Jean Mas: Pièce Urbaine/Urban Fragments


The model of the European city, designed as a city that assembles and integrates,  is becoming weakened and marginalized”. (1)

Instead of planned cities, from the Greek city to Haussmann Paris or Milan, they have become saturated, abandoned territories. The models that formed the city over the years are now obsolete. The theoretical base has given way to debate where very disparate ideas and transcriptions can be juxtaposed to compete, unfortunately, in a logic of spectacular objects, as wonderful as they may be.

Starting with the French repertoire of utopian or developed urban projects within the ongoing debate about the Grand Paris, from “La ville franchisée” by David Mangin to the “l’ilôt ouvert” by Christian de Portzamparc, on the vast Caserma Montello site we shall endeavour to revisit the contemporary “Pièce Urbaine” concept by Henri Ciriani that aims, in part, to restore faith in the emergence of a coherent and co-ordinated urban project, even at large scale.

Starting with the initial analysis of the context, then a joint preliminary study of the site and its characteristics, the elaboration of the overall design strategy and criteria will be formulated by the whole group with designated, methodical tools.

Students can then subsequently work, either alone or in groups of two or three maximum, within the framework of the project criteria common to the group, on a designated, co-ordinated part of the site and a specific programme to be defined by the debate on the Pièce Urbaine objectives shared by the group, both in terms of social mix and density.

Urban morphology issues and measures are at the centre of our study on multiple themes: Strong Form, Attach/Detach, Pose/Lift, Fold/Unfold/Refold, Density/Intensity, Open Order/Density…

The disappearance of many modern urban planning theories requires a new and intense effort of imagination and design”. (2)

From this standpoint, our thinking and our ambition will be positioned. Accordingly, in the workshop, we shall be interested in everything that contributes to develop a quality city especially in terms of public space to which we want to give strong meaning within the project.

Our urban project is built upon commitments for a city where density, mobility and public space co-exist harmoniously. From an innovation and research perspective on urban space, where the permanent elements and issues of the day are collated, the workshop engages students to define urban space based on real architectural projects.

If the urban project creates situations, polarities that transform place, then architecture is the matrix that effectively develops the city that, within the workshop, can also define Miaw as a spatial project for Milan.

(1). Olivier Mongin – La condition urbaine.

(2). Paola Vigano – Le projet comme producteur de connaissance.


Steinmann. Forme Forte, Birkhauser

Koolhas. Junkspace

J.Gracq. La forme d’une Ville, Editions José Corti

Fortier. La Métropole imaginaire, Un atlas de Paris,1989

D . Mangin. La ville franchisée, Editions de la Vilette, Paris 2004

Auge. Où est passé l’avenir, Editions du Panama

Picon et JP Robert. Un atlas Parisien, 1999, Paris

Lucan. Composition, Non composition