Archives for category: temporary nest


Innovation in building material and design practice has transformed architecture. One of my favorites are the liminal spaces designed and initiated by Philip Beesley ( in which the human presence performs a participatory role in creating the space, building with a new kind of material and method. Farm houses on the other hand remain very traditional, but much of the old building material is very strong and can be recycled/re-used, which is in fact very NOW



The roof is replaced, and now I organize and order all the -centuries’ old- terra cotta roof tiles. They are beautiful, but will not be replaced on the roof, probably be sold. Then there is all the salvaged wood. An ancient building material that can be used in many different ways: light and heavy, traditional and avant-garde. I love the tree and the wood.



For some inspiration on the use of wood in architecture:



The connection between interior (architecture) and exterior (landscape) is something that is central in my own work, understanding differences in spatial experience and design in different cultures, and builds on the work of Tadahiko Higuchi, a researcher/spatial scientist –also- from Japan, He published a book on visual and spatial experience of the landscape in 1983, but more than that, his research also provides insight in the different role that architecture plays in Japan in this dynamic relationship, where the walls are not meant to exclude the outside.


I am on a hill. The hill is steep. At first I thought it was like any hill, but running around I noticed that this hill is a bit lower than, and protected by the surrounding hills, creating an interesting microclimate. The farmhouse is typical in the region, with thick stone walls and relatively small windows. From inside it is difficult to maintain the (visual) connection with the surrounding landscape. Luckily, I am outside large part of the day, and I am reminded of the stories of Shono and lessons of Higuchi.



Now a national monument, the Fortress, with its curvilinear walls, and almost round shape represents an ‘architecture of transition’, was created for a new form of warfare using bombards. The fort became also known through rescue operation during WWII, saving about 10.000 artworks from the Marche region, Rome, Venice, and Milan, from the hands of the enemy.

While walking around we noticed the –material– remnants of the procession related to the celebration of San Giovanni that had taken place earlier that day, catholic symbols on the street surface, created with thousands of flower petals, a tradition known as infiorate.


I was reminded of the beautiful Kolam designs in Southern India and was curious of any of these ephemeral paintings were enlisted on the UNESCO intangible heritage list. It appears that the Kolam tradition was proposed, but not selected in 2011.

This year, a UNESCO “proposal for the declaration of ephemeral art carpets as “Intangible Cultural Heritage” is presented at the V Congresso Internazionale delle Arti Effimere, on June 26-29, in Rome. Here, the events aim to revive the ancient tradition of floral decoration on the feast day of the patron saints of Rome.





MORRA (rural cultural heritage)


What I like about rural living is not only the natural sensory experiences but also the cultural aspects. The correlation between linguistic/cultural- and biodiversity has been recognized for a while, but most people seek cultural experiences in cities. Although metropolitan areas are culturally happening places, the urban is increasingly globalized and homogenized, where people flock to familiar feeling venues and star architects create buildings that often express more about their individual style than the uniqueness of the urban environment.

(see for instance: The Intersections of Biological Diversity and Cultural Diversity: Toward Integration, Pretty, 2009, open access article on

Now in case of the new science museum in Trento the architect can be considered a local (Genoa). Renzo Piano’s building is a wonderful space for the educational science exhibition focused in large on the Alpine region.

BUT, as you may remember during the same weekend I visited Trenro I also went to the Mocheni goat festival. This was not only a showcasing for the typical goats of the region, but also a social event. Two different languages spoken at least and local dialect, it is already a MULTICULTURAL event. Most interesting was the game of Morra, a kind of cognitive game that becomes more vocal with the increasing intake of alcoholic beverage. The game has four players, two on each side of the table. I don’t know the specific rules but it goes something like this: first the players diagonally play and then the players facing each other. The players slam their forearm on the table holding a specific number of fingers out. At the same time the two players shout the estimated total of the two. Whoever shouts the right total number scores a point, while they keep track of the score mentally.