News release - 2021

FourC Challenge 2021 | The experience of our students

Shanghai Jiao Tong School of Design  write to our School:
The 2021 FourC Challenge 24-hour Design Charrette Contest, organized by Shanghai Jiao Tong School of Design has drawn to a close after 24 hours full of excitement and creativity. 

The theme for this year has been “ReVive” - to enhance the wellbeing of humankind and the rehabilitation of a post-pandemic society. It was decided to use “Flow” as the topic, was because change may be the only unchanging truth of our world. From the flowing water, quicksand and clouds in nature, to the endless city crowd, the free-developing globalization, and the ubiquitous connection driven by digitalization, the world is all about flow. However, the world was being pressed the “pause button” due to the sudden strike of the epidemic. We are eager for an orderly opening after all these blockade and isolation, and together we welcome the world to flow and connect again.

The competition invited academics from Harvard University, Tsinghua University, Cornell University and Northwestern University to present keynote speeches, providing participants with innovative input. Nearly 300 students from 70 colleges and universities around the world registered for this year, they completed six innovative challenges in 24 hours, including in the areas of team building, problem solving, group definition, design concepts, prototype production, and video and exhibition board production. The final products were presented in short three minute videos with amazing results. Professional faculty from more than 20 colleges and universities consisted of our jury panel and mentors, provided oversight and guidance throughout the competition. They came from the Politecnico di Milano, the University of Sydney, the National University of Singapore, IE University, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Zhejiang University, Tianjin University, the Harbin Institute of Technology, Hunan University, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts and more.

After two rounds of concentrated evaluations, groups were presented with one Grand Prize, two First Prizes, three Second Prizes, and six Winning Award. Winning works have been publicly displayed both offline at Design Shanghai exhibition and on the official website and official account of Shanghai Jiao Tong School of Design at Their design involves all arounds of social life, including public transportation, pet facilities, outdoor recreation system, applications and other aspects of clothing, food, housing, and commuting.
They were conceived to provide humanized, and warm design ideas of value to both society and industry in the post-epidemic era.

The awards accorded to your institution are:  

  • Nicolò Chierichetti, graduate student from Architecture and Urban Design won the Second Prize;
  • Greta Weber, Graduate student from Building Architecture won the Winning Prize;
  • Wang Junmei, Graduate student from Architecture Design and History won the Winning Prize

This competition innovatively conducted a nearly 40-hour live broadcast on Lark and Bilibili, attracting more than 2,000 viewers during the peak period. The competition received extensive attention and positive reports from more than 70 mainstream and design professional media platforms in China and abroad.

Please kindly check these out for more:

"A multidisciplinary, intensive and crossing-boundaries experience. There is no other way to define such experience, that we were honored and excited to join as Polimi students for this second edition of the FourC Challenge - hosted by Jiao Tong Shanghai, school of design.
Despite some initial difficulties related to the 6-hours behind time zone and some English communication limits, we can now say that we are amazed to see the challenging and interesting projects and concepts we all were able to design and achieve in only 24 hours, without knowing each other and with different disciplines on the field - from Architecture and Urban Design to Product Design and Industrial Design. In a short time, we understood each other's strengths, and we were able to work as super teams, to challenge ourselves in the challenge’s topic: the post-pandemic “Flow”.
What also finds us all in agreement, is our amusement to the Asian way of thinking, reasoning and acting, which is completely different from ours: they are extremely visionary, and have no limits when it comes to projects, and as architects we could never have a more pragmatic example of how much context-sensitivity and the cultural background is relevant.
Most importantly, we had a lot of fun spending this intensive 24 hours, and not only we manage to achieve great results, but we also formed friendships and networks with our Asian colleagues.
We think that every student of Polimi should try to experience this adventure, since it has been a wonderful opportunity to test our limits and our creativity! We are all very grateful to our school for giving us the joy and excitement of participating in this event.
Can’t wait for the next edition!
Nicolò, Greta, Junmei"

