news from an (extra)ordinary architecture practice

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B-sides / the Ark

International Design Competition for Yeonsu-gu Youth Center, 2022

The story of a project is always made of many dead ends, despite the strenght of some intuitions that are not able to give the right form to a program, in a specific site. Here, the Youth Center has the shape of a giant Ark that embraces a sequence of public (green) spaces rising from the ground.

A first idea for the competition, where the form was tightening the building in one singular identity, while the final New Babel proposal was on the contrary choosing to stack a sequence of different buildings representing the different activities and ways of living in the Yeonsu-gu Youth Center.

New Babel

International Design Competition for Yeonsu-gu Youth Center, 2022 | Runner-up

Layering diversities

The program for the Yeonsu-Gu Youth Center is built on a variety of activities that will make the richness of it, but at the same time require a careful distribution being many of them incompatible for the situations they will create: while some of them need to be in strong relation with the public space of the city and open to free access and chance encounter and will produce lively and noisy environments, not to mention those which will have loud music as a constituent element, others will require calm and silent spaces where to gather, discuss and focus; others will be with a more selective access, because of the type of activities that will host, or the materials and hardware they contain.

The project proposes therefore to organize this extraordinarily diverse sequence of collective activities following a vertical gradient from the most public and open to those with a selective access and dedicated to specific activities, regrouping the program upon categories that can better highlight the character and meaning of each environment.

Each of these environments is treated as a different building with its own architectural identity, related to the type of activity that it hosts, and composed in a sequence that develops vertically the diversity of a small city, the city of youth of Yeonsu-Gu, connected by a line of stairs that develop as a vertical street.
The blocks are staggered in order to offer to each environment an elevated public space and multiply the open space for the surrounding communities in a lot densely built. The sequence of terraces become public thanks to another line of stairs that serve at the same time as secondary fire escape, but mostly as a public promenade from the ground level to higher terrace.
The Youth Center becomes more than a building, a vertical Campus that reflects in the diversity of its consittuent elements the variety of languages that our society and its most promising components will express.

The Golden Link

This sequence of peculiar and recognizable activities is sewed by two continuous paths that flow interconnected indoor and outdoor, linking together the most public places of the center – the terraces, the distribution hallways and decks in the building.
This structure is highlighted by the use of golden finish that culminates in a golden perforated metal structure that envelopes and masks the last floor where part of the technical installations of the center will be located, that looks like a crowning of a quite extraordinary sequence of collective activities.

View from the hall | Meet space


01. Meet

At the ground level, in continuity with the street and facing to the east the future housing development, there is the major public space of the Center that flows through the building in what we have called the Meet environment, a “transparent” group of spaces where the youngsters can gather and play freely.
Connected through a generous flight of steps, at the first level of the Meet cluster visitors will find the Karaoke rooms and the Bakery space “extracted” from the Specialized Center in order to maximize the potential relations that it could develop with the public condition of these first floors, the café and the lobby at the ground level, and the Gathering hall at the third floor – offering its baked products to a wider audience in special occasions.

Ground floor plan / Meet

02. Perform

The program for the Youth Center contains a series of performative activities with different functional requirements such the access of a large number of visitors, functional flexibility and soundproofing, that are therefore grouped together at level +2 and +3, in direct spatial continuity with the access lobby to which are connected by the large flight of stairs.

The roof of the sports facility is the first large elevated public space of the Center. Furnished with movable tree pots that can screen the sunlight from the south, it can potentially be used as a further performative space where to organize film screening, spectacles and so on.

The skin of this block of activities, that is glazed in continuity with the previous one, is screened by a grid of perforated metal panels that shade the building during the day and reveal, as a translucent stage curtain, its performative activities during the night.

