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University of Belgrade-Faculty of Architecture
Bulevar kralja Aleksandra 73/II,11120 Belgrade, RS
Contact Project Leader
Vladan Djokić

Student Workshop 1: Sustainable Reconstruction in Urban Areas

The workshop will provide opportunity for students to get actively involved in the city reconstruction while gaining new perspective and attitude towards cultural heritage and sustainability. The site selected for the Workshop is Valmarana-Salvi Gardens in Vicenza. Currently, the site is configured as a fragmented space, excluded from contemporary urban life. Abandoned sites are a relevant case study for rethinking within the scope of sustainable reconstruction in urban areas.

Phase 1: 18th – 19th November (online)

Students will attend the online presentation of the workshop activities and the five lectures on sustainable reconstruction in urban areas.

Phase 2: 22nd – 26th November (on site)

Intensive workshop comprised of site visit in Vicenza and group work with tutors on site. 

Phase 3: 1st and 9th December (online) + 15th December 2021 (virtual exhibition)

Two sessions for discussion with critics and finalization of student projects. 

APPLY deadline for applications: 25 October
Case Study


The City of Vicenza is an ancient city in the foothills of the Veneto Region.

Its geographical position in the alluvial corridor between the Berici and Lessinimountains and the plain is an important historical crossroads between Lombardy and eastern Veneto.

The first evidence of this urban centre goes back to the Roman castrum's foundation in the II century. B.C.

Romans organized the city centre on a quadrangular plan of 500 x 600 meters. Today we recognize the Decumano Maximus, now Corso Palladio, the Cardo Maximus, probably Corso Fogazzaro. The early medieval city has transformed the Roman geometries by redesigning the limit in less rigid forms, nearly as a circle, following the natural and geomorphological limits of the territory and partially leaning on the Bacchiglione river. The forma urbis included green areas close to the walls that penetrated towards the Ponte degli Angeli and the large fenced area of ​​Campo Marzo.

The urban asset of Vicenza Historical Centre is made up of a wide variety of urban elements and, since its origins, it has had a close relationship with the green system and the geomorphological system (such as the waterways and the surrounding hills).

Vicenza rose and prospered during the Venetian period from the beginning of the 15th century until the 18th century. During the 15th Century Andrea Palladio and his pupils, as Vincenzo Scamozzi, worked in the city and changed its appearance. The palazzi, or townhouses, were fitted into the urban asset of the medieval city, creating picturesque ensembles and continuous street facades in which the Veneto Gothic style combines with Palladio's articulated classicism.

The major urban transformations took place from the XIX century when road transport began. In this period, the railway and the areas of Campo Marzo and Parco Querini were built.

The bomb attacks of the Second World War (1943-45) hit the city hard, destroying numerous valuable and cultural buildings. After the war, starting from the 1950s, strong economic and industrial development made it one of the richest cities in Italy: many public buildings were rebuilt, a lot constructed ex-novo and the new residential neighbourhoods saturated the voids.

Urban transformations have brought a substantial change in the definition of green spaces, with the new buildings and the city expansion. In the historic city centre of Vicenza, only the sixteenth-century Valmarana-Salvi Gardensmaintained their identity unchanged. In 1946, the Trade Fair was inaugurated in the new pavilions of the Vicenza Fair in Valmarana-Salvi Gardens. In the 70s, the new West Industrial Zone began to take shape with the new headquarters of the Fair. Vicenza became the world capital for gold processing and the third Italian province for exports.


Unesco Serial Site

The city of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas in Veneto are part of a Unesco Serial Site that includes the city of Vicenza and twenty-four Palladian villas. Since 1994 the city of Vicenza, twenty-three buildings attributed to Palladio and three extra-moenia villas has been inscribed in the World Heritage List. From 1996 twenty-one villas located in different Veneto provinces have been registered to the same Unesco Serial Site.


Valmarana-Salvi Gardens

Valmarana-Salvi Gardens were opened to the public starting from 1592, and in 1645, Gianluigi Valmarana asked for a glorious entrance, no longer existing, in front of the previous Revese Bruti arch. This transformation connected the area to Campo Marzo and made this site part of an urban promenade that linked the city to the territory.

Valmarana-Salvi Gardens are the result of many transformations during the time. Modifications and the position next to the historical centre have always been considered a critical value of this site.

In 1897 the neighbouring wall was replaced by a wrought iron gate, visually connecting the garden with the outside and the nearby Campo Marzo.

The strategic location of Valmarana-Salvi Gardens, located near one of the oldest entrances in the city (Porta Castello) and directly accessible from the train station, favoured transformations during the 19th and 20th centuries. The gardens were the site of significant cultural events during this period. Among all, we can mention the Veneto Regional Exhibition of Decorative Art and the Trade Fair. Between the two loggias, it is possible to find two pavilions designed by Sergio Ortolani. From 1947, these buildings hosted the Trade Fair of Vicenza and have undergone many transformations that incorporated the ancient medieval walls into the modern buildings.

