We are in Prato, in the complex of San Niccolò, once a monastery and today an educational and cultural center. Here, Lemonot and ECÒL with the support of KooZA/rch and Fondazione S. Niccolò organized “San Niccolò Workshop Series”, a year-long project which approaches the 14th-century site of San Niccolò Monastery within the city of Prato, through strategic planning as well as specific architectural interventions. Students and tutor will work together to preserve the monastery but at the same time increase its value through new interventions.
Throughout the course of the year, and articulated as a series three workshops, they will analyze and redefine the spatial features of the different ‘Orti’ – the system of open courtyards inside the conservatory. In September of 2019 (15-21) they will start by re-imagining the “Orto di Fabbrica” with a specific focus on the realm of play, subsequently they will then move on the “Orto di Vigna” to investigate the relationship between landscape and heritage and eventually we will land in the “Orto di Gosto” to explore the potentialities of ephemeral structures as triggering devices for togetherness.
The workshops will be open to students within the fields of architecture, art, design and performative disciplines. Young professionals and academics from different countries will be invited as lecturers and design tutors to stimulate a heterogeneous and eclectic working environment. Eventually, all the workshops will culminate with a public presentation of the results to the citizenry, highlighting the collective benefits of the designed interventions both for the city of Prato and for the broader disciplinary debate. Indeed, in between the workshops that will happen physically within San Niccolò, KooZA/arch will launch online competitions (open calls) to gather ideas that (re)define the typology of stratified monasteries in relationship to contemporary urban contexts – addressing issues of architectural re-use, social inclusion, and experimental pedagogy.
Each project will be documented “in progress” by the students who will decide how to represent the project: by drawing, video, 3D, models … “San Niccolò Workshop Series” is a perfect opportunity to “play” architecture outside the academic spaces. Good luck guys!
Text by Bianca Felicori