Second floor plan / Perform

03. Create

The “core” of the building, placed symbolically halfway between the more open and chaotic and the more calm and organized parts of the building, is what we have called the Create space, where all the activities of the Specialized Center that have to do with a making experience are grouped together.
This is the most flexible and open space of the center, wanting to multiply the possible interactions between different activities and disciplines, a transdisciplinary space where the less the separations divide the space, the more the cross fertilization can happen.
This maker space is an outlook on the surroundings, it is fully open on the landscape on the four sides, to reconnect creative practice with the widest horizon of this city of the future.
The outdoor space of the Maker zone can be used as an open-air workshop or for setting temporary exhibitions of the artworks produced indoor.

The Create space
Fourth floor plan / Create

04. Learn

Just upstairs of the Maker space we have two stories of rooms dedicated to more organized and calm activities, such as the classrooms that can have a close and fruitful relation with the space of creation – theory and practice one over the other…
The dense and regular spacing of the windows allows for a great future flexibility of the rooms, adjusting their sizes following changes in the functional requirements of the building. Also, the narrowness of the windows acts as an architectural screening of sunlight.

Fifth floor plan / Learn

05. Organize

The last floor of the building is for the directional activities of the center, and it is structured with an open space facing the last terrace of the building – again an outdoor extension of the indoor activities, and a space for greenery to screen the sunlight from the south.

Seventh floor plan / Organize
Transversal section
Transversal sections
East elevation

Sport Facilities

The building for the gym and the pool, while functionally separated from the Youth Center, is part of the same narrative and structure, and it is in close proximity with its most compatible activities such as the café at the ground floor on the corner of the sport facility entrance.
This building within the building is characterized by concrete walls that emerge from the ground with a triangular shape, creating large V-shaped windows that maximize exposure and lighting at the upper level, where privacy is less of a problem,
At the ground level, accessible from the lobby, there is a balcony overlooking the pool to let visitors and parents assist at swimming and diving lessons and races, and the changing rooms for the upstairs gym.
The pool at level -1 has a generous triple height that allows the installation of three diving platforms at +3, 5 and 7,5 meters of height from the water surface.
The structure of the roof is made of V-shaped trusses that will contain the electrical and conditioning systems.

The gym at level + 1 has the space for one indoor badminton field, two table tennis and a room for other gym activities. Possibly this space can be expanded with a closed balcony overlooking the pool, where a sequence of fitness equipment could be installed.

The pool with the gym
New Babel

Streetfight Garbatella

Friday, March 18, Final presentation of the workshop with the Master in Design for Public Spaces at 6 p.m. @ Casa della Città, via della Moletta 85, Roma.

For a (more) playful 2022

During Christmas Holidays we get together with friends and relatives that we didn’t see for a while, and we spend some time telling shortly the most notable events of the year that is going to end, before the ritual wishes for a great new year.
Something like this post where we condense the nice things we will bring along of this – still – complicated 2021…

Playgrounds on a bar
The most important event of 2021 has been for ma0 the (re)start of the project for Piazza Umberto a Bari with engineer Maurizio Franco, introduced by a long and rich participative process, brought along with great interlocutors that helped to improve the project and refine ideas to accomplish a preliminary project we love a lot. Most of all, we love the Playbar – in the image above – a small pavilion in an historical garden/piazza that won’t be changed so much. A little building where to relocate the public toilets and a bar, in continuity with the kids’ playgrounds, a “densification” of public activities in one small, interactive, playful and light kiosk that evokes the “cassa armonica” and “luminarie” of the local tradition.
Ready to start the following design phases!

Windows on a (digital) wall
Last september we have accomplished a long work for Interno 1, the concept space of GS1 Italy in Milan, in the framework of a great project with IdLab as leader, ma0 with Giulio Pernice and Simone Memé for the interaction design and Cliostraat for the interior design. Our project started with the design of a digital wall to explore the universe of meanings, serivces and opportunities behind the barcode and more broadly the values and products of GS1, and completed with the design and development of an app dedicated to the “Order to Cash” process.

A museum on top of a water pumping plant
With SWS Consulting we have developed a feasibility study for an ehibition space in one of the most amazing water pumping plants we have in Rome, where architect Palpacelli designed in the ’70s a technical infrastructure as if it was a spaceship – or a relative of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. For Acea we have proposed two different solutions, to integrate the new spaces in the existing situation, and cope with the regulatory framework. Here you have the one we like the most.

