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2018 final dissertation MA Architecture, DA Ferrara
Resilience and Reconciliation
Rethinking public space in the mahalas of Sarajevo. The case of Širokača
tutors: Elena Dorato, Guido Incerti, Senka Ibrišimbegovič
Depatment of Architecture Ferrara, Arhitektonski fakultet Sarajevo


Resilience and Reconciliation proposes a rethink of the peri-urban settlements, known as mahalas, which surround Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. For historical, social and economic reasons their growth has been largely illegal and unplanned with the result that today they exemplify both the problems and the potentials of spontaneous and uncontrolled expansion. The absence of adequate urban planning both previous to and following a period of armed conflict, together with a failed process of social reconstruction, has left the mahalas, which were originally close-knit village communities, in a state of physical abandon and without a shared identity and memory of place. Lacking a public infrastructure, the mahalas are cut off from the central parts of the city and from the services these provide. What is more, due to the steep slopes and the nature of the bedrock the area is prone to landslides. A failure to recognise this problem has resulted in the construction of buildings in high-risk locations. Recent reflections on urban development in Sarajevo have largely ignored the mountainous outskirts of the city with their problems of forced settlement and physical landscape. This study aims to focus attention on the mahalas as examples of the problems which afflict the capital as a whole and the opportunities for development in a city which has historically shown great resilience but seems nowadays to falter. The study describes a re-appropriation of the Širokača mahala through its different phases of this process and identifies the strategic objectives: the reduction of landslide risk; physical and psychological reconnection with the city; reactivation of the mahala through the provision of public spaces and services; the delivery of new homes for the relocation of the weakest elements of the population as part of the wider national programme for the relocation of internally displaced people (IDPs). The project finds its guiding principle in a scattered approach, bottom-up initiatives and practices of urban resilience which seek to tackle the complexities of the situation through a series of small-scale building, landscaping and artistic interventions which together create a pathway of facilities.

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2018 project in Ferrara for Interno Verde festival
with Gregorio Gonella, Francesco Lupia, Filippo Munari


The client requested an installation that could rejuvenate Giovanni Michelucci’s covered marketplace in Ferrara and turn it into the main hub for the festival. The birth of the programme and the idea of the project were mediated between the association and the design team who, after this preliminary phase, worked on all stages of the design process: from initial design, to hands-on realisation and following partial dismantlement. The project was able to give new life to a neglected space within the city which had lost its past importance for the community.
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2016 design competition for a kindergarten in Amsterdam
with Marco Pallaoro and Simme Bruinsma
third prize


This daycare center in Amsterdam was to be placed within a former dockland pier which is today used by people as a gathering place, as an open-air cinema, as a sports ground or as a neighbourhood fair location. Our goal was that of minimizing the impact of a large building on a precious area of open land. With this in mind, the daycare building was placed underwater in a sunken area of the pier regained by the sea, while the rooftop acts as an extension to the existing public ground. ‘Play is a serious matter’ - J. Huizinga

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work in progress
2018 refurbishment for a new public space
with Marco Pallaoro, Simme Bruinsma, BDA, ADA and Mas


The project for Mostar is a work in progress initiative born from the collaboration between GRUP collective, BDA architectural practice and local ngo ADA Mostar. The city is known for its tragic history during the Bosnian war and still bears the scars of past conflict. Tensions in politics are the result of ethnic division, faulty physical reconstruction and lack of an effective trust-building process. Such conditions have negative repercussions on the cultural, educational and public life of Mostar and a lack of public space and facilities worsens these conditions. With the goal of repurposing a specific area close to famous city sights, the project finds its guiding principle in a low-key approach, that seeks to tackle the complexities of the situation through a series of small-scale interventions. As of today, field work has proven urgent need for bottom-up initiatives and practices of urban resilience aimed at fostering a process of physical and social reconciliation within the community with a focus on sports through project partner Mas Mostar.

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2018 open call for proposals for the bobsleigh track in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Dani Arhitekture 2018 finalist
presentation held at Kino Meeting Point, Sarajevo


Res nullius, res communis
What if suddenly the IEBL border were to change? Most borders you can’t actually see, they’ve been agreed on as a mathematical convention. They divide South Korea’s sea from North Korea’s, Baarle-Hertog from Baarle- Nassau, the desert of Libya from that of Sudan. Some others are visible such as the walls between Israel and Palestine or Mexico and the USA. What it boils down to is that most of the time they divide space where there isn’t or shouldn’t be a division. Borders are the ground zero for migration and anti-migration. The IEBL is a perfect example of an absurd self-defeating border and as such one can easily imagine reshaping it. For instance, what if during the DPA the Croat-Muslim Federation and the Republika Srpska hadn’t managed to settle on the border across Mt.Trebevič as they did? The project proposes an alternative border transforming an intangible barrier into a physical space by a visual redefinition of the bobsleigh track. From 0 width, the IEBL becomes 2 metres wide: a no man’s land for every man, a space of freedom, a melting pot for the world’s displaced. By 2050 who knows what kind of settlement might form on it, underneath it or above it. While Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina are made up of two uncommunicative entities, all urban plans, architectural ideas or future land use proposals are faulty. The idea is to transform a symbol of past aspirations and failed internationalism, violent conflict and murky diplomacy into an emblem of tolerance and freedom.

