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CODE 95274
SEMESTER 2° Semester


Marked by a deep-rooted dichotomy, land and sea have often been described emphasizing their antitheses rather than their overlaps. Yet, land and sea, as well as city and port, are characterized by continuous exchanges. On this basis, we can recognize that, along the border that divides and connects land and sea, there is a linear sequence of operating machines in different state of disposal. They are port-city architectures that define a peculiar landscape: through this amphibious line, in fact, each port has matured its own nature, so extreme as to outline a new architectural typology
The course "Port-City Architectures. Inclusive and Hybrid Approaches for Land-Sea Settlements" deals with urban/architectural design in an inhabited/developed coastal context, confronting the relation between the built environment and the sea, coastal environmental issues, as well as issues of adaptability over time to address changes in climate as well as in social/cultural patterns of life. 



The course will develop in the student a broad design ability to address coastal and port city topics, as well as environmental issues in an integrated matter with issues of public space through an urban/architectural proposal that can adapt to changing conditions.
The student will develop the ability to think and work logically and sequentially to develop a hierarchical strategy (from schematic to developed, from permanent structure to ephemeral elements) and over a range of time.
The student will develop the ability to work in multicultural and interdisciplinary teams to learn to communicate and collaborate, integrating the knowledge and viewpoints of others from other fields of expertise.
The language of instruction is English so the improvement of communication skills in English and developing a disciplinary vocabulary will be stressed.


Upon completion of the course the student will be able to: - work collaboratively within a design team as well as with other teams (also virtually with collaborators in the US); - develop a decision-making design process based on forming options and making justifiable choices; - develop design proposals that permit and encourage adaptation and transformation with contextual changes (human, climatic, etc.); - develop different scenarios for completing the schematic architecture over short and long periods of time, with degrees of the permanent, temporary and ephemeral; - build up an extensive body of literature and project references on the subject of coastal areas and port cities; - learn new ways to work with modeling software and minimal rendering; - communicate more effectively in spoken English.


The student is required to have: - basic knowledge or sense of architecture in an urban environment, especially public place making; - basic knowledge about the condition of coastal areas and port cities; - good ability with modeling software (Sketchup or Rhinoceros); - good ability in Autocad or VectorWorks; - good ability with Adobe Photoshop; - previous understanding of design and environmental issues is useful; - modest capacity to communicate and interest in improving presentation skills in spoken English.


The course will be based on two exercises that the groups will carry out collectively. The two exercises are preparatory to each other and their performance determines the overall exam grade.
Students will work in groups of two persons. The improvement of communication skills in English and developing a disciplinary vocabulary will be stressed
Gathering information, generating design proposals/options/schematics, and making justifiable choices from initial scheme to final development will be a process repeated throughout the semester.
Collaboration within design groups and between groups will be important. Collaboration with students and researchers of Florida International University will play an important role in the interdisciplinary aspect of the design process and will be part of the course evaluation.
Exercises will be accompanied by weekly collective screen reviews. Lectures given by the lecturers or by external guests of international standing (guest lectures) will provide bibliographical and design support for the work of the groups.


exercise 01
study and interpretation

Each group will be assigned a case study of an existing port-city architecture. The work will consist of analyzing the building and the context in which it is set, the design choices made by the designers, from the spatial and volumetric configurations to those relating to particular technologies, materials or devices integrated into the architecture. At this stage, the methodology of collecting data, diagrams, site drawings, photographs and models through publications (in books, magazines, scientific journals, web) and possible direct contact with the designers of the assigned architecture will be very important.

The first exercise will require the drafting of 1 A1 panel which will collect and summarize this research and a short presentation (max 10 slides, pdf) to be discussed collectively in the classroom.

exercise 02
project and vision

Starting from the case study of an assigned existing port-city architecture, each group will elaborate an alternative solution through the development of its own architectural project. The context and positioning of the building will remain unchanged, while the functional programme will be reformulated to include both a port function, i.e. of an operational nature, and an urban function, i.e. of a public nature. For example, students will be asked to design a building capable of simultaneously housing a large hotel and an ecological production plant or a bathing facility and a shipyard or a residential housing estate and a cruise terminal, and so forth. The aim of the project will be not only to make the functions coexist, paying attention to their respective needs and requirements, but to elaborate a distinct and new architectural typology in which the port and urban character hybridize in an inclusive form.

The second exercise will require the preparation of 3 A1 panels and a digital presentation to illustrate the project collectively.