A roof over the slope
From 2021 and late 2020, catastrophic years in terms of recognition received in competitions, we will keep nevertheless this last project in Switzerland, together with other beloved projects from the past, unlucky – or wrong – in the competitionsthey took part, but always in our hearts and minds!

A rugby stadium in the making
Last but not least, in 2021 the building of our Rugby Stadium in Catino / Bari has started! Hopefully we’ll have in the next new year’s wishes something more than a render… In the meantime, we wish you a happy new year!

Ketty Di Tardo, Luca La Torre, Alberto Iacovoni / ma0 studio d’architettura

Beautiful losers

These last two years have been quite catastrophic in terms of success in architectural competitions, we have to admit. Despite the time that the pandemic has given us, the number of submissions we were able to make, none of the projects had recognition of any sort. It happens: success in competitions depends on the alignment of many factors, sometimes you can blame the jury or the crowd of competitors and always these failures are an opportunity to understand how to do better and where to address the next shot – because not all of your creatures are the best you can do, and they are nothing but a ordinary stumble in a path that can nevertheless lead to glory.

Some of them, despite their failure, stands in our story as beautiful experiences, projects that we surely (will) refer to in the future, thanks to the ideas that have solicited us or the way we represented them. Ogni scarrafone è bello a mamma sua (every cockroach is beautiful to his mother) we say in Italy, and it’s true that it always very hard to gain netruality towards our own creations, but in the three following cases we believe that there is something special that we have to bring along in other projects… Let’s start from the most recent one:

Sanctuaire – Reception facilities for the Etang de la Gruère parc, Canton du Jura, Switzerland 2021

What we like: the way the reinterpretation of an archetypal volume – the roof – establishes a gentle and appropriate dialogue with the topography and the landscape, opening the tourists’ center to the surrounding lawns, becoming part of the processional path to the entrance to the parc; we like also very much the repurposing of the elements all made of wood, in planks or in piled trunks, coming from another beloved (and losing) previous project.

What they didn’t (supposedly) like: well, the awarded with the first prize a project proposing to completely remove the car parking from the area (one of the requirements of the competition brief, and one of the reasons for the competition itself)… our Toblerone like roof was for sure too impacting. We felt completely cheated, you can’t win just by removing a goal of the competition. But this is the type of shit that happens in competitions…

Carousel Europa – Piazza Transcalpina / TRG Europe competition in Gorizia/Nova Gorica 2020

What we like: the lightness of a festive architecture that, while interpreting the genius loci, resonates with many different precedents; the complementarity of open and closed spaces (one the background of the other), and the simple but effective devices of interaction integrated in the outdoor and indoor spaces; a narrative suspended bewteen reality and imagination, that makes use of different narrative codes, from the detournement of images, to diagrams and mixed media renderings.

What they didn’t (supposedly) like: they wanted a monument and we proposed instead a carousel and a tent that opens up along the border, we really got it all wrong!

Epicenters – Art Platform in Suncheon, Korea 2016

What we like: similarly to the previous project, we love the lightness of a building made of canopies evoking the Korean shrines, completely merged with the public space – here too, figure and ground, built and unbuilt, volume and surface come to form together. And, of course, we love the graphic suspended between drawing and rendering, something that in our heads was an allusion to a certaing graphic heritage of the region.

What they didn’t like: nothing, the package arrived too late, nobody ever judged this project, and this probably worse than a bad reception! But it is one more reason to keep it as a refernce for further investigations…

YAKARI! – Bois-de-la-Batie park, Geneva 2013

What we like: this project for a park it’s 100% a playground, and it’s all made of one module – we have an obsession for simple modules, the best elements to play with to build anything possible. Here the module responds perfectly to the site – everything runs along the border between the forest and clear, merge and blend with the landscape thanks to the sampling and repetition of a characteristic element of the rural and mountanin landscape: wood, piled in stacks on the edge of forests, or close to dwellings.

