Studio TAMassociati is an architectural firm based in Venice, Italy, since the year 1996. TAM was conceived in Venice initially as an architectural research group in the late 1980s, within the Utopica European Architects Network Association. The firm’s lead architects are Raul Pantaleo, Massimo Lepore, and Simone Sfriso from Milan, Udine, and London respectively. Each partner is a stalwart of the architectural industry, bringing an enormous degree of innovation, individuality, and subjectivity to the table. 

Over the course of their firm’s successful trajectory, they have won numerous accolades including LafargeHolcim Awards Acknowledgement prize 2017, Middle East Africa, Curatorial Team Italian Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2016, Italian architects of the year 2014, Zumtobel Group Award 2014, Curry Stone Design Prize 2013, Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 2013, Capuchin-G. Ius Gold Medal 2013, Middle East Architect Awards 2010, and the Architecture Review Award for Emerging Architecture (UK) 2008.

A Future-Proof Urban Plan in the Swiss Alps designed by TAMassociati - Sheet1
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Their firm TAMassociati has a unique approach towards design: “Taking Care”

They believe architecture, design in all its forms should primarily be a service to the community. Their vision of architecture takes responsibility for taking care of people and places, principles, and resources and making a difference. They believe architecture is capable of increasing human social and environmental capital while curbing marginalization and exclusion. They also encourage participatory planning in all their planning initiatives. They specialize in sustainable architecture, urban planning, landscape design, participatory and educational processes, and graphic design and social communication.

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Their portfolio consists of a diverse collection of work ranging from individual schooling and institutional projects to large-scale redevelopment and urban planning initiatives – the latest of which is a Future-Proof Urban Plan in the Swiss Alps. This large-scale masterplan rethinks the heart of the Bellinzona, Switzerland projecting it towards a timeless design. It introduces new elements of research and the idea of incremental development – thereby introducing the concept of future proof design – in the name of all-around sustainable regeneration.  

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Previously the site was occupied with numerous cargo workshops under the major industrial complex of the Officine Bellinzona, a subsidiary of Swiss Federal Railways (FFS).  The district has been the city’s economic driving force for over 130 years. The FFS Workshops in Bellinzona play an important role in the history of Bellinzona and of the whole Canton: a historic plant that has represented for over a century a point of reference on an industrial, economic and social level. It is precise with this in mind and following the signing of the document “Prospettiva Generale Ticino” that the SBB, in collaboration with the City of Bellinzona and the Canton of Ticino, has launched a profound and careful reflection in recent years, developing projects and proposals concrete about the future of the SBB workshops and the district. Following the relocation of the SBB workshops, a large area of ​​