Moving towards a European Design Code
On October 7th, Susanna Tradati shared her ideas for a European Design Code with Inarch and the magazine Le Carré Bleu in Paris.
The gap between professional experience and the regulatory environment within which architects move, which is increasingly complicated and an obstacle to good design, has widened in recent years. The new Procurement Code 36/2023, as well as the Italian infrastructure investment measures also linked to European funds (primarily Pnrr, but also Jubilee and ERDF Funds), do not put the project at the center of the process, but often refer to objectives that do not recognize the importance of architecture and the built environment, as the foundation of the quality of urban transformations that will take place in the coming years.
So what to do?
Here is the proposal, divided into 6 actions:
1. THE PROJECT TO CREATE VALUE AND GENERATE POSITIVE IMPACT
Consider the role of the project as a primary element of creation of Value: economic, social and environmental, estimating its overall impact, which must be a #positiveimpact, enriching the territory and the community, as well as for the public and private actors involved.
In fact, there is no project with a zero impact, but there are now many projects that, despite high performances in the energy field, produce a negative impact on the territory.
2. ARCHITECTURE TO FORESHADOW NEW LIFE SCENARIOS
Architecture has the mission of foreshadow future life scenarios, building projects with a value in the long term. We are responsible for what we build, and what will it be worth in a hundred years and more.
In order to build new life scenarios, it is necessary to identify new visions through design contests, and then do the subsequent planning. Planning without a vision has destroyed our cities and our landscape.
3. CONTEMPORARY AESTHETICS AS A FORM TO BE PURSUED
It’s crucial to encourage, especially in Italy, the replacement of poor quality buildings, both to improve our living environments and the sustainability of our buildings.
The requalification of existing buildings is important, but produces limited effects and does not allow us to express our present. We must ask ourselves what legacy we will leave to future generations.
4. PROMOTING MULTIDISCIPLINARITY IN ARCHITECTURE
Promote a multidisciplinary university and post-university education in an integrated approach to Architecture and the many disciplines that concern it.
Stimulate a European network of Think Tanks for a transversal and multidisciplinary debate on urban transformation. Through these think tanks, identify strategic projects of European interest for the development of a metropolitan network and territorial cohesion, and allocate proper funds to them.
5. ENCOURAGING RESEARCH AND PROCESS INNOVATION
In the context of undergraduate and postgraduate education, promote parametric architecture and artificial intelligence programs.
Encourage meetings in Think Tanks with new technology experts, also from different and potentially complementary fields, integrating architecture in the processes of Research&Innovation and Open Innovation.
Promote the integration between virtual design and real prototypes. Promote architectural culture also in other innovation fields.
6. PROMOTING A EUROPEAN DEBATE ON A UNIFIED DESIGN CODE
Work on a Unified European Design Code that can replace local procurement codes by placing the project at the center of the process.
Bring back the role of the designer as overseer of the whole process.
Encourage the creation of design contests with appropriate juries and the recognition of fair professional fees.
Report the experiences related to the 5 Actions mentioned above as a constant update of the future design code, to improve it based on experience.
Based on the work done by Inarch and Le Carré Bleu and all the valuable contributions of the speakers involved, we must continue to discuss these issues to bring an effective Italian proposal to Europe.
Video credits @Nicola Palumbo