International Competition Project
Europan 10
Dessau (DE)
The 4th ecology is a programmatic strategy for the city of Dessau, developed inside the three existing ecologies and proposing a pragmatic alternative to the complete replacement of the abandoned urban clusters. It proposes punctual reforms for core and border areas by adopting parasites, incision and infilling operation. It intensifies the spatial relation between the streets, the buildings and the internal courts.

Team: Arch. Andrea De Matteis, Arch. Federico Zanfi
Collaborators: Arch. Francesco Pergetti, Arch. Francesca Vargiu’, Eng. Filippo Losi, Arch. Francesca Maria Tatarella



Our proposal is both about qualifying/consolidating existing spaces and growing new collective epicentres by introducing a colonizing process – an architectural parasite – able to develop on buildings and open areas.

This colonization spreads over the city within a mid-term future, following an incremental and non-hierarchical logic. The parasites multitude establishes new relations between the core areas – progressively consolidated – and the various emerging landscapes – generated by processes of abandon and decay.

- View of the new services block


Urbanity is not a product, but a process. It is no more possible to “produce” in a deterministic way the spaces and the conditions for an auspicated restoration of the public domain, by using the reassuring set of physical shapes that the European city tradition has transmitted to us. By the way, we can try to induce partial transformations of the existing urban materials by adopting pragmatic and punctual interventions, by imagining new relations between the existing objects and by proposing renewed coexistence assets.

- View of the Nee Neumarkt


Site Surface: 44.600 sqm
Total drainage basin area: 17.600 sqm
Impermeable surface: 6.250 sqm
Rain garden filtering surface: 1.400 sqm




















- Site views

The city of Dessau is “an architecture of three ecologies”. The tabula rasa of the II World War urged for a total reconstruction, which often confirmed the layout of the 19th century city, placing monotonous residential slabs in form of blocks, separated by broad asphalt strips designed for the mobility flows. More recently, the environmental planning hedged in large portions of natural land – which extend really close and even inside the compact city centre – to protect their ecosystems.

These three ecologies are the outcomes of sector-based rationalities, which have implied their reciprocal relations, as well as the presence of a connective public domain between them. In the meantime, production crisis and inhabitant decrease – which deeply interest Dessau since the Nineties – accentuated the defective relations between these ecologies and generated abandoned buildings and brown fields. This, together with the mushrooming of a spontaneous nature, which finds room within the decay processes, and which urges to design new urban relational frameworks.

- General colonization map


Strategic items

The colonizing process acts through three different devices, which are tightly interweaved in each proposed spatial solution.

Active borders


Architectural parasites transform the stiff plattenbau profile, intensifying the spatial relations between the streets, the buildings and the internal courts. Parasites take advantage of the residential vacant floors, injecting new clusters of commerce and collective services in the mono-functional residential blocks

From islands to archipelago

Blocks physical boundaries are consolidated and reconstructed where needed. Meanwhile, the rhyzomatic jetties cut these boundaries in strategic points and weave a neighborhood network between the dense cores of the residential islands. These cores are further intensified by small atelier houses which will host professionals, craftsmen and artists.

From the flow segregation to the promiscuous space

A crossing system of pedestrian bands re-designs the mobility hierarchy along Kavalierstraße. This new ground pattern increases free and safe pedestrian flowing, and consequently generates new opportunities for social life.

- Masterplan


The five episodes

The proposal develops five main episodes disposed along the main axis of Kavaliestraße. They are different in shapes and volumes. They are linked through horizontal relations, which can be realized even in an extended time perspective, with no hierarchical sequence.

They act in the same catalytic way towards the existing city, giving specific answers according to particular conditions. They provide a heterogeneous program – commerce, services, offices, as well as new forms of residential clusters – adding functional mixing and partially modifying the urban context in which they are inserted.

If it’s obvious that the complete realization of all the parts would generate a “critical mass” able to induce more rapidly positive effects on the area, it is clear that every part reproduces in a smaller scale the catalytic effect of the entire master plan and can live and work alone.

As said, this proposal has to be intended as a vision for the whole Dessau, being an exportable parasite to other core areas in the surroundings in a mid-term future.