What they didn’t like: what we liked most, the densification of all the elements along one line, following strict geometrical patterns – was an approach far away from the winning one by Joao Nunes, much more organic and soft. That’s the problem when architects want to be landscape designers…

Passo Carrabile – Viale Aventino, 2001

What we like: it’s been 20 years so far, and we feel a little bit ashamed to be linked still to this early and naif project of ours. Though, long before the elaboration of the “streetfight” culture, and birth of concepts such as “tactical urbanism”, this proposal was fully aware that to make a discourse on public space we have to start from the redesign of the horizontal surfaces of the city. This awareness has nurtured many project afterwards, and we’re happy to share it today with a much wider community of designer and administrators.

What they didn’t like: we had the brilliant idea to make renderings doubling the vertical dimensions of the paving, because the light articulation (max 40 cm) of the different levels wasn’t visibile enough, causing a great misunderstanding on the project: as we heard later on, the jury understood that we wanted to excavate the road, which is impossibile, given the presence of the subway underneath. This was a great teaching on the problems in communicating something that is not volumetric, but is just made of gently articulated surfaces such as the public space, and that’s why afterwards we remade the perspective views in the graphic style you see in this post (on the website the original ones). Also, we have to mention that the winning project wasn’t questioning at all the street in its entirety, limiting the intervention to the sidewalks, with a very defensive solution…

Sometimes you get awarded for questioning the competition program (like in the first project of this list) sometimes you can’t …

Space Fictions \ collages

On architectural representations 1/3

It is a difficult moment for architectural representation. On one hand, we suffer the rule of the extreme verisimilitude, as we wrote in our Little Pink Book:

In this passage towards hyper-realism induced by the instruments we use – and by the language that dominates architecture’s homogenized thinking – something subtle but fundamental gets lost, something that it was virtually impossible to lose when the instruments and techniques we used – even skillfully – implied an economy of signs. This is the lightness of the indefinite, of the unsaid, of the evoked. It is the space for indeterminacy that saves us from describing things that we probably are still unsure about, respects that gap between project and reality, and provides the viewer with a subtle power for interpretation and appropriation.
Finally, what gets lost in this pornographic passage to perfect dissimulation, is the imperfection and variety of the real that no tree we may borrow from 3d models libraries will ever be able to reproduce.

Architectural representations, once truly narrative and able to leave room for interpretation and imagination, are nowadays more and more boring – despite and because of their spectacularity – as the last Marvel franchise is.
On the other hand, we witnessed a strong reaction to this rule, an opposition through resistance and the widespread diffusion of different representational techniques aimed to bring back in architectural design images ambiguity, narratives, ideas – but very often removing, with verisimilitude, also some of the most important values of space – light, depth of space and so on. Not to mention that this reaction has in the blink of an eye produced another wave of representational homogenization, symmetrically boring and meaningless as the rule of the rendering.
The extreme paradox of this crisis are all those architects known for their amazing production of digital collages and illustrations, that, when delivering a project for a competition, ask visualisation professionals to prepare the same photorealistic renderings that they have been criticizing through their work – embodying in their practice this split between standardized spectacularization and a representation consistent with specific architectonic values.

Since the beginning of our practice we have been using collages in search of a different kind of realism, because we are fond of what the Situationnist’s called detournement of existing elements, of what we call, detourning a definition from electronics, augmented reality. Again, as stated in our pink bible:

In an architecture that should value the performance offered to its users more than its own form, poetics feeds on the reality one wants to be part of. (…) It collects elements and details that belong more in a hardware shop than in an architectural magazine, and relocates them into a sort of low-tech augmented reality.

Reverberer – Competition collage for the CEVA public spaces in Chene-Bourg

As we know, collage is the most powerful and quick  tool to take something interesting that belongs to our reality, and build upon it an augmented value – different but not alien.

Footprints – X Architecture Biennale in Venice

Every collage of ours is not the project, but rather the result of a process of relocation of something that is existing and belongs to our practices and memories, deploying and empowering its potentialities.

