Alessandro Porotto: Spatial Intelligence / Collective Housing Design

A seminar with Alessandro Porotto (TU Delft/ KU Leuven) organised by the Architectural Association’s PhD programme, on Wednesday, May 25, at 6 pm UK time on Zoom
This talk explores the Interwar collective housing projects developed in Vienna and Frankfurt. Hof et Siedlung constitute two alternative typo-morphological models, each of them refers to a specific way of envisioning the city and domestic space. Vienna and Frankfurt are, hence, opposite phenomena, but complementary, as much for approaches as for results, from an architectural and planning point of view. These “extreme polarities” allow to go thoroughly into the understanding of the collective housing experiences, which played a crucial role in the European history.
By means of critical redrawings and original documents, a selection of case studies are compared at three main scales: urban planning, urban layout, and dwelling typology. A brand-new interpretation and tools for architectural design convey the wealth and inventiveness of these collective housing projects.
The goal is to infer the fundamental relationships between urban morphology and housing types that are still today meaningful for housing design. Thus, this talk examines the Viennese and Frankfurt accomplishments as urban organisms, which fully-fledged belong to the contemporary city. Thanks to the design ideas at their foundation, these Interwar projects identify trends and food for thought regarding new projects for collective housing.
Alessandro Porotto is postdoctoral fellow at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands and Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. His research interests focus on the typological evolution as well as new forms of urban housing and hybrid urban blocks in several cities. He holds his PhD from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland (2018). His dissertation investigated the Interwar housing accomplishments in Vienna and Frankfurt through a comparative perspective and methodology. In the Spring 2020 semester, he was visiting researcher at the Emory University, USA to study the first public housing initiatives realized in America. He is the author of the book L’intelligence des formes: Le projet de logements collectifs à Vienne et Francfort (MētisPresses, 2019). A new book entitled Brussels Housing Typologies is planned for 2023 by Birkhäuser.