Commercial Arc

The lower part of the project site – the so-called Museum Crossing – has been organized as a continuous system of attracting activities: it includes the former Kaufhaus Zeeck, the two existing residential buildings along Kavalierstraße with commercial floor, the recently built Dessau Centre and the Museum. A new layer of ground patterns, connecting ramps and hanging terraces, extends the public space to the street surface and to the upper levels of the residential buildings. The result is a hybrid architectural system in which new retail facilities and services       fill the vacant residential space and new connections are established between these new activities and the old ones.


New services block

The block between Wallstraße and Friedrich-Nauman-Straße has been reconstructed and consolidated in its shape. A new mixed-use building reinforces the front towards the Neues Altes Theatre and joins the former Hotel and the Gymnasium-Philantropium complex. The new building includes ground floor retail activities, offices and a residential sector with “temporary houses” for short-time city users, thus confirming the service vocation of this urban block.

As all the others residential blocks included in the Project Site, the internal court space has been reorganized: we adopted a more efficient pattern of agricultural, recreational and collective grounds, and “intensified” them with small atelier-houses for young professionals, craftsmen and artists.

New Zeeck

 A new system of horizontal and vertical connections erodes the original volume of the former Kaufhaus Zeeck, turning it in to the central joint between City Park and Kavalierstraße. The sequence of ramps and terraces offers a new spatial experience and allows for an innovative functioning of the building, based on retail, services and offices. New Zeeck floors are directly connected with the others upper levels of the “Commercial Arc” and permit multiple walking paths.






Sustainable Mobility Interchange


A new building crosses the Kavalierstraße and solves the junction between mobility flows, the Intercultural park of Generations border and the Rathaus Centre entrance. A floating roof joins an Espresso Bar, the Public Transportation Office/Information Point, and a temporary exhibition space. At the same time it connects the Central tram and bus stop with pedestrian walkways and a parking hub for bicycles.



The suggested hypothesis of recreating the historical Neumarkt in the upper part of the project site has been converted in a different idea of public space, embedded with retail and handicraft: the New-Neumarkt. The triangular green interstice next to the Johanneskirche turns in to a small commercial square for seasonal markets. The building situated in Kurze Gasse 2-10 – which belongs to a wider architectural complex extending up to Zerbster Straße – converts in to a multi-storey covered market, including retail spaces, workshops and small warehouses. The two epicentres are connected by a market platform witch jumps over Kavalierstraße and permits multiple shopping walkways.

Moreover, 4-storey residential buildings, with workshops basements, have completed the block between Kurze Gasse and Nante Gasse.


The technical ground

The new public space system works as an environmental machine. It is supported by a technical ground tightly embedded with the open space design and the pedestrian paths.

Vibes harvesting system

A power system made by technical strips follows the main pedestrian axis. The strips utilize piezoelectric effect to convert mechanical strain – coming from the vibes of the people walking above – into electrical current or voltage. The generated energy is used to power LED streetlights, helping the new public space system to be self-sufficient.

Rain harvesting system

The new pavements – ground and terraces ones – have been designed as sloping surfaces, to collect meteoric waters in to the small green areas included in the public space system. These “rain gardens” absorb water and let it drain directly to the subsoil, growing adequate vegetation species.

In this perspective the new ground design alleviates from seasonal peaks the actual rain-collecting network and provides some energy saving due to the minor functioning of the urban wastewater treatment system.

Further developments of this system could extend it to building roof, as collecting surfaces to irrigate community gardens in the internal courts of the blocks.



International Competition Project
YAC – Young Architects Competitions
Roccascalegna, Chieti (IT)
The project for an Observatory House for tourists on the hillside of Roccascalegna, focuses on the potential of a new interior landscape and a gorgeous experience of observing the sky. A series of monoliths appears on the side of the hill, as ancestral symbols of connection with the cosmos. The spaces of the houses are all buried into the ground; the vertical volume of the monolith appears on top as an alien object landed on the hill.



Competition Project
Paderno Dugnano, Milano (IT)
Il progetto propone una nuova urbanità rurale nell’area ex-Breter. Viene proposto un nuovo modello insediativo di case basse, dense e minute, aggregate a isole, che gravitano attorno ad uno spazio aperto pubblico completamente permeabile e orientato alla produzione agricola. Oggetto di interesse è un nuovo equilibrio tra urbanità e ruralità, una nuova ecologia urbana.



