing investment on the construction itself, on techniques and on the
relation between design-quality and building-process.
It is worth to mention on the topic the experiences of the Rehabilitation Manuals of Rome, Citt di
Castello, Palermo (all edited in the decade 1989-1999) and the Codex of Practice for Sassi di Matera
and Ortigia. In these operations it has been put in evidence how an intervention at a large scale on an
existing minor and alive architectural heritage (still involved in processes of use or residential re-use or
contemporary production) can not leave out of consideration a deep understanding of the building
organism, of techniques, materials and know-how, that contributed to its formation and development.
On the other hand the relationship project-construction, today claimed as key-word and symbol of
research and didactics in Architecture (according to the opinion best represented by Kenneth Frampton
in Studies in Tectonic Culture) and hence the attention to the possibility of construction as a possible
way to rehabilitate the significance of the project moves parallel to the new centrality assumed by the
environmental question.
In response to the needs expressed by the most recent regulatory measures concerning the protection
and environmental enhancement of building and architectural assets and, more generally speaking, built

landscapes in historical contexts, considerable interest has been shown in the definition of policies
aimed at the formulation of valid criteria for planning and controlling building projects on various
scales. Are particularly requested parameters for new intervention or a new integration with building
structures and aggregative fabrics marked by typical morphological and historical features.
Current regional building regulations and national legislation (Law 24/12/03, "Guide-lines for the
protection and enhancement of rural architecture") reflect the substantial changes that have been made
to the previous legislative framework. They have inaugurated a new phase in the development of
physical planning and management tools. In this context of regulatory change, Local autorities ask for
specific studies on the nature of settlements and environmental and landscape features, in order to adapt
current planning procedures accordingly and formulate and implement projects to protect, renew and
upgrade individual areas, also on an inter-municipal scale.
This involves the making, at different levels and ways, of a general rehabilitation of the existing
building heritage and the renewal of criteria and guidelines for the new building works. This policy of
architecture, as in design and construction, has been widely developed and codified in the most of
European Countries - i.e. Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavian Countries. Indeed in our country we
still find a general situation lacking clear and precise instructions and rules for the adequate driving of
choices in design and construction. For the same reason this research - according to the works of the
involved Local Units (N1 Cagliari, N2 Bologna, N3 Palermo, N4 Bari, N5 Ferrara, N6 L'Aquila),
whose distribution is extended on the national territory from north to central regions and islands - wants
to verify the starting condition levels in the whole Italian landscape. Indeed we well know that the
proceedings to reach this goal cannot be delayed. A concrete aim of this research is actually the
overcoming of these unfavourable conditions in our country, compared to the situation in the already
mentioned Nations. <<<