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2016 project for former Garagem do Conde Barao in Lisbon
Arq. Luis Filipe Ferreira Afonso


The first project for this multi storey car park and car workshop in Lisbon dates back to 1952. Through time it was the object of replanning and restyling and was in use until recent years. Nowadays it is abandoned and waiting for a further plan. This project aims to refurbish the building through a distinct and non-intrusive plan by juxtaposing boxes inside the structural skeleton to host a new dynamic program. The goal is to create a multi functional building. For its strategic location and size, it could be an important landmark on the city’s riverbank and be a new magnet for the citizens with its office, cultural, entertainment, sports and leisure program. A new polycarbonate skin will improve thermal performance as well as allowing the original raw materials to be visible. Choosing to separate partition from structure, new from old follows the same intentions of clarity.

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2018 ‘a space for freedom’ research
work in progress


The goal of the research is to explore how architecture relates to the notion of freedom by examining four novels. The selected books are all stories of exiles and forced detention, either psychological or physical, either induced or self-inflicted, that result in different forms of tyranny. How the individual interacts with the space created by this tyranny – the negation of freedom - and whether he is able to find his own space for freedom despite the constraints of his surroundings are the subject of the research. Let us consider the authors’ visions as that of every man. The stories are:
Camus A., The Plague
Karahasan D., Sarajevo, Exodus from a City
Sartre J., Nausea
Solženicyn A. , One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovič

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2016 design competition for an ephemeral architecture
with Simme Bruinsma
finalist


A temporary 10 m2 space for hospitality must be flexible and must react to the user’s needs so that whoever uses it can shape it as they wish. Feasibility, speed and reversibility: these are the key factors that led to a completely foldable structure. These 10 m2 can be put away into a box on wheels to make transport easier, protect it from weather conditions and take up less space. Flexibility means that there are almost infinite ways to customise the unit and give each one a different individual character. The beauty of the module would then be a product of the people who benefit from it and continuously improve it.

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2016 mapping and restoration project of Palazzo Tassoni in Ferrara
with Nicholas Dellai and Marco Pallaoro
Arch. Riccardo Dalla Negra, Marco Zuppiroli
Department of Architecture Ferrara


All phases of a restoration project are to be carried out on Palazzo Tassoni (XV century) as part of a research work within the University of Ferrara. The building will become part of the Department of Architecture and will host new functions for students and for administrative purposes. The work was focused on one room per team and consisted in: drawing, photomapping, state of the art rendering, assessing structural stability, analysing decay, evaluating intended use and redesigning. The team then proposed a refurbishment plan for the whole complex.

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2013 curricular project for a kindergarten
Arch. Paola Boarin
Department of Architecture Ferrara


A kindergarten was designed for a seismic area using wood-building technology. This environmentally friendly project was designed as a platform-frame timber structure using sustainable materials throughout. The work required all phases of the design process: from preliminary sketches to final 1:20 detailing and modelling.

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2017 ideas competition for amphibious habitats
with Francesco Lupia for Lobby Magazine, The Bartlett School of Architecture


The aim of the competition was to challenge the very distinction between land and sea. The proposals sought to establish innovative ways to understand and appropriate the often undefined and always changing space between these two natures. In our proposal architecture today becomes the act of landscaping in its most extreme - and daunting - form. Sea and land are subject to a chess-like geometrical pattern and all other architectural artefacts are taken over by nature. Land and sea are the only architecture.

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2019 competition for a kindergarten in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
with Marco Pallaoro and Simme Bruinsma


A project for a kindergarten in Bolivia through the refurbishment of an existing building, the design of a new extension and the rethinking of the external space. The idea was to respond to a very low budget and an inexperienced construction team through the adaptive reuse of material and a construction method that doesn’t require a professional team throughout the whole process.The proposal consists in a series of playful, feasible, necessary and low-cost interventions.

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2018 design competition for a community centre in Sedhiou, Senegal
with Marco Pallaoro and Simme Bruinsma


This community centre is an important opportunity to create economy, optimize water use, encourage and represent Sedhiou’s civic spirit. The project revolves around structure - a very pragmatic one to empower the community, its bonds and its identity. The building is deeply rooted to the ground, but it is elevated to face heavy downpours and floods. A slight slant in the walls of the inner volumes, caused by the juxtaposition of the trusses and beams, is a further commitment to its structural system. The locally -sourced woven ceiling of the central volume is designed to enhance the acoustic qualities of the space thus preserving the centrality of centuries-old oral rituals in local identity.

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