Port-city architectures physically occupy the port-city borderor better threshold increasing its heterogeneity: they are not merely buildings generated by a functional mix, but special architectures that inhabit the threshold, becoming carriers of new functions and uses.
Through inclusive and hybrid approaches, the course aims to develop design solutions of port-city architectures in which both urban and port programs coexist within the same building(s): e.g., a large hotel and an ecological production plant, a bathing facility and a shipyard, a residential housing estate and a cruise terminal, etc..
With the purpose of experimenting inclusive and hybrid approaches, the course aims to develop design solutions of port-city architectures in which both urban and port programs coexist within the same building(s): e.g., a large hotel and an ecological production plant, a bathing facility and a shipyard, a residential housing estate and a cruise terminal, etc. 
Through the study of 8 excellent international case of existent port-city architectures in world port cities (Hamburg, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dunkerque, Marseille, Helsingør, Cape Town), the goal of the course is to experiment the latent potential of these special urban and architectural artefacts, to encourage hybrid and inclusive design approaches straddling land and sea, and, lastly, to claim the practices related to land-sea and marine settlements in the field of architecture.
In the design process, particular attention will be devoted to the study and definition of development phases in which the designed architecture and its context evolve progressively and are able to be transformed to meet new conditions and uses. Students will form a sequence of alternative scenarios, potentially mid- to long-term duration, for example: present, 25 years, 50 years.


in progress

Andriani C., 2020, «Oltre. Metabolisms at the City/Port Border». In: Moretti (2020: 14-19).

Andriani, C., Moretti, B., Servente, D., 2018, «Patrimonio di confine tra Città e Porto. Il caso di Genova». Paesaggio Urbano. Paesaggio Urbano, 3, 29-39.

Broeze F., 1989, Brides of the Sea: Port Cit- ies of Asia from the 16th–20th centuries. Kensington: New South Wales University Press.
Bruttomesso R., 2006, Città-Porto: Mappe per nuove rotte urbane, X Mostra Internazionale di Architettura, la Biennale di Venezia. Venezia: Marsilio.

Bruttomesso R., Alemany J., 2011, eds., The Port City of the XXIst Century: New Challenges in the Relationship between Port and City. Venezia: RETE Publisher.

De Carlo G., 1992, La Città e il Porto. Torino: Marietti.

Ducruet C., 2011, «The Port City in Multidisciplinary Analysis». In: Bruttomesso, Alemany (2011: 32-48).
Hein C., 2011, a cura di, Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks. Abingdon-New York, NY: Routledge.

Hein C., 2020, «Designing Thresholds in the Port Cityscapes». In: Moretti (2020: 200-205).

Moretti, B., 2022, «Il lungomare di Genova, progetto e gestione della linea di costa: l'Affresco e il Waterfront di Levante». In Manigrasso M. (ed.), COSTE IN MOVIMENTO 2021. ATELIER DI RICERCA (pp. 265-281). EDA / QUADERNI DI ARCHITETTURA, Aracne, Rome.

Moretti, B., 2021, «La grammatica dei porti, una morfologia speciale di paesaggi analoghi. Il caso del Grain Elevator di Buffalo». In: GUD, Analogia – Analogy, n. 3, 46-55.

Moretti B., 2020, Beyond the Port City: The Condition of Portuality and the Threshold Concept. Berlin: Jovis.

Moretti B., 2020, «The FRAC of Dunkirk by Lacaton & Vassal: About Incommensurability, Duplication and Openness». In: WA – World Architecture Magazine, 356, 114-119

Moretti, B., Komossa, S., Marzot, N., Andriani, C., 2019, «States of co-existence and border projects in port cities: Genoa and Rotterdam compared». In: Proceedings of the Institution of Civil EngineersUrban Design and Planning, 172(5), 191-202.

Pavia R., Di Venosa M., 2012, Waterfront: Dal conflitto all’integrazione. Trento: LISt Lab.

Rosselli A., 2005, «Il porto come struttura e significato». Portus, 10: 4-9.
Unwin S., 2007, Doorway. Abingdon-New York, NY: Routledge.



Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Universities, NL

PORTUS, the online magazine of RETE
Venice, IT



Exam Board





According to the academic calendar


Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



At the end of the semester, students will present and discuss with critics their design rationale and justification for the project based on the course objectives.
The work presented for the final examination will be the series of 4 A1 panels documenting the work done in both exercises. A digital pdf version of the 4 A1s and a screen presentation (max 20 slides) will also be submitted and discussed during the exam.
Aspects to be emphasized in the final evaluation are: research, references, case studies, use of information; typological and functional manipulation of the architecture of permanence and change, urban strategy, insertion of the designed architecture into the context, design of public spaces and connections; environmental conditions and integrated architectural response; collaboration and communication (within the group and with others); visualization of the project and effective use of media; effectiveness of the work and final presentation.


Assessment and evaluation will take place at the end of each phase of work, by both the professors and the group itself. 
The presence of external guests during the final exam, as jury, will offer a direct and qualified confrontation in which the student will have to demonstrate the critical-theoretical and strategic-planning skills acquired during the course.
The final examination, conducted in presence and in oral form by all students, will verify the level of learning of the primary notions of architectural design and the themes proposed by the course.



10%      exercise 01 – professors' evaluation of research and interpretation work

10%      exercise 01 – professors' evaluation of dialogue and collaboration

5%      exercise 01 – other groups’ evaluation of work and presentation


15%      exercise 02 – professors' evaluation of design work

10%      exercise 02 – other groups’ evaluation of design work


50%      Final exam

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
22/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Scritto + Orale
22/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Laboratorio
11/07/2023 10:00 GENOVA Orale