Our project interprets the idea of flow in terms of mental health. Loneliness has always been an issue and it has been highlighted and exacerbated by working from home during the pandemic. As working from home is set to be the future of work, it is not difficult to fathom the isolation problem in our post pandemic world. Our project thus proposes a new system, Airhealth, which involves a fleet of drones and is tied in with our app of the same name. No longer will citizens of megacities be alienated in our ever increasingly fast paced world as Airhealth assesses your mental state and suggests an appointment with our air ambulances that whisk you away right from your window. Our ambulances provide a new and refreshing air getaway therapy, as continuous and personalized healthcare is available for anyone and at any time. They serve as a physical and metaphorical separation from the hustle and stress as they circle high above the city. You can soak in the view and put a break on your rushing thoughts as a professional therapist serves to be your listening ear in a calming and soothing environment filled with plants and soft fabric.

During the pandemic, house was the place of isolation, the headquarter of lock-down - but as the overall situation is improving we need to solve this paradigma. The introverse environment of the interior of an house gets reflected into the outer public space, with the Interior as a metaphor for the Urban landscape, in which the precedent private spaces are mirrored back into the outside world. Rooms of the house - such as the kitchen, the living room and the office - keep their character but are transformed into outdoor spaces and services to bridge the gaps and lacks that we suffered during the pandemic: a new gathering opportunity for citizens in the form of a safe environment, which can be shaped according to personal and groups' needs and that relies on a participatory design. A prototype, suitable to different contexts, which can be assembled and which is not only designed FOR people, but also BY people.
This historical moment shaped our minds, our necessities and our spaces: now it's our turn!
The flow is ready, are you?

In a post-pandemic era, transnational mobility is somehow still restricted,  as well as large-scale gathering. Among those affected events, Expo, especially business Expo and multicultural Expo are less probable to be reactivated, which results in the underuse of extra-large exposition spaces, economic recession particularly concerning small or medium-sized enterprises in international trades, and the loss of exploration opportunities for the public. The "flow", reminds us how ocean currents,  in the Age of Discovery, linked islands by sailing and bred early prosperity. To revive and rehabilitate, by embodying this metaphor, we try to redefine the existing XL spaces, using a series of modular "islands" containing the much-diversified exhibitions, while generating by apps a secure, customized, and interactive visiting journey for each individual, which is referred to be the "currents".

Three Polimi students win The Tree House architecture competition

Three Polimi students win The Tree House architecture competition | The project of a tree house that seeks a strong contact with nature
Three students of the Politecnico di Milano won the first prize at the international architecture competition The Three House, organized by D&A Publishers.

Sara Alinovi, student of Architecture - Built Environment - Interiors, Elda Arcieri, student of Building Architecture, and Lorenzo Piermarini, student of Building Architecture, with the project Framing the Nature, explored the tree house theme highlighting its childlike appeal, recreating a childlike atmosphere and looking for a strong relationship with the natural element.

The tree house takes its shape through the encounter of three modules that appear as the essentiality of the archetypal form of the mountain dwelling and that acquire complexity in the relationship between them. Each module has specific functions designed for a temporary stay in search of contact with nature. Small and large windows frame the natural context from different points of view, allowing you to admire now the dense forest, now the starry sky.

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2021 WorldLandscapeArchitect Student Awards

The AUIC School and the Course Coordinator in Landscape Architecture. Land Landscape Heritage (LLH) Prof. Antonio Longo are proud to announce that the 2021 WorldLandscapeArchitect Student Awards have awarded two major prizes to two projects by our first cycle graduates.
2021 WLASA Announcement | A success of the students is a success of the School and the Course Landscape Architecture. Land Landscape Heritage.
Sara Ingignoli, followed by Miriam Garcia and Eleonora Santoro followed by Hope Strode and Michael Jakob.
Thanks to Sara Ingignoli and Eleonora Santoro, who have trusted the Course in Landscape Architecture project. Land Landscape Heritage and to the professors who have guided you.

