The “school” theme is the protagonist of the annual awards handed out by the National Council of Italian Architects, Planners, Landscape Architects and Heritage Preservers (CNAPPC) and by the network of provincial orders, as part of the “Festa dell'architetto”, Italian event that promotes the culture of design and aims to enhance the social function of architecture.
The current health emergency linked to the Covid-19 pandemic has raised many questions about school buildings, about the size of the spaces available, about the pathways and the shared spaces. Thus, an “educational emergency” that has existed for at least 20 years was brought to everyone’s attention and, with it, the need for this emergency to be addressed in a structural way, moving away from the concept of a “school building” to arrive at that of a “school architecture”. “Architecture is needed so that the School concept does not only have the characteristics of an emergency response, but of a real future project”, underlines the National Council of Italian Architects, reiterating that school is a complex and multidisciplinary theme, where the results of contemporary educational research should be applied. Concepts such as the need to provide functional spaces, designed for an “active” learning and teaching approach, as well as the need to interpret the school building as an educational community and therefore part of a wider urban context, where it is necessary to approach the project at the neighbourhood level, taking into account all public spaces and related areas, including mobility.
The need to transform today’s crisis into an opportunity was thus translated into a 2020 edition entirely dedicated to the concept of the school, which saw this year’s awards and special mentions fittingly paired with the special award titled “(Re)designing the school with the new post Covid-19 generations”. The winners of the awards and of the honourable mentions were announced on November 13, while the awards ceremony is set to take place mid-January 2021 on the occasion of the “Festa dell'architetto” event.
The winner of the “Italian Architect 2020” award is the “H – CAMPUS in Roncade (TV)” designed by a group led by architect Mariano Zanon, a school complex that encompasses schools of different types and levels. The jury highlighted the innovative and didactically evolved character of the project, stressing just how the architects were able to translate the complexity of the system into a clear structure with buildings that appear light, a system of closed environments and squares that alternate under a large roof and overlook large green areas. Special mentions went to the “Nursery School in Sluderno (BZ)” (lead architect Roland Baldi), the “Requalification of the Junior Secondary School Giovanni Pascoli (Turin)” (lead architect Silvia Minutolo) and the “Sant’Albino Comprehensive School in Montepulciano (SI)” (lead architect Roberto Vezzosi).
The “School with accommodations in Nosy Be, Madagascar” (lead architect Edoardo Capuzzo Dolcetta) was, instead, selected as the winner of the “Young Talent of Italian Architecture 2020” award. A project carried out in a difficult context due to the scarcity of means and economic resources which, for the jury, “is characterised by the formal clarity and balance between the classroom areas and the lightness of the roofing solution that takes into account the local climatic conditions”.
For the special “(Re)designing the school” category, the jury did not award a top prize, instead handing out two Honourable Mentions to the “School as a Civic Centre” project (lead architect Sergio De Gioia) and the “100 BLOCKS” project (lead architect Alessandro Cacioppo). A selection of the projects nominated for the awards will be published in the Yearbook, national and international collection of Italian architecture.
Images courtesy of the Consiglio Nazionale degli Architetti, Pianificatori, Paesaggisti e Conservatori Photos by ©Francesco Calandra, ©Oskar Da Riz, ©João Morgado, ©sb_ Simone Bossi Photographer, ©Marco Zanta