5th ISUFitaly International Conference | Rome, 19-22 February 2020


Palazzo Mattei di Giove. via Michelangelo Caetani, 32,  Roma

The fifth Isufitaly Conference will focus on the notion of the substratum in its various aspects. The typological one, as a set of rules inherited from the built landscape that allow reading and conscious transformation. The physical aspect of the archaeological layer, which in many ancient cities has determined the shape of the current settlements. The intangible aspect of the heritage of projects, experiences, and researches that constitute the working legacy on which current research can be based.

The notion of the substratum is, therefore, more than a specific issue, a way of seeing the built reality useful to the contemporary project. Furthermore, the other theme, which is complementary to the first, is that of urban regeneration. It is a topic extensively investigated by urban research which, in this context, could be reconsidered in a different and new way.

In continuity with the previous Isufitaly meetings, the theme of the conference proposes a debate on the topics of the urban form transformation at different scales, in the light of our cultural heritage understood as a design tool.

The conference will take place at Palazzo Mattei di Giove, built on the ancient remains of the Teatrum Balbi, in one of the Rome areas where the relationship between the present city and the ancient substratum is more evident, even in its contradictions (the Porticus Octaviae, the Teatrum Marcelli, the archaeological area of Largo Argentina).


Giuseppe Strappa (Sapienza, University of Rome); Paolo Carlotti (Sapienza, University of Rome); Matteo Ieva (Polytechnic University of Bari).


Michael Barke; Carlo Bianchini; Alessandro Camiz; Renato Capozzi; Alessandra Capuano; Paolo Carlotti; Orazio Carpenzano; Giancarlo Cataldi; Carlos Coelho; Vicente Colomer; Anna Irene Del Monaco; Wowo Ding; Francois Dufaux; Daniela Esposito; Loredana Ficarelli; Luigi Franciosini; Pierre Gauthier; Małgorzata Hanzl; Matteo Ieva; Hidenobu Jinnai; Anna Agata Kantarek; Nadia Karalambous; Kayvan Karimi; Aise Sema Kubat; Irina Kukina; Pierre Larochelle; Teresa Marat Mendes; Marco Maretto; Nicola Marzot; Carlo Moccia; Wendy McClure; Gianpiero Moretti; Giulia Annalinda Neglia; Hans Neis; Dina Nencini; Vitor Oliveira; Attilio Petruccioli; Carlo Quintelli; Ivor Samuels; Giuseppe Strappa; Fabrizio Toppetti; Tolga Ünlü; Anne Vernez Moudon; Federica Visconti; Jeremy Whitehand; Michele Zampilli.


Anna Rita Amato; Antonio Camporeale; Nicola Scardigno.


Anna Rita Amato; Francesca Delia De Rosa; Alessandra Pusceddu.

The elementary part of the city

Renato Capozzi – The elementary part of the city

 CLICK HERE    La parte elementare della città_REV




ABSTRACT – The paper reflects on some methodological and operational experiences carried out in the last century and also on the notion of “elementary part” as a method of construction of the residence in the contemporary city in relationship to the nature. The discourse, moving from the Enlightenment’s antecedents as the Squares and Crescents or through the analysis of some projects by the masters of the Modern Movement – also as a critical review of some of his initial assumptions – tries to classify the practice of construction of the city that renounces to the compact city system made by urban blocks, streets, squares and gardens and offers complex neighbour units with large extension and services and free portions of natural soil inside. This hypothesis, that opposing the nineteenth century city, is manifested in projects and constructions that significantly recover the principles of the classical city in a renewed relationship with nature / landscape and with the dialectics between residence and civil centres. An idea of “open and polycentric” city able to contrast the spread of the nebulized city, but without proposing a mere densification but identifying certain repeatable units able to absorb the fragments of the sprawl of the contemporary post-metropolis. Furthermore, this hypothesis can be applied also in some areas of the consolidated city to reintroduce, in its core, selected portions of nature.
The proposed classification is divided into the following sections:
– The classical cities as polycentric city;
– The compact city as unique or whole artifact;
– The city of the Enlightenment: from the square to the courtyard blocks;
– The city of the Modern Movement: utopias, principles and methods;
– The new dimension: quartal, quadras, urban sectors;
– Examples by the masters: Le Corbusier/Hilberseimer/Mies/May;
– The neighbourhood as a self-sufficient part: Libera/Cosenza;
– The idea of the city as set of defined parts: Rossi/Aymonino;
– The idea of polycentric city and elementary part: Monestiroli;
– Development prospects in the periphery and in the consolidated city: Bisogni.
The suggestion structure is defined by investigation of the logical urban composition and by paradigmatic examples taken as reference.       CLICK HERE    La parte elementare della città_REV

Architectural knotting

Architectural knotting

Giuseppe Strappa








Duilio Cambellotti,  L’inizio (The beginning).

The awareness of being able to use primary and universal characters in new architectural organisms, built with innovative techniques, responding to new needs and aesthetic values, constitutes the essence of the transition of European architecture to modernity. Buildings constructed according to these principles represent the vast majority of the renewal of cities in the first forty years of the XXI century. The modern movement experiments, even if useful to explore new ways, are, in fact, a minor and not fundamental part in the real urban transformations, above all in the areas of more rooted masonry-plastic culture.
This explains. for example, how it was possible such an evident continuity in the development of architecture in Italy in the interwar period, even in political conditions inducing a rhetorical interpretation of the historical heritage.
These are durable building organisms, using architectural layouts that are still vital precisely because they have not conformed, over time, to a specific function. They are “generic” organisms in the etymological sense of the term, capable of generating whole families of multiple, new architectures.
Many modern buildings (such as universities, schools, postal buildings) tend in different ways, in continuity with historical processes, to form a society of solidary spaces linked by a common purpose and a common rule. This rule is indirectly derived from the transformation of fabrics, through the permanence of typical structures such as convents or palaces. The beginning of this modern process can be clearly identified in the “urban necessity” of linking the building to the external paths, tightening it, at the same time, around an open space that tends to become the true nucleus of the forming process.

Click here to continue reading       cap 3 pdf KNOTTING



Giuseppe Strappa

5c – The genesis of the Roman palace, one of the most fruitful events in the entire history of European architecture, indicates a different path to the formation of modern architectural organisms. A phenomenon that can be read clearly in its manifestation as the becoming of the manifold to form unity. As for the Venetian palace, the process that is at the origin of its particular character is not due to the contribution of a small group of architects, but constitutes the collective, living result of the transformations operating in the fabric. It comes to light from successive mutations of the housing aggregates of medieval origin and from the permanence of that ancient substratum which, in Rome, has always constituted an inexhaustible source of renewal.

Its formation process began with the recast, in the 14th-16th century, of simple single-family dwellings to satisfy the need of building new large-scale residences for the emerging political and economical classes.

In the context of an already densely built city, the only one possibility was the progressive acquisition of fabric units, linking them together through a common private, inner path.

Thus, around the central space of the courtyard that brings together the original pertinent areas, a sort of “reversed” fabric is formed, a small introverted city that takes its characters from the external city. The transition from aggregate to building is expressed by unifying the external facades into a single wall merging the single buildings in a common rhythm of openings. The process also establishes a hierarchy between the different parts: ………………..

read chapter       5. new cap. 5