Between matter and measure - ISPLORA

Trailer Between matter and measure

The lesson moves through contemporary design and its relationship with the history of places, from the vernacular architecture of the Ligurian Alps to the historic urban fabric of Palermo.

A training course that addresses the contrast between rural and densified contexts through the heterogeneous approach of two architectural firms: Officina82, in Garessio between the Maritime Alps, and La Leta Architettura, rooted in the Palermitan Conca d'Oro.

On the one hand, the work of Officina82 reinterprets the anthropological tradition of places, re-reading and re-studying traditional models and archetypes to seek technological and housing solutions to be re-proposed in a contemporary key. 

Thus, the proposal by Lara Sappa and Fabio Revetria takes shape, starting from the vernacular architecture and the essence of the place, looking at the “natural and traditional way through which the communities have created their own habitat. [...] A process, which includes the necessary changes and continuous adaptation, as a response to social and environmental needs”, as expressed in the ICOMOS Built Vernacular Heritage Charter. 

Stone, wood, lime, clay and a few other materials tense towards an interpretation in complete symbiosis with the context, through the philosophy of the genius loci, in an attempt to concretize one of the concepts of Benedetto Croce who sees art and poetry as “a complex of images and a feeling that animates them”. An example is the experimental and receptive park of Selucente, with the work on Glambox, Starsbox and the refurbishment of the ancient church. A place where taking care of the environment and protecting the landscape and its housing forms confronts technological experimentation, becoming a tool for bringing architecture closer to people. 

From the forest, from the wood, from raw materials, almost as it happens for a sculpture, the project comes to life and gives life to an architecture capable of being dynamic, of interpreting the space of “everyday living” in a multifaceted way, as in a real “spatial storytelling” capable of intimately welcoming people.

A “relative” architecture that changes in scale according to the context, which works on the theme of measurement through matter and its transformation. 

The lesson continues by investigating a way of “making architecture” that crosses different territories, different orographies, different geographic morphologies - the mountainous and maritime soul of Liguria and the urbanized density of Palermo - maintaining a respectful and attentive approach towards history, integrating quality into its projects. 

Thus, in his Sicilian context, architect Giorgio La Leta treasures the beauties of his city, in a dialectical relationship with the existing buildings of the urban fabric.

A “tailor-made” approach, which sees man as a “measure of all things, of what they are as they are; of those who are not as they are not”, as Le Corbusier might have pronounced in his Journey to the East, reading Plato in front of the Parthenon. 

Attention to detail and finishes, the awareness that craftsmanship represents the real connection point between design and construction, between matter and size. Spaces within spaces, woodwork and boiseries that hide and reveal new environments, urban landscapes that enter the house through plays of reflections and visuals, local materials steeped in historical memory.

In this way, the work on living spaces becomes fertile ground for the restitution of a strong dialogue between yesterday and today, between tradition and contemporaneity, as it happens in Casa MAZ or Casa BDM, where the careful study of the flooring perfectly reflects the Sicily of today: a complex network of closely connected stratifications.

A formative itinerary through different landscapes, heterogeneous realities, complex territories, with the discovery of a common approach, the taking care of a “way of living” that crosses the place, belonging to it.

Learning objectives:

  • Explain the theme of the relationship with the territorial, historical and cultural context in which the architectural practices are inserted and intervene, showing different territorial divisions and approaches to the profession, in addition to the attention paid to the settlement issue of the new intervention to the interior landscape;
  • Highlight possible responses to the work on existing heritage, reinterpreting architecture in the rural and mountain landscape in a contemporary key, as well as the recovery of historic buildings in the urbanized fabric, proposing recovery or new construction strategies that put the architectural project at the center as a mending element;
  • Propose possible innovative technological solutions that start from the reinterpretation of places and archetypes, showing how “traditional housing forms” can be reinterpreted in a contemporary key with a careful look at the issues of environmental, social and economic sustainability;
  • Investigate the themes of the profession, the role of the architect in listening and translating requests, needs, resources and energies, in addition to the close relationship with the client in the different phases of the project. 

Focus On


Create an account

('Are you an Italian architect? Switch to this site (')

Sign up

Are you an Italian architect?
Switch to this site to earn credits approved by the National Council of Architects (CNAPPC).

Create an account