Architecture Mixed Use Award

Young Visionary Architecture Competition 2023 - Winners


Giovanni Ratto – Filippo Vajra | Italy

Project Title: La Megalópolis de Nadie
Project Typology: Thesis project – Five-year Master Degree

Project Description

As reported by INEGI (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía), in 2018, in Mexico, about 30,500,000 people worked in the informal sector. In Mexico City, five out of ten workers belong to the informal commercial sector, dedicating themselves to cleaning, construction, transportation and a multitude of commercial activities. The municipality is taking steps to raise millions of dollars to invest in public works.

This project proposal, based on field research, therefore moves in the direction of finding a compromise between the design of the public space and its occupation by the actors of the informal sector, considered not a problem for the city but rather a precious resource for the functioning of a complex metropolis. In fact, living the city on a daily basis, people have to face journeys that last up to one hour or more and during this time they are accompanied and come into contact with the dense network of products and services offered informally in a rapid and diffused way.

Following a systematic analysis of case studies found in the public space, therefore, the project for an urban commercial infrastructure was designed in an area of the historic city center with a strong commercial identity. The project, so, designs a public space for the neighbor of Lagunilla  in which also informal activities are contemplated.

The identified lot has a pre-existing simple metal roof built to accommodate a community of traders established in the area for several generations. The choice to intervene in this area was therefore dictated by the “non-virgin" nature of the place, as a first mediation had already taken place between "top-down" logic and "bottom-up" processes.

Thanks to direct contact with users, it was possible to collect some of the dominant issues that were taken into account during the design: the result is a structure that works on more than one spatial scale trying to integrate attention to the context, enhancement of services and sustainability.

The project was therefore resolved in a modulated wooden structure designed to allow the circulation of common users and informal devices.

Working at multiple scales (infrastructure, architecture and small design), the aim is to create a variety of situations to make the project more flexible suggesting different uses, leaving a certain amount of “negotiable” space for random informal activities.. 

The project is a lineal space with a certain variety of environments which host more fixed activities, others more occasional and widely offer new areas for socialization and leisure. At the ground floor of the structure the pre-existing cloths market finds place, while at the first floor a dynamic public path leads through a mixed-use selection of spaces such as a sportive court, an educational space for children, an exhibiting space and two artisanal workshops.

A certain attention was also given to the design of technological solutions to achieve easy maintainability and the reduction of waste investing on wood and the circularity of its use during its life-time in architecture.

1st runner up

Mohsen Bokaei | Iran 

Project Title: Hill of the Arts
Project Typology: Artist Hub

Project Description

Nestled within the historic hillsides of Turin, ArtScape Retreat emerges as a groundbreaking fusion of living, art creation, and exhibition—a revolutionary nod to the primal roots of artistic expression. Much like the Sapiens Sapiens who once marked caves with red ochre, this project seeks to revive the profound connection between humanity and art.

In response to the relentless pace of the modern world, ArtScape Retreat redefines luxury by offering a sanctuary where time is not just spent but revered. Inspired by the spirit of Hill of the Arts, Unipol l Urban Up invites visionary designers to join us in crafting a new era of houses-hotel—a space where art is not merely observed but lived and created.

At the heart of our proposal lies a multi-purpose open theater, seamlessly blending with the natural surroundings. This space serves not only as a stage for artistic performances but also as a communal plaza, extending the site to the depths of the adjacent forest. This unique integration sets the stage for a transformative experience, echoing the sentiments of the primal artist dipping fingers into hematite.

Clusters of artistic rooms and workshops intertwine with a concert hall, forming nodes that offer framed views of the town and its historical landscapes. Much like the performative center envisioned by Hill of the Arts, our retreat encourages collaboration among creative minds—artists refining, improving, and commenting on contemporary artistic trends.

In our vision, the workshops, art galleries, and art suites embedded into the architectural loop become living canvases, showcasing the process of art creation. Here, the space itself becomes an incubator, blurring the lines between dwelling and artistic expression. The existing villa, now artist suites and guest rooms, features an atrium for large format artwork creation and exhibition.

ArtScape Retreat embodies the essence of the Hill of the Arts competition, offering more than a hotel—it is a refuge for avant-garde creators, a place where masterpieces are born, defying time and stirring emotions for generations to come. Unipol l Urban Up extends its gratitude to all designers ready to embark on this transformative challenge. Together, let's forge a new chapter in the timeless narrative of human creativity.