Yakari! – Bois de Batie Competition

Some of these collages can be seen just as found situations, such as the pile of trunks that we transformed in a playground by placing over it two jumping kids – and was the starting point for a park design all based on different interpretations of this stack. Others operate a transformation – slicing, displacement, scaling, repetition – to reveal the potentiality of existing spatial conditions, or to create something new from what is part of our culture. The splitting of nave of a cathedral can thus suggest a building that embraces and celebrate public space in Switzerland, while the gathering of fragments from the mediterranean tell of a building that wants to be a cluster of diverse and identifiable public programs.

Section d’Or – Competition for Chatelaine Cultural Center in Geneva
Collage for the Catino Rugby Stadium

The culture we play with using collages includes references from different disciplines- photography and movies being a constant source of inspiration. Like the hide-and-seek sequence in Una giornata particolare, where Marcello Mastroianni and Sofia Loren play with one of the most beautiful spatial conditions, an open space lightly separated by the white linen on the drying racks. A spatial condition that has been returning frequently as an aspiration of many projects – and mostly exhibition designs and installations, such as Touch Screen, Borderlines, Cross the Streets.

Borderlines – from Una Giornata Particolare by Ettore Scola

Some other collages are just explorations without an end, just fictions that maybe one day will become projects…

Ferdinando Scianna, Los Angeles reworked

These collages are mostly for internal use, except for those produced and shown in the context of an exhibition. They probably shouldn’t be considered architectural representations but rather architectural explorations that gather in a very immediate and simple act a multiplicity of meanings and references, the mundane and the extraordinary, the formal and the political, reality and utopia.

Open forms: playgrounds

Play is one of ma0’s keywords since the beginning of the practice. As Game Zone and Playscape claimed, architecture can be seen as a system of spatial rules that can allow – or impede – movements and gestures, relations and communications, moving the focus of design – and analysis – from the stylistic and symbolic aspects of form to the social and political values of how people and dwellers can perform in a given space. 

Floating Architecture @ Carpi, Festa del Gioco

Again, from our ma0’s little pink book:

If form organizes relations, lays out and defines the modes of communication between spaces (…), architecture is a system of spatial and procedural rules that start a game the outcome of which we can only imagine by establishing constraints, interdictions and obstacles, by offering opportunities and leaving room for interpretation.

This is the performative side of form.

The most interesting aspect of looking at architecture as a playground, is the fact that it stresses its constituent task to order and protect bodies and goods in space and to prescript behaviors, not to mention the fact that play goes against the natural weight, solidity and inertness of building materials. The strategies to evade architecture’s limitations to become playful are manifold, and depend on the situation, context, program, as the outcomes that we want to have.

Temporary installations such as our Floating Architectures are an extraordinary opportunity to escape many of these limitations, inventing light and apparently useless devices devoted to spatial exploration and to “create a temporary crisis in the structure of use and fruition of the city and its architecture, altering its responses to those of the expectations of its users, interrupting the system of anticipation of the user, who is blocked by stereotyped rules” (Orlandoni, Vallino, 1977). Wonder is a fundamental aspect of these installations – produced by the displacement of objects, the use of exceptional colors and materials – to trigger a different attitude from the visitors, to make clear that they are entering a playground where these rules are temporarily and partially suspended.

Floating Architecture @ Tasmeem Doha 2015: 3ajeeb!

Against the motionlessness of architecture, we have been using the lighter elements of space – walls, doors, furniture – as devices to let the dwellers interact and transform space adapting it to different needs and situations.

Since the rotating benches in Bari, we have been exploring in a long series of projects for different occasions and contexts the possibility of opening public and private spaces to a multiplicity of interactions.

Piazza Risorgimento, Bari

The Carousel of the Transalpina Square in Gorizia is just the last of a long series of projects that featured rotating benches and rotating or sliding walls, with its benches moving eccentrically on rails around the center of this public space, on the border between Italy and Slovenia.

Carousel Europe @ Transalpina Square, Gorizia
Diagrams showing the movement of the benches on eccentric rails
Diagrams showing different configurations of the underground exhibition space

These two strategies to make playful and interactive architecture, while opening space to interpretation and appropriation, nevertheless have some limitations, given the ephemeral character of the first, and the limited range of possibilities of the second defined by the device performance.

