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Learning outcomes of the course unit

Knowledge and ability to understand:
At the end of the course, the student must have acquired a broad and critical view of methodologies and techniques for the restoration and reuse of historical buildings, aimed at its enhancement in relation to the existing cultural debate.

At the end of the course of study the student must have developed the ability to identify the main criticalities and potentialities of a building or, more generally, historical site (intended as material-structural consistency, historical value and vocation for transformability) and to develop, on the basis of a critical judgment always deriving from the fundamental phase of knowledge, an organic project of restoration and conservation, with particular attention to the possible reuse of the heritage.

Autonomy of judgment:
At the end of the course and in the realization of his/her project, the student is expected to have developed the ability to critically evaluate potential and implicit constraints in the state of conservation of a site, selecting the most correct conservation and intervention techniques for the specific case , maintaining the always necessary balance between conservative issues (historical and aesthetic), but also with regard to structural safety and enhancement, through the choices of reuse. He will also have acquired the ability to interpret and evaluate the quality of any restoration project.

Communication skills:
During the course, the student will have to refine his / her own language skills in English, with particular reference to the specific technical terminology of the different courses that are part of the laboratory, in order to be able to communicate effectively and punctually their project, in the various aspects involved.

Learning ability:
The materials and techniques for the analysis and conservation of historic buildings are subject to continuous and rapid innovations. Therefore, the student must acquire the ability, once the problem to be solved has been identified, to select the most suitable tools also by evaluating options not necessarily exposed during the course, in order to keep himself constantly updated even during the future profession. He/she will also have to be able to frame its own design choices in a broader, inevitably changing cultural context.


It is useful to have attended the Analysis and Conservation of Existing Structures course (1st year of Master of Science) and the course (optional) Restoration Project, of which this Laboratory constitutes the natural evolution. The knowledge of consolidation and structural analysis of historic buildings, as well as of the materials that compose them, are assumed to have been acquired during the previous courses, and will be studied in depth in the specific module.
It is also useful to have attended the course of History and Theory of Restoration and Construction Characteristics of Historical Building, as well as Analysis of Existing Architecture and Materials for Architecture.
Knowledge of automatic drawing programs and multimedia presentations is helpful.

Course contents summary

Being a core studio (final synthesis laboratory), the course is aimed at the reorganization, by the students, of the contents learned during the course of study and their application to a case study that can become the basis for the realization of their final degree thesis.
The laboratory focuses mainly on the themes of conservation and reuse and is organized in a theoretical part - carried out in seminars - and a more operational part - carried out according to the laboratory methods typical of a design course.
The Laboratory is composed by several modules:
Analysis and methods for the conservation of historical gardens
Architectural engineering for passive building design
Use and abuse of history for restoration
Integrated conservation of built heritage
Structural analysis of existing buildings
Analysis and evaluation of architectural rehabilitation
Lythology and geology for architecture
Whose specific files will describe in detail the modules contents.
During the course the student will be provided with a broad and critical view of regulations, methods and techniques for the knowledge and conservation of the historical architectural heritage, as well as the most current methodologies for the definition of a correct restoration project, which very often finds in reuse the first guarantee of realization, also in relation to the existing cultural debate.
The design part will be developed by individual students (even in small groups) in their final work, which will result in the project of a specific case study (proposed by the teachers, or even chosen independently by the student, but always subject to their approval) on which to apply, in a critical synthesis, the knowledge acquired during the entire course of study.

Recommended readings

M. FORSYTH, “Understanding historical building conservation”, Blackwell Publishing, 2008
- J. GOULDING, R. LEWIS, J. OWEN, TP. STEEMERS, Energy in Architecture: the European Passive Solar Handbook, Commission of the European Communities, Dublino, 1992.
- R. ACHARD, P. GICQUEL., European Passive Solar Handbook: Basic Principles and Concepts for Passive Solar Architecture. Commission of the European Communities, 1986.

Teaching methods

The course is divided into a theoretical part, an operational part and a workshop.
The theoretical part, mostly concentrated in the first semester of the course, will foresee a series of lectures, of a seminar type (also with the participation of experts external to our course, professionals and teachers from other universities), aimed at deepening the topics and tools useful for defining the project for restoration and conservation, recalled and illustrated also through the exhibition of concrete case studies. These seminars will be held mainly face to face in the classroom, with live streaming via Teams for students who cannot be present in the classroom. The collective discussion of the case studies presented and the teacher / student interaction in general will be encouraged. Some seminars (which will be previously communicated to students) will be held exclusively in remote telematic mode, via Teams. There are also some educational visits to construction sites and / or restoration laboratories, for which live streaming is not guaranteed for technical reasons.
For the operational part of the course, students (individually or in small groups) will have to develop the restoration project of the chosen case study (assigned or otherwise approved by the teachers) by deepening the aspects of the individual courses through a series of ongoing revisions. The laboratory part of the teaching activity therefore will be carried out through the performance in the classroom of reviews by all the teachers involved in the laboratory on the design theme chosen by individual students. Students will have to expose the various stages of progress of their project on material prepared on paper and / or digital media. There are three collective reviews during the course: on these occasions each student (or possible group) must present (with Powerpoint or similar) their project to the teachers and other students. These occasions are important for exercising the student's communication skills, particularly in a language other than their own, and as an opportunity for exchange and discussion, as well as for checking the progress of the work during the course. The workshop part will take place in the classroom in person, with live streaming via Teams, as far as possible. It will also be possible to arrange remote reviews via Teams for students who are unable to reach the teaching site.
A workshop is also planned, during the second semester, during which students will submit their projects to other actors involved in the restoration design process (public bodies, superintendence, external professionals, interested associations) for an external judgment that can contribute to the improvement of the project itself in the last part of the course. The workshop will necessarily take place in presence in the classroom (or partially at the interested institutions).

Assessment methods and criteria

During the year, collective reviews (roughly three) are planned, with public presentation of the projects, which will allow an initial assessment of the language properties and communication skills of students.
In view of the exam, at least 3 days before, it will be necessary to deliver a printed copy of your project in the form of summary tables and a short report of the final project, which will then be discussed orally (in groups or individually) in occasion of the final exam. The exam will be held in person. If due to the persistence of the health emergency it is necessary to avoid face-to-face examinations, the material can be deposited on the ELLY platform and the oral exam will take place via the Teams platform.