2nd runner up

Robertino Oscar Coriolani | Argentina

Project Title: Architecture of Transition and Permanence
Project Typology: Urban Scale + Arquitectonic Scale

Project Description
  1.  Habitability is a concept that we understand, because it is the place where life takes place, but the construction of the being in terms of its humanity is more complex. The concept of human minimum two developed by philosophers such as John Locke and Pierre Gassendi, explains that if one understands that the human minimum ceases to be one and becomes two, the construction of the being begins to need the other in order to be. With this idea, an answer is given, from an integral development, to the minimum needs that every person in the world should have. In this way, the discipline would be fulfilling today an imperative and necessary mandate, which is to ensure the habitability of beings as human beings. Societies are good to the extent that the people in them are good. The proposal is to understand in depth the disciplinary mandate of building the human condition in the professional practice, in this way the profession becomes essential and the field of action important, because it completes the whole that makes the architect's work. 

    The problem identified has two identifying pillars. First, the existing situation in the world of more than 60% of people living under difficult conditions and less than 40% living in miserable housing conditions. Secondly, the environmental situation of climate change and its impact on housing as a risk factor.

  2.      The proposal is to intervene a strip of pericentral urbanization in a vulnerable sector of the city near the Suquía River, with an integral mixed-use project that resolves a self-sustainable unit of a community of approximately 1400/1800 people per hectare, destined for transitory housing and involving homeless people. The objective is to decontaminate and channel water for use in irrigation canals, produce clean energy, combine a variety of innovative technologies such as positive and renewable energy homes, produce quality organic food, water management and stewardship, recreational activities and waste conversion systems to produce materials for multiple purposes. The purpose of transitional housing is social inclusion, individual and group re-insertion into society through a transitional process in this system. The proposed objective for ATP encourages people to find their "reason for living" through the discovery of what "one is good at" and what it contributes to the community. Architecture of Transition and Permanence is a concrete answer to the following question:
    ¿How could the extensive development of a programmed buffer mitigate the dangerous consequences of human habitation?

Honorable Mention

Luka Stevanović – Maša Djekić – Filip Vasić – Tamara Mladenović | Serbia

Project Title: LITHENESS
Project Typology: Mixed-use

Project Description
  1. Overpopulation, resource depletion, ecosystem collapse: after due consideration, from a planet that is at breaking point, the ultimate unexplored horizon, the only untouched frontier seems outer space.

    Space is a mysterious and mysteriously violent place. It is a place of abyssal distances and magnitudes such as to go beyond the most refined comprehension. Space is the place where human science still falters getting excited at the slightest step forward in the knowledge of a void as ancient as time full of mysteries and concealed secrets.

    In that dark and unknown abyss, the safest shelter, the closest haven is inevitably the Moon.

    After finding the first water samples back in 2008, the moon became eligible for further architectural research. Thanks to modern technologies we can now finally create base which can resist cosmic radiation and extreme moon conditions.

    Humans are expected to walk on the moon again by 2025. After that, the Moon will become the most important scientific base of humankind. In all likelihood, the most significant scientific discoveries of the coming decades will be made there.

    Goal was utilising function and volume of space station into one clear and comprehensive stroke. In order to make endurable architecture resistant to cosmic radiation and large temperature differences between lunar day (127c) and night (-173c) which each last 29,7 regular earth days, we designed moon base made of 3d printed structure, planned to develop in three key phases, which use lunarcrete (mixed regolith – moon soil and moon water) as fillament for printing volumes. Any other material from planet earth would either be annihilated or costs of the transport would be irrational.

    With two landing pits and one infrastructural stroke, the movement of astronauts is headed to lacus mortis pit, all the way throughout spiral slope overcome to the depth of meteor-strike created cave.

    Cave would establish the most benefitial build conditions protective-wise, so the phases of execution could be accomplished.

    Phase 1 

    The astronauts would be accommodated in a common hall – a flexibile space that could serve as both bedrooms, eating, and socializing area. An infirmary, rover hub, control room, and a lab are all necessary right away for the further expansion of the station. The building shell would protect everything from radiation and dust.

    Phase 2

     The astronauts would build sleeping areas for both staff and guests. A hydroponic and aquaponic garden would also be established, along with a gym and a “yard” area under the building shell. This area would serve as a sort of sheltered outside area, only accessible while wearing suits

    Phase 3 

    Which has indefinite duration, there are plans to provide enough space for adding modules for any necessary function. There can be an expansion of accommodation for staff and guests, laboratories, and workshops. Additionaly, it is planned to add an observatory as an external external extension located alongside the path.