International Seminar
Politecnico di Milano
Milano (IT)
The Meetings are born for the Urban Design Course in the Master of Science in Urban Planning and Policy Design at the Politecnico di Milano - School of Architecture and Society, and organized by Andrea De Matteis. In the Meetings are collected: Case Studies, Lectures, Forums, Focus, Workshops.
In this appointment the office Arup with the architect Stefano Recalcati will give a LECTURE about “Sustainable masterplanning in the new emerging countries”.


International Competition Project
Europan 12
Nürnberg (DE)
The replacement of a former closed housing block  with a new opened block realizes a brand new urban space for the city. The outstanding open block offers the opportunity to give to the housing building a new civic role for the entire neighborhood: the compactness and the clearness of the volume highlights its presence, while its openings and passages inside let the citizens live the ground floor and the courtyard for collective activities.



International Seminar
Politecnico di Milano
Milano (IT)
The Meetings are born for the Urban Design Course in the Master of Science in Urban Planning and Policy Design at the Politecnico di Milano - School of Architecture and Society, and organized by Andrea De Matteis. In the Meetings are collected: Case Studies, Lectures, Forums, Focus, Workshops.
In this second Meeting, Francesca Tatarella and the milanese landscape office Atelier delle Verdure will FOCUS on “The design of the open spaces in the contemporary city “.


International Seminar
Politecnico di Milano
Milano (IT)
The Meetings are born for the Urban Design Course in the Master of Science in Urban Planning and Policy Design at the Politecnico di Milano - School of Architecture and Society, and organized by Andrea De Matteis. In the Meetings are collected: Case Studies, Lectures, Forums, Focus, Workshops.
In this first Meeting on a CASE STUDY, the architect Massimo Bertolano (Erick van Egeraat former associate) will present the Milanofiori project.


Competition project
Confindustria di Bergamo
Albino, Bergamo (IT)
Oggi la riqualificazione dell’area di Albino può proporre un elemento in più. Se da una parte le logiche dello sviluppo immobiliare sono tema imprescindibile per la fattibilità economico-finanziaria di trasformazioni così ampie e complesse, come lo è del resto la riqualificazione ambientale di contesti fisici così eccezionali, dall’altra parte elemento determinante per la riqualificazione dell’area di Albino è la strategia di riuso industriale.


Competition Project
Comune di Ferrara
Ferrara (IT)
L’ampliamento della Cittadella del Commiato con l’inserimento della nuova sede obitoriale comunale permetterà di consolidare i servizi di onoranze funebri offerti ai cittadini e qualificherà uno dei recinti storici della città preservandone il carattere originario. Il Nuovo Obitorio Comunale potrà esserne il fulcro e al suo interno un nuovo recinto ne diverrà il cuore: la Camera Ardente si raccoglierà attorno ad un chiostro dove si celebrerà il commiato.



Competition Project
Comune di Cesena
Cesena (IT)
La via Emilia è oggi il tipico paesaggio urbano della strada di grande percorrenza. Riconvertire la strada ad un traffico locale offre l’opportunità di fare leva sulle condizioni di vita sociale e collettiva già presenti per ampliare all’intera sezione stradale e al suo intero sviluppo lineare quei caratteri di paesaggio urbano familiare e civico presente in numerosi episodi lungo la strada.


Competition Project
Comune di Castelleone
Castelleone, Cremona (IT)
Una casa per anziani di 8 alloggi si inserisce in un quartiere di altre comunita’ per anziani ai margini di una cittadina della pianura padana. Affacciato verso un piccolo corso d’acqua il nuovo edificio lavora sugli spazi intermedi costruendo nuove relazioni tra spazi privati e spazi collettivi e tra spazi aperti e spazi interni.




International Competition Project
Europan 11
Vienna (AT)
A new civic center will be created around a new stop of the S-Bahn railway line. A main linear building defines the central public area and a series of public passages, ramps, pathways, sport facilities, greenhouses and community gardens create a collective field of cooperation between the three different sites involved in the redevelopment.