Due to the industrial and manufacturing development of the city and the territory over the years, Valmarana-Salvi Gardens spaces became inadequate. Between 1964 and 1971, instead of hosting the Trade Fair, the Garden pavilions started to host small temporary exhibitions. Later on, the pavilions were transformed until the mid-1980s into a Cinema, then the house of an athletics gym, and since 1994 of a dance society.

Between 2008 and 2011, part of the building was used by the Department of Business Administration of the University of Verona. The Giusti school was closed in 2010, and the Giardini Valmarana-Salvi Gardens pavilions are now used for social and cultural activities.

Currently, the garden spaces are open to the community, but the abandonment of the site and the conservation status of the buildings prevent fair usage.


*revised text from master’s degree research thesis: “Fiera della nostra storia. Restauro, valorizzazione, creatività. Un nuovo centro espositivo per l’ex Fiera Campionaria di Vicenza” 2016-2017 a.y. by Margherita Possamai, Sofia Zanotto. Relator: prof. Emanuela Sorbo

Themes and Goals

Collective perception of urban spaces through time and memory.

The Valmarana gardens, as a place of "delight", returned to the city

Keywords: Cultural and Collective Memory, Public Advocacy for Social Participation

The aim is to rethink the urban role of Valmarana-Salvi Gardens and their related buildings, highlighting the collective and historical value of the area. The analysis aims to relate the public spaces of the historical centre of Vicenza with the garden and its buildings. The place's valorisation will include, at different scales, new connection spaces for the city and the community of Vicenza.


The topic provides solutions concerning the enhancement of the collective memory of Valmarana-Salvi Gardens. Students achieve critical awareness and analytical tools necessary to develop design strategies for environmental, social and cultural sustainability for Urban Areas reconstruction. From the urban scale to the “garden” scale, students should focus on identifying historical and contemporary community places of Vicenza (the study could be developed from the scale of 1:500 to 1:10000). At Valmarana-Salvi gardens dimension, the analysis should relate the urban community aspect to the garden and its buildings (the study could be developed from the scale of 1:500 to 1:100). This analysis aims to develop environmental, social and cultural sustainability for the public spaces of the historical centre of Vicenza and the abandoned building in Valmarana-Salvi Gardens.


Accessibility, routes and paths.

A cultural approach to the project as a tool for critical and multi-scale reading of the historical city relational spaces

Keywords: Design for all in Cultural Heritage, Cultural Routes and Itineraries,

The purpose is to relate Valmarana-Salvi Gardens and their buildings with the urban context through a critical interpretation of the signs and traces of time and history of Vicenza. Paths could become an evaluation tool for a sustainable redevelopment project of the historic centre and its heritage. The first moment of evaluation in the field will allow students to immerse themselves in the city and identify the design solution's values.


The topic aims at identifying accesses, routes and paths that bound Valmarana-Salvi Gardens to the historical centre of Vicenza. Students achieve critical awareness and analytical tools necessary to develop design solutions to translate the historical path in narrative and accessibility design tools for urban areas' environmental, social and cultural sustainable reconstruction.

The analysis will concern architectural and urban scales. Students will recognise the value of the connection and accessibility in buildings and gardens on the architectural scale (the study could be developed from the scale of 1:500 to 1:100). According to the urban scale, they will imagine the analysis of the relations between the historical centre of Vicenza and Valmarana-Salvi Gardens through the historical and contemporary experience of the city roads and accesses (the study could be developed from the scale of 1:10000 to 1:500).


Reading the city through its urban ruins.

Re-design purpose for the “waiting” places cultural network

Keywords: Cultural Routes and Itineraries, Regeneration, Temporary planning and Meanwhile spaces

The topic considers abandoned places as suspended fragments, part of a network of "waiting" places within the urban area. In the sustainable reconstruction of cultural heritage background, the analyses will aim at recognising gardens, private buildings, former monastic complexes, industrial areas etc., as tools for understanding the city over time and as an opportunity for valorising the Historical Centre.


The topic aims at changing the perception of abandoned sites and buildings, such as Valmarana-Salvi Gardens and other monumental or culturally relevant areas in Vicenza. Students achieve critical awareness and analytical tools necessary to develop design programmes and tools to investigate, regenerate and temporarily reuse abandoned places and buildings for urban areas' environmental, social and cultural sustainable reconstruction.

The analysis will concern architectural and urban scales. Students will identify and map the culturally, historically and socially relevant abandoned places and buildings in the historical centre of Vicenza (the study could be developed from the scale of 1:10000 to 1:500). They will translate the network of "waiting" sites into a sustainable reconstruction




During the workshop, five international speakers will discuss the theme of sustainable reconstruction in urban areas, addressing the issue from multiple aspects and points of view. Topics will be presented through good practices and tools for sustainable reconstruction (social, cultural, economic or environmental) in urban areas, the reuse of historical heritage, and collective perception of urban spaces. Among the proposed research topics will be the regeneration and the temporary reuse of abandoned places and buildings, the analysis of tools for narrative design and the accessibility for reconstruction in urban areas.



The workshop will involve students from various study programs (architectural design, interior design, architectural technologies, structural engineering, urban planning, urban design, integral urban development, sustainable development). To enhance different cultural backgrounds, students' workgroups will be composed of one student for each university.


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