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OC OPEN CITY 2015 International Summer School main topics can be briefly explained through 3 key-words, which correspond to 3 concepts and areas of cultural discussion and speculation in contemporary age:
1. The “comeback of agriculture”, which today presents itself more than ever as a form of sustainability, that crosses scales, local to global. Along this edge OC OPEN CITY International Summer School carries on in 2015 the path started last edition. Putting at the center of the debate and of the planning tests, some of the themes treated by the 2015 Milanese Expo which will experience, during the days of the workshop, its last weeks of activity.

2. The relationship between architecture and use of the resource, that assumes its own peculiarity facing the landscape of Piacenza as a layout stratified by multiple uses, signs and memories on which – during centuries but still today, with equal representative strength – agriculture has traced (physically and metaphorically) lines and directives of development. The research of places and functions linked to the agriculture becomes a journey that aims at retrieving the roots of local identity, conferring new meanings and new shapes.
3. the physical transformation of the places, that wants to build the support for a type of new economy, an alternative to the usual productive cycles, capable of putting in the center the landscape, intended both as physical and as community of people. Food and the nutrition that agriculture produces are so seen within their cycles of production, distribution, consume.

The design proposals of the workshop will be oriented also to the global dissemination and communication of the local experiences. This task will be devoted to a Research and Exhibition Center on Urban Agriculture (a contemporary form of museum, dynamic and interactive), that will be located in the same core the city. It will complete the g-local prescription of think globally, act locally, aiming at stressing the identity of Piacenza. This cultural and social background is strongly transforming the concept itself of landscape, which is object of our attention, at different scale of interaction and with different hierarchies. It doesn’t want to be intended as something to contemplate, but as an active resource, a factor able to modify the productive system and to transform territorial and urban environments which today are dismissed, a topic condition of our contemporary age. In this way the project is also the product of different temporal dynamics which are overlapping in the construction of a landscape that is open to continuous consecutive transformations. The double meaning of the School’s title Feeding (the) Landscape refers to an innovative idea of landscape, to be looked after and fed but that meantime is able to look after our territories and to feed them.

After three decades of globalization of the economy and the culture, and after the outbreak of the present economic crisis in 2008, the request of a change of direction has started to expand in the social and political arenas. One of the most successful terms coined in this new atmosphere is “Re-location”. Heralded by the French economist, Serge Latouche, it calls to come back to the local, to reverse the logic of globalization approaching the production sites to the consumers. In this context, agriculture has been invited to come into the city, to become “urban”. The urban agriculture is currently envisaged as an agriculture of proximity, highly technified but, at the same time, organic and biological, a sort of new economy branch attractive to urban youngsters. In this sense we can nowadays talk about three kinds of “-Scape”:

This new sensitivity puts the “food cycle” in the center of the interests of the architects. The 3 pillars of this cycle are production, distribution and consumption. How to integrate them in the city is a challenge of the contemporary architecture and city planning. This challenge is specially thrilling in the case of Piacenza, center of one of the richest agricultural regions in Europe, site of a very rich traditional cuisine and headquarter of some of the best restaurants in Northern Italy.
OC OPEN CITY International Summer School 2015, coinciding with the celebration in Milano of the World Exhibition “Feeding the Planet”, wants to face this challenge. Its aim is the integration in the urban fabric of Piacenza of the physical expression of the 3 pillars of the “food cycle”: production (with urban orchards and agro-parks), distribution (with markets consisting of moving devices) and consumption (with new generation restaurants). But these three elements are only one part of the contemporary “food-scape”, the local one. The other part calls to the global dissemination and communication of the local experiences. This task will be devoted to a Research and Exhibition Center on Urban Agriculture, that will be located in the same core the city. It will complete the “g-local” prescription of “think globally, act locally”.