Eleonora Santoro
The Ignite Woods project has a double soul: on the one hand it wants to bring attention to the issue of the increase in forest fires close to urban centres in relation to climate change; on the other hand, it wants to feed several “cultural bonfires” hidden among the woods born from the abandonment of agricultural practices.
In Italy one of the areas most affected by the process of abandonment is that of the Po River Basin, where there are predominantly wooded areas on the mountains while the plain is mainly occupied by intensive agricultural practices. Where the two areas meet, a fragmented transition zone with urban areas is formed. Before most of these territories were dedicated to agriculture and nowadays we can see the results of a race for the reconquest of land by forests and urban areas, uncontrolled and unplanned process that has generated situations where cities have surrounded wooded areas.
As a result of climate change, cities will soon experience rising temperatures and prolonged periods of drought. Regions that initially did not have to worry about wildfires are now experiencing frequent fire activity. In Piedmont -Italy – the fire alert covers the period from the 1st of November till the 31st of March. The maximum alert status, instead, in 2020 has been postponed by almost one month more than the ordinary period of danger. This postponement is likely to be increasingly prolonged in the coming years, making forests more vulnerable.
But which forests are we talking about? There are many facets to it, but we are used to thinking that woodland equals pure Nature only, forgetting that they were our homes when we still lived in their crown and moved along the highways of branches. They were and are a source of different resources and now they are also seen as sanctuaries for the soul. Within a forest there is much more humanity than we may think.
The goal of the project is to mitigate the future risk of fires in the Sizzone Valley – Piedmont, Italy – and to enhance and reactivate an area with many values, from ecological to productive and touristic values. To achieve this, landscape adaptation tools have been used: starting with agroforestry practices, which allow erosion reduction, to protect crops, to improve water quality and diversify farm enterprises; introducing ecological spots, which increase the biodiversity of the site and the food available for wildlife; reclaiming former agricultural canals as rainwater harvesting to irrigate, mitigate drought and facilitate mobility within the woods when not in use.
To verify the effectiveness of the tools introduced, two fire risk prediction maps – GIS-based – were produced with and without mitigation tools. Comparing them, wildfire danger decreases on average throughout the valley with the introduction of the project.
In seventy years so, we will see our woods ignited or we will ignite our woods?

Sara Ingignoli 
Formes de Mar. Deltas are one of the most threatened landscapes nowadays, they are spaces of transition that water forces draw over time and where the habitats that comprise them live in a continuous state of tension and change. In addition to the current challenges and transformations that these landscapes are already called to face, climate change is posing further challenges that will deeply influence the configuration of these spaces.
The project focuses on the threshold between land and sea, the main stage where transitions take place, the space of confluence of marine and terrestrial habitats and the one that will be in front place fighting climate change and the main pressures coming from both extents: sea and land.
In the Llobregat delta, the wide shallow plain forged by the Llobregat river on the West side of Barcelona, the interaction between different landscapes materializes in a great diversity of aquatic environments in a relatively small space: lagoons, ponds, wetlands, canals and marshes. How can we preserve the uniqueness linked to each of these water landscapes considering the inevitable shift that they will face as a consequence of climate change, and more in particular, of sea level rise?
The aim of the project is to envision new configurations and future scenarios of water landscapes taking advantage from the rising sea to draw new opportunities and configure a morphological and psychological variability that enables a continuously changing experience of the coast. The horizon of the project is set beyond what is usually conceived as the imaginary line of the sea, thus considering also the marine medium and engaging a comprehensive design in which sea and land come together creating new situations of transition that empowers both environments and provide protection for the future. As the sea will rise, it will trigger new coexistences unfolding in time, in which water becomes again the structuring element of this landscape, answering to the risk of simplification of ecosystems with a diversification of opportunities. How can we design the ‘meeting’ of sea and land?
The delta’s coast has the opportunity to become the future metropolitan maritime park of Barcelona, addressing land fragmentation, coastal vulnerability towards climate change, public awareness and biodiversity issues through a unique vision. As time passes, current landmarks of the area will turn into ‘water hubs’: water-based recreational, didactical, research and productive hotspots that will lead to a strong matrix of interconnected experiences where to follow the new shape that the sea assumes when clashing with land.

