Balducci / Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces Exploring Design Possibilities in Preparing for Emergencies

Author: Beatrice Balducci, Politecnico di Milano

Supervisor: Alessandro Rocca, Professor Dr., (Polimi), AUID, DAStU, Politecnico di Milano

Research stage: intermediate doctoral stage

Category: Paper

DDR Statement

The research is structured in three main parts: a theoretical section, one of collection and analysis of case studies, and one of research by design. Whether the first two parts are conceived as prodromal sections of understanding, pre-design phases, research into the design (Roggema, 2016), in the third, the act of design itself appears as the investigative act (Schoonderbeek, 2017). Here, the aim is to discuss and explore the theoretical and analytic matrix built in the previous sections. The project is conceived as an open questionnaire, where a series of interrogations are investigated by design. Thus, the aim is not to develop a single architectural outcome per se but rather a set of experimental hypotheses, which may be alternative and even contradictory, raising questions and introducing inputs: as in dealing with ‘wicked problems’ (Churchman, 1967; Rittel and Webber 1973; Roggema 2016) that have no final solutions as well as no single accepted formulations. The three sections are not conceived as linearly subsequent but fluidly interrelated: the project illuminates issues that will inform the theoretical parts and the collection of case studies and vice-versa.

In each section of the work, the disciplinary tools – writing, drawing, and modeling – are instruments of investigation but are also investigated in their own. Whether the first section is developed mainly through writing, in the second one, the drawing allows to analyze the case studies by speculating on their behaviors in relation to different times and possible futures. Instead, the third section uses the model as the primary research tool, on the one hand, because it offers a plasticity that lends to investigate multiple configurations of the space in time; on the other hand, because it allows a work of synthesis of different information. Therefore, the entire work fluidly moves on two tracks: on the one hand, it explores the contents; on the other, the disciplinary tools, in a crescendo that goes from writing to modeling, responding to the increasing complexity of knowledge and reasonings.