OC OPEN CITY International Summer School is strongly involved in Expo Milano 2015 and its topics. Also in the last edition, the 5th one, held in Piacenza in September 2014 (with the title Architecture for a creative city. Piacenza towards Expo), Expo occasion was the background of the School’s program, both as workshop and as cycle of conferences.
The main goal is an attempt to interpret Expo title, Feeding the Planet, with a “spatial” point of view, so focusing on landscape, urban and architectural impacts.
OC OPEN CITY International Summer School is just a part of the dense program of scientific and didactic initiatives that have as a background the great Milanese event and that will take place between April and June 2015, both in the main location of the Politecnico di Milano and in the Polo Territoriale di Piacenza. The title “Feeding the Planet” gets re-enacted according to a point of view more oriented towards the disciplines of “space” typical of the architectural and urban design.
In particular, also in continuity with the topics of research and of teaching, the desire is to analyze in a contemporary way the topic of the landscape as a place of overlapping of nature and environment, of city and society, of culture and tradition. Not an idealized landscape, but a dynamic and variable landscape, and most of all productive. In this way the area between Milan and Piacenza is one of the most developed, agriculturally speaking, in the whole European territory; a condition in continuous fluxing, within which the disciplines of the project can, or must, offer their own contribution to combine the productivity of the land with the quality of the rural landscapes, in locations of unique sensitivity, where the seeds of the regional and national identity meet.
The workshop and the run of conferences occur with the patronage of Expo Milano 2015, of the Comitato Scientifico del Comune di Milano “Le Università per Expo” and of Piacenza ATS per Expo.

Therefore, the architectural project which will be developed during the workshop, has got the purpose of proposing renovated and reinterpreted places, strongly anchored to the historical and social values of the community of the Piacenza area. This ultimate goal is coherent with a condition which puts the architectural and landscape project – in moments of social, economical and environmental crisis, as the one where living in – in a phase capable of stimulating the creativity. A creativity that, paraphrasing Vittorio Gregotti, can be intended and interpreted as the way of being contemporary in the transformation of the territories.
The landscape, object of the eyes, at different scale of interactions and with different grades, is observed no more in a contemplative and comforting way, as it used to be in the past, but through a new point of view which reads the soil as an active and precious resource (since it lacks more and more), capable of modifying the productive system (from industrial to rural-technological) and of transforming and re-activating entire urban and territorial settings, today abandoned or under-used, condition that represent the main problem today. The design of the landscape then involves the temporal dynamic as instrument of the design itself, different temporalities meet in the building of a growing process, open to following transformations. Michel Desvigne affirms that the transformation of the landscape imply the combination of different speeds and scales, next to a long lasting idea there is the one of a transitory temporality.

The 2015 edition of the OC OPEN CITY International Summer School workshop is about the architectural and landscape design of fragments of the area around Piacenza, identifying in the agriculture and in the food cycle the main 2 factors both in terms of economy and of identity. The goal is to design a museum of agriculture, intended as an ensemble of interactive spaces and places (both on a physical/spatial and socio/cultural level) that confer to the traditional expositive function, a series of additional vocations (therefore functions): research, experimentation, diffused hospitality, touristic tracks. The program takes place in some of the unresolved locations of the historic city, along the north/south axis. But the architectural design won’t restrict to finding innovative solutions of the enclaves, but it will also develop a series of connections (real and virtual) with the free areas where operates, or will be able to operate, at different levels of interactions, the agricultural activity. Among these, the city urban vegetable gardens will have an important role, intended – even through the design to scale 1:1 of models of “mobile” architecture – as pop-up activities capable of building a pronged net of relations based on the soil plantation of on the food cycle.

The double meaning of the title refers to a renovated landscape, which gets “cured” and “nurtured” but that at the same time “cures” and “nurtures” the territories.

key-words: Urban re-generation, Landscape re-activating, Re-use, Architectural grafting, Creative and productive clusters, Contemporary housing, Production-feeding-wealth, Food-cycle, Sustainability.

references Expo (#MilanoProtocol)>