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PoliMappers in Bogotá for humanitarian mapping

IMM DesignLab experiments a voluntary mapping model replicable in other territorial contexts.

An original mapathon experience was held on 26 March, a collaborative and humanitarian event with the aim of mapping of informal settlements in Bogotá, in Colombia.

It was all part of the master’s thesis by Maria Alejandra Rojas Bolanos and Silvia Raviscioni, two civil engineering students at Politecnico di Milano who are carrying out their research at IMM DesignLab, under the supervision of Professor Massimo Tadi.

This investigation into the redevelopment of these shanty towns had the ambitious goal of proposing a solution to a worldwide phenomenon that affects many cities globally, namely the proliferation of illegal residential settlements due to rapid urbanisation.

The time and resources required to map areas for study purposes, however, are often disproportionate to the results obtained.

The idea therefore was to set up collaboration with the PoliMappers, a group of volunteer students from the Politecnico, part of the international network YouthMappers as first European local chapter, who aims to form a new generation of mappers, promoting in their activity the culture of free and open-source software. This collaboration proved to be extremely worthwhile.

In this way, after a crucial first phase of data collection in the field with the application of Mapillary by the NGO Techo, the group, with the coordination of Chiara Ponti and Federica Gaspari – respectively president and faculty advisor of PoliMappers – and with the support of the Colombian local chapter YouthMappers Semillero Geolab UdeA, organized an online mapping event in OpenStreetMap environment that involved 70 people from the Politecnico and beyond.

The meeting on 26 March was also part of the innovative "Collaborative and Humanitarian Mapping" course, from the Passion in Action catalogue, which is supported by the MSc in Geoinformatics Engineering and coordinated by Professor Maria Antonia Brovelli. It was attended by 61 students of the Politecnico di Milano.

The excellent result achieved means this experience is now a pilot project for voluntary mapping that can be replicated in other sectors where the Politecnico is conducting research into territories, such as Dakar, Maputo and Quelimane.

The first Italian course in “Architecture for Human Space Exploration” at Politecnico di Milano has been brought to an optimum end

The first Italian course in “Architecture for Human Space Exploration” at Politecnico di Milano has been brought to an optimum end with an high degree of exams’ results. The course, in English and with an elevated internationalization level, has been chosen by 91 students coming from both from bachelor and master careers.  

The lecturer, Valentina Sumini, Visiting Professor at Politecnico di Milano and Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab, carried the students through a dense interdisciplinary path, with the support of several international experts of the aerospace sector, concluding with the realization of impressive projects as testified by the pictures. 

In the framework of human space exploration and human-computer interaction, Valentina Sumini is among the organizers of the SpaceCHI2021 Workshop, (, promoted by MIT Media Lab, Politecnico di Milano, NASA, TU Wien, San Jose State University and University College London, and focused on Space Human Computer Interaction within the conference Computer Human Interaction, CHI 2021. 

At the coming Biennale di Venezia 2021, two projects to which Valentina Sumini collaborated will be exhibited. 



AUIC Students Honorable Mentions Competition

Sanad Wir, a graduate from our School, is recently entered a competition (Pavilion Of Humanity Held By Bee Breeders) with two other colleagues from  the University (Diogo Ferreira, And Juan Jaramillo Londoño).
They ended up receiving Honorable Mentions for their work.
They have mentioned to them that they were Students at Politecnico di Milano and they wanted to let us know as they consider this a win for both them and the University!

Thank you!

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