International Competition Manifesto
Venice City Vision
Venice (IT)
Fakeness is today an highly diffused procedure to re-invent things, re-creating them better then before in new phantom images. And that is Fake Venice: a place in which some conditions never realized before are forced to develop in the city.
Fake Venice is a reflection on fakeness and the future of a city. It reflects on the “potential being”: it focuses on one of the potential Venice that have not been realized.


Competition Closing Event
Europan Europe
Neuchatel (CH)
The Forum of the 10th session of the european competition Europan took place in the University of Neuchatel. The Forum began with the Swiss Awards Ceremony: the office has been awarded of the II Prize for the project THE 4TH ECO-SYSTEM. Afterwards, some working groups have been organised around specific topics to discuss with the local administration representatives the relevance of the winning ideas.


International Competition Project
Europan 10
Nyon (CH)
Les Plantaz site presents extraordinary conditions to experiment new way of organizing the urban fabric working on the interaction between nature and the city. Ecological reasons may join urbanism. The opportunity of working with three existing ecosystems of spontaneous vegetation offers an exceptional event to improve natural environment and to foster sustainable urban development.


Competition Project
Comune di Cavriglia
Cavriglia, Arezzo (IT)
Ecoscape propone un’idea nuova di parco declinando insieme ecologia, leisure ed energia. Il tentativo è quello di immettere nel sistema dei flussi turistici che investe la Toscana un elemento nuovo, al momento estraneo e non presente nella gamma di offerta. L’obiettivo è duplice: riqualificare in chiave ecologico – naturalistica un’area di sfruttamento minerario ed immettere Cavriglia nella rete di relazioni globali legate al turismo.



International Competition Project
Europan 10
Dessau (DE)
The 4th ecology is a programmatic strategy for the city of Dessau, developed inside the three existing ecologies and proposing a pragmatic alternative to the complete replacement of the abandoned urban clusters. It proposes punctual reforms for core and border areas by adopting parasites, incision and infilling operation. It intensifies the spatial relation between the streets, the buildings and the internal courts.


Competition Project
Comune di Teramo
Teramo (IT)
Il progetto per il nuovo sistema di spazi pubblici del centro storico di Teramo si propone come un piccolo manifesto per l’incoraggiamento della vita collettiva in città. Si tratta di costruire dentro al sistema di relazioni preesistenti una serie di dispositivi fisici che incentivino la socialità e contribuiscano a rinnovare una dimensione collettiva attorno ad alcune sue condizioni rilevanti – scienza, natura, cultura.


Competition Closing Event
Europan Norway
 Oslo (NO)
In the DOGA, the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture in Oslo, it took place the Prize Ceremony of the winning projects for the norwegian sites of Europan 9. In the Ceremony the office has been awarded of the Honorable Mention for the project LAB-CITY. During the meeting we presented the project and we discussed it with the other teams and the local representatives.


International Competition Project
Europan 9
Lillestrøm (NO)
The project for a public space in the civic centre of Lillestrøm is a concrete solution to a local problem – the need for a recognizable meeting place – and, at the same time, it works as a small manifesto: the Stortorvet Square is intended as an environmental public deck populated by many dispositifs able to react with the local conditions at the environmental, economical, urban and social levels.


Competition Project
ATER Matera
Matera (IT)
Cinque nuovi piccoli edifici si inseriscono nella serie di nuovi brani edificati che nel tempo si sono realizzate sull’impianto iniziale del Borgo La Martella. Rispetto alle recenti espansioni di case a schiera il progetto propone una sequenza di piccole case unifamiliari isolate ma affiancate. Con un ritmo serrato i blocchi cercano di declinare la condizione sub-urbana del villaggio verso un’atmosfera più urbana.


Competition Project
Società Etruria Immobili srl
Grosseto (IT)
In un quartiere misto produttivo/residenziale un nuovo blocco abitativo sostituisce un capannone industriale. Il progetto propone un modello ibrido: definisce una massa compatta e una scala complessiva dell’edificio simile ai blocchi industriali ma garantisce una elevata qualità abitativa grazie ai patii e all’articolato sistema di distribuzione. Immesso in un quartiere misto il nuovo edifico cerca in sé stesso affacci e spazi collettivi di socialità.