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The unit will work on the invention and construction of eco-machines. Eco-machinic prototypes will differ both from traditional architectural models and from industrial design prototypes: on one side they refuse a purely representational role but rather derive their material definition from a form of direct engagement with the surrounding environment. On the other hand they seek for progressive refinement through an open process where both performances and targets co-evolve and differentiate. Eco-machines will be therefore both performance oriented while remaining programmatically opportunistic, intensely site specific while still typologically undefined. They will feature a combination of material prototypes (developed through direct testing) and a strategic manual (developed though on site observation, abstract diagramming and systemic evaluation).

Historic processes
the UNIT will start its investigation with specific observations on local cultures where a critical point of development has been recently reached, and a sudden social, economic or environmental mutation is emerging; we are going to investigate complex local systems currently pushed away from their equilibrium by an enlargement of their network of territorial and global connections. The focus will be on local systems with a certain degree of ‘tradition’, i.e. systems with a consistent history of economic, energetic and cultural flows, and related processes. The Mediterranean basin will constitute the geographical focus; the interest lies in the recent turmoil generated by the extension of the European Union network. Traditionally rich and consolidated local networks lacking energy for innovation are now being transformed by the flow of knowledge and capital coming from the northern headquarters; we will develop our eco-machines as new models of global collaboration and as catalysts for local systemic development.

hands on
The unit working format will combine an extended digital platform with intensive hands-on workshop based experiences. The digital platform will allow development of abstract diagramming skills, performance testing and scenario modeling; moreover the unit will implement a blog and exploit go to meeting technologies for remote tutorial (for example with Dr Eyal Nir-Paracloud) and prototyping sessions with the unit’s industrial partners (from the TWDC2008 network). The hands-on component will involve taking part to three intensive prototyping events: the field trip in the first term, an installation in Istanbul on the second and a workshop/prototyping event during Easter in Turin (the unit will be affiliated to the Turin World Design Capital 2008 network).

Bios
Claudia Pasquero graduated from Turin Polytechnic on 2000, and consequently completed the AA EE Master Programme, she is co-founder of ecoLogicStudio (www.ecoLogicStudio.com) with which she has recently completed a public library in Cirie’ (Turin) and in 2006 has been participating to the London and to the Venice Architectural Biennale with an installation called STEM. Claudia has been teaching and lecturing internationally including East London University, Turin Polytechnic, The Kingston University (London), UDLA (Puebla, Mexico City), IAAC (Barcelona), ITU (Istanbul), Bilgi University (Istanbul) and others. Her work is online on: http://blog.tropicalondon.co.uk/

Marco Poletto graduated with honours from Turin Polytechnic in 1999. Studied at the AA master course in environment and energy, and worked at Battle McCarthy as environmental designer. In 2002 he directed a research group on a six months project in Caracas, working on the subject of urban ecology in the informal city. In 2004 he founded ecoLogicStudio, with Claudia Pasquero, working as designers and researchers. Marco has been design tutor of the MA on sustainable design at the UEL London, technical tutors of Dip1 2 at the Architectural Association School of Architecture London; he has been co-tutors of the Fibrous Structures Workshop (AA/ITU exchange workshop). Recent publications include an article for Cluster magazine, titled ‘artificial ecological infrastructures’, and a contribution relative to the teamwork within the Caracas Case project (Informal City the Caracas case Prestel NY, 2005).

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