More challenging is always for us the possibility to leave a blank space in architecture, and to make room for incremental modifications promoted by the dwellers, really adapting architecture to needs that the designer can rarely fully comprehend.

On the lineage of important examples coming from all over the world of incremental architecture – starting from the ‘60s to recent years where this approach has gained a renewed attention for its social and ecological implications – we have been experimenting since the beginning the most radical form of playful architecture, one that leave to the dweller the possibility of completing and transforming the building overtime.

Costruzione di una Scuola, Scuole Innovative Competition in Macerata

From Playscape, the winning proposal to the Europan 7 competition, to the more recent Costruzione di una scuola (II prize at the Scuole innovative competition) and the project commissioned by the Comune di Bari for the renewal of the public spaces and facilities of a school, the solution has been to design open frameworks able to collect in a common structure a multiplicity of interventions, and a future that can be just imagined – but not determined – by these projects. Here architecture makes a step backward and becomes a support – as Habraken named it – to welcome the sedimentation of a diversity of traces, forms and languages representing different identities.

Palympsest, Rodari school renewal in Bari

After using for years the metaphor of the playground in search for an interactive and incremental architecture, we are now broadening this search following openness as keyword, that can literally open the conversation to different genealogies of architects, apparently very distant from us – and from a playful attitude – bringing us outside of the disciplinary boundaries in the relational dimension of the space in which we live.

Openness is the new mantra, but the substance is always the same: make room for play!

Open forms: diverse orders

How to compose collectivity

If space commands bodies, prescribing or proscribing gestures, as Henri Lefebvre wrote, then the way we order things, bodies and buildings in space is not only the physical manifestation of ideologies behind the form of architecture and the city.

As we wrote in our Little Pink Book:

For people like us who cannot speak or believe, the order we use to compose things still has a value – just ask children who play ring-a-ring o’ roses, or soldiers who go on a parade, or bathers on a public beach, or the inmates surrounded by a Panopticon.

Order organizes relations. It establishes the modes of communication between spaces, it promotes, or prevents, movement, it makes it interact with other movements and flows, it either facilitates or prevents the construction of a map, it either orients or disorients.

The order we follow when we lay spaces – and individuals – out is the very first expression of politics in architecture.

That’s why a recurring theme in our work has always been the experimentation of orders that allow at the same time to build and represent a collectivity while triggering forms of individual appropriation and identification with space. What we call diverse orders (and others have called in different ways throughout the last century) arrange a collectivity as a gathering of differences more than an array of equalities, the type of order sustained as the correct formalization of democracy and/or the disclosure of the abstract rule of capital, according to the architects of the modern movement and some contemporary scholars and designers.

These three projects – a rugby stadium in Bari, an ongoing project of a center for youth in Kilifi, a school in Herat, – among others that we did, configure collectivity as a gathering of individual buildings in a whole that allows for its different elements to be recognized, identified, appropriated.

Study collage for the Rugby Stadium in Bari

The breaking of the program in individual building masses articulated in orders with a loose evidence and a weak hierarchy – together with the differentiation of their dimension, position, facades composition, color and material – creates on one hand a series of open spaces to be appropriated with different uses – from those with more collective value to those with a more intimate character – and trigger a process of identification with the single buildings and their programs – my classroom, our gym, the gathering place of my community…

This split of the program in individual buildings loosely arranged around a main collective space allows furthermore, when necessary, to a step-by-step building process, and to further additions and expansions of the ensemble, that is by definition an open system thanks to an organizing principle that doesn’t close the composition of individuals in a defined and fully balanced order, and can welcome the unexpected intrusions of future developments.

Study render by ma0 for the Youth Center in Kilifi, with LGSMA, Ban, 2ap, Mario Cutuli

Last but not least, as in the project for Kilifi, this gathering of diversities is the perfect strategy for a project with multiple authors, in this case the same of the school in Herat, with different points of view and approaches to architecture.
Diverse orders for an architecture that can be diversely interpreted, lived, narrated.

