From 10 to 15 September 2018 the 8th edition of the PIDA, the Ischia International Architecture Award, will take place. For years, this beautiful island in the Gulf of Naples, a popular tourist destination, has been holding this prize that aims at becoming a reference for the good practices in architecture for the construction of hotels and spas, also as regards building regeneration and the related tourist offer.
At the same time, the Award also presents some collateral events, including the PIDA International, a prize reserved for those architects who stood out at an international level for their creation of quality works. The 8th edition of this award was won by Japanese architect Atsushi Kitagawara.
“Protopia Maio / Utopia has failed, we should aim for protopia”, are the title and the subtitle of the 2018 edition, presented in Venice at the “Architects meet in Fuoribiennale” by architect Giovannangelo De Angelis, who also is the President of the PIDA Association, sponsoring the award.
During the vernissage days of the 16th edition of the International Architecture Exhibition of Biennale di Venezia: FREESPACE, curated by architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, the Italian Association of Architecture and Critics (AIAC) presented at the Palazzo Widmann the 5th edition of “Architects meet in Fuoribiennale”, entitled “Identities for a changing World”, to propose “a reflection of how architecture is facing the ongoing changes that challenge the traditional concept of identity”. The theme of PIDA is facing the same challenge, starting from an article of Italian newspaper La Repubblica, in turn quoting a reflection by Michael Shermer (editor of “Skeptic” and collaborator with Scientific American). In his article entitled “Utopia is a dangerous ideal, we should aim for protopia”, published in April 2018 on financial website Quartz, Michael Shermer proposes “protopia” as a possible solution to replace the concept of utopia. Protopia is a neologism indicating “incremental progress in steps toward improvement, not perfection” or, in the words of Kevin Kelly, “Protopia is a state that is better today than yesterday, although it might be only a little better”, where protopian progresses “happen one small step at a time. A protopian future is not only practical, it is realisable”.
The workshop which will accompany the 8th edition of the PIDA award is indeed focussed on protopian progress. Maio is the very subject of the workshop. It is a hamlet in the municipality of Casamicciola, on the Island of Ischia, which was the epicentre of an earthquake rated 4.0 on the Richter magnitude scale.
The workshop will be held on the Island of Ischia (Castello del Piromallo, Forio d’Ischia) from 10 to 15 September and will be directed by architect Atsushi Kitagawara, winner of the International PIDA Award. Participants will include four groups of undergraduates, selected and guided by professors from the Faculty of Architecture of the Federico II University of Naples, the University of Rome Tor Vergata, the Polytechnic University of Bari and the D’ARCH, the Department of Architecture of the University of Palermo. A multidisciplinary team will support the students and the professors. It will comprise geologists from the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), engineers from the National Association of Italian Engineers and Architects (ANIAI), experts in post-earthquake reconstruction, bioclimatic technicians of the CasaClima network and experts in participated design. The purpose of the workshop is to define four design solutions that will be proposed to the community for the reconstruction of the areas affected by the earthquake.
Architect Atsushi Kitagawara, professor at the Tokyo University of Arts, boasts a great experience in the construction of seismic-safe buildings, and will hold a lecture on 14 September, on the occasion of the PIDA Award. His more recent works include the Japan Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015, the Baselworld Mikimoto Project, the extension of the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection Art Museum, the Keyforest Hokuto Hotel, the new Kobuchizawa Station, and the new headquarters and facility of Nakanishi Inc.