Genova is poised to experience a new Renaissance that will transform the city into a cultural capital of Southern Europe. Unencumbered by large crowds of tourist and entrenched expectations they bring the city has been quietly positioning itself to become a center for contemporary art and design. Strategic investment in the arts is critical in order for this post-industrial transformation to occur.

The city of Genova in partnership with Trenitalia is prepared to convert a former railway yard into a center of art and design production. Computerized train routing systems and advancements in scheduling and transport management have eliminated the need for much of the large train yard East of Brignole Station. This area will be converted into an arts production campus with art and design studios, co-working spaces, fabrication and production facilities.

The anchor for this new arts development project will be the Italian Design Center: a building that will house research scholars and exhibit 20th Century Italian Design Arts to be located at the corner of Corso Aldo Gastaldi and Via Anton Giulio Barili. It is intended that the design of the building will be inspired by 20th Century Italian Design ideals while not attempting to be “historic.”

The building will sit on the slope above the railway tunnel across from the Casa dello Studente extending no more than 8 meters into the former railway yard at its northern extent. It must incorporate/reconfigure the existing stairs and extend access down to the former railway yard level. It must also accommodate and reconfigure the existing bus stop and newspaper kiosk located at the street corner on the upper level. The site is a heavily wooded slope; it is intended that the project maintain a significant percentage of greenery. Designers are encourage to developed strategies that incorporate gardens that feature local species while at the same time engaging in dialog with the architectural fabric of Corso Aldo Gastaldi.

You will develop an urban strategy for the railway yard so that the design of the Italian Design Arts Center is a gateway/threshold, landmark, and essential component to the project as a whole. The strategy will be an urban schematic of the overall site which will establish:

  • essential spatial character internally (within the site),
  • relationships with its surrounding urban environments (all four sides),
  • role as a component of the city as a whole, in terms of grain, spatial structure, character, relative to what Genoa is and what it may become.

This will include:
Fabrication labs and materials research spaces for wood work, metal work, stone work, ceramics and glass, weaving and textiles, sewing and fashion design, electronics, robotics, automotive, painting, printing, and 3D printing and prototyping.

  • Network of public spaces, covered and uncovered, “hard” and “soft/green”
  • Hierarchy of circulation for the public, the artisans, and movement of objects/materials
  • Fabrication facilities (general volumes, scale, essential character, not architecturally developed)
  • Studios for crafts persons of various sizes along with informal exhibition venues.
  • Mechanical areas will be substantial and material handling strategies will be important.

You will identify a large-scale architectural detail, component or system that will be your search into the nature of architecture as well as a major informant, in dialogue with the urban strategy, to the development of the building at an architectural scale. This component or part should be large enough to be spatial and significant, not a small-scale building detail. It may be portion of a room or wall system, the relationship of frame and base, a corner. It should have architectural worth in itself, of deep personal interest relative to your experience in Genoa and from recent travel, and also in an early rapport with your emerging ideas for the overall project.

Public Exhibition Component

  • Entrance
  • Interior and exterior exhibition space
  • Public garden
  • Large meeting room for public presentations
  • Service spaces: public bathroom, storage space, receiving dock

Academic and Administrative Component

  • Library/archive
  • Conference room
  • Offices for 3 administrators/curators
  • Offices for visiting scholars
  • Service: bathrooms, custodial space, electrical/communications vault

Residential Component

  • Apartments for 4 visiting scholars/research assistants
  • Private garden
  • Dining room & kitchen
  • Service/custodial spaces


Project Phase 1
Urban strategy: analyze the site and develop the ‘urban strategy’.
4 weeks
Review October 18

Project Phase 2
Architectural Detail: Develop one component of the Design Center
3 weeks
Review November 3

Project Phase 3
Building Design: Develop the Design Center building
5 weeks
Review November 17
Final Review December 7



  • Who are they?
  • Where are they from?
  • Where did they study?
  • Where did they work?
  • What is their most iconic design work?
  • Tell us their story!

Select 2 from the following list.
Create a webpage describing their life and work.

Gio Ponti
Marcello Piacentini
Ettore Sottsass
Luigi Figini
Gino Pollini
Giuseppe Terragni
Alfonso Bialetti
Carlo Alessi
Gabriele Mucchi
Corradino D’ascanio
Giuseppe Bianchi
Franco Albini
Mario Bellini
Tommaso Marinetti
Umberto Boccioni
Dante Giocosa
Cesare Pallavicino
Alberto Rosselli
Marco Zanuso
Gino Valle
Ignazio Gardella
Luigi Caccia Dominioni
Vico Magistretti
Ettore Sottsass
Marco Zanuso
Achille Castiglioni
Piergiacomo Castiglioni
Vico Magistretti
Gae Aulenti
Angelo Mangiarotti
Enzo Mari
Carlo Molino
Rodolfo Bonetto
Marco Zanuso
Massimo and Lella Vignelli
Battista Pininfarina
Giovanni Savonuzzi
Giovanni Michelotti
Franco Scaglione
Marcello Gandini
Leonardo Fioravanti
Anna Castelli Ferrieri
Cini Boeri
Camillo Olivetti


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