Open forms: public domes

On architectures for the public realms, and their relations with the public space

Architecture is based on the endless tension between openness and enclosure, connection and separation, protection and exposure. Porosity is a fundamental quality of the boundaries we draw in between inside and outside, letting this tension produce intense exchanges of people, air, light.
This tension becomes more evident in all the buildings that host public programs, that have a public role both in functional and in symbolic terms. These buildings have to establish a strong connection between their interiors and the surrounding spaces and flows, while they have at the same time to regulate the accesses and protect their content.
We often think, when designing buildings that have an important public role – an art center in the center of a city, a civic center for a small community, a school in a village, or a museum on the border between two towns and states – of the renaissance and baroque paintings, where people gather under architectures that have the generosity of a grand gesture, great vaults, sometimes open to the landscape or reduced to ruins. Despite how much these architectures represent an established system of power and values, they nevertheless have an openness that is somehow possible just because it’s a fictional space. A space that doesn’t require to be sealed from wind and rain, to be conditioned, or protected from robbery and riots. They are fictional architectures speaking about their public role in gathering a community under one roof.

Master of the Story of Griselda

In a moment when architecture becomes more and more defensive, public buildings have a greater responsibility in recovering that role, both in symbolic and functional terms, claiming their openness to the public space, and its diverse dwellers.

Four recent projects of ours aim to bring into architecture that same openness, working on the idea of the building as a public roof, a covering of a continuous space that can flow as much as possible at the ground level throughout the building. These buildings in the form of a roof are not a repurposing of the idea of the pilotis, with a generic public space without qualities flowing under a building.

Epicenters | Suncheon Art Platform

On the contrary, they condense all the programs with more open access and public attractiveness at the ground floor and in proximity of the main accesses to the building – highlighted by gestures that open even more towards specific directions and urban spaces a mass that appears hovering on the ground.
These buildings open themselves to the contexts both in spatial and formal terms, proposing a dialogue with the architectures and landscape that characterize them.

Le Grand Toit | Port Gitana Communal Center

The Art Center in Suncheon is made of four roofs evoking the lightness of the Korean shrines, gathered around a covered public passage, while in Port Gitana the buildings for the Communal Center and the Hotel are a scaled version of the surrounding glazed shingle roofs;

Horizontale | Primary School in Bardonnex

in Bardonnex the new school privileges horizontality to minimize the impact of the building mass on a gently hilled landscape, with a cantilevered wooden roof that covers the main open space of the school establishes a spatial and formal connection with the architectures of the ancient village.

Carousel Europe | Transalpina Competition in Gorizia/Nova Goriça

In Gorizia the entrance to the museum becomes a sort of a light tent, opening along the border, evoking the temporary and festive qualities of fairs, circuses and markets that usually take place in the terrain vague in between different territories, but at the same time speaking also with irony to the past of the Austria Felix that once united these territories under one rule…

A 5-years-long update

Many things can happen in 5 years – you can spend nine months teaching in a far away country, a building can be completed, a pandemic can overturn your life and professional activity – and updating the firm’s website is not necessarily a priority. But now we finally did it!. 
ma0 is back with a website enriched with something like 20 new projects, mainly in the three fields of urbanism, architecture and exhibition design – ongoing commissions, realized installations and exhibition designs, architectural competitions.
Together with this fundamental update, we also wanted to to make the point on our activity, our themes and values, because looking backwards is always the best way to know where you are going.  Therefore we are going to publish a sequence of posts in our blog collecting a series of projects, grouped following fundamental architectural ideas/values/strategies to be used as a guide to browse our work – and mostly, to highlight the best of what we have done and to bring it into the future.
The first post we want to share is a manifesto made with the slides that open our website: it’s a sequence of ideas, values, obsessions that we have collected during time, emerging from the projects and experiences we had – apparently chaotic and random, but that can be read as the points of a manifesto for the year to come. 

Click on the captions below to see these old and new ma0’s classics, or just browse our work on

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