Architecture is a Common Good

Journal of Biourbanism Volume VII # 2/2018

Editors’ Note: Architecture is a Common Good

by Nando Bertolini Istituto Nazionale di Bioarchitettura, Italy & Stefano Serafini International Society of Biourbanism, Italy

The first international conference of the National Institute of Bioarchitecture (Istituto Nazionale di Bioarchitettura – INBAR) and the University of Parma, “Architecture as common good: Recovering urban quality and well-being”, held in Parma, Italy, May 3–4, 2018 aims at being the first step towards a relevant dialogue. The reader will not miss that, despite the international status of the conference, all the contributors are Italian. The reason is that the research and experience of INBAR represent an Italian peculiarity, which has so far been unacknowledged abroad, first because of the linguistic barrier, and second because of INBAR’s focus on local geography, issues, climate, and design. By organizing the conference and publishing its proceedings in English, we want to start sharing this experience with other communities in the world, because we believe that the mainstream, “global” approach to design has produced enough damage and it is time for a change. We do not mean to follow the same logic of global fashions and “promote” our ideas. Rather, we aim to find dialoguing friends for discussing these ideas, and to contribute the awakening of forces in order to design solutions for our civilization.

Since 1991, INBAR studies the relation between environment and architecture, calling for designing in armony with nature. The institute seeks inspiration of good environmentally friendly design in the built and landscape heritage, which in Italy is extraordinarily important. Such a heritage, though, is nowadays at risk. Likewise is at risk the common good, to which well-being, healthcare, social justice, beauty, and wise management of resources concur, and which is the goal of every life-oriented architecture or bioarchitecture. A blind yet technically powerful individualism, desperately seeking for “individual good”, is destroying our lifes as much as it is polluting and disfiguring our cities and landscapes. Hence the relation between good architecture and common good: they cannot but come together.

The conference has featured three sections. The first one was about buildings’ recovery and urban regeneration, to discuss the state of the art of a widespread process, which represents the aftermate of industrial urban spread and cementification. How to repair the damages provoked by industrial urbanism, unresponsible real estate, and financialization?

The second section focused on well-being while living and inhabiting, i.e. the role that design can play in ameliorating and dignifying our life.

The third section focused on Architecture for housing emergency, i.e. how designers can cope with the most dramatic lack of housing and infrastructures caused by deployment of natural resources, migrations, war, and natural disasters.

The proceedings show only a fragment of the discussions occurred during the conference, but this might be enough for our scope.

We want to express our gratitude to the people of the international committee who devoted their valuable time to review the abstracts of the conference papers: Marwa al-Sabouni, Filippo Angelucci, Laura Baratin, Marco Casagrande, Carmelo Celona, Mario Cerasoli, Eva Coisson, Giampaolo Munafò, Robert Neuwirth, Patrizia Piro, Andrea Rinaldi, David Rudlin, Stefano Serafini, and Michele Zazzi.

Editors in Chief, Nando Bertolini and Stefano Serafini

Contributions by Giorgio Origlia, Adolfo F. L. Baratta, Laura Calcagnini, Fabrizio Finucci, Antonio Magarò, Ilaria Montella, Chiara Tonelli, Nicoletta Gandolfi, Anna Rita Petroselli, Maria Iannilli, Chiara Tonelli, Ilaria Montella, Nicola Moscheni, Valentina Pica, Patrizia Pira, Vito Cataldo Talarico, Aldo Pedro Ferrante, Ferdinando Frega, Giovanna Grossi, Stefania Anna Palermo, and Sergio Los

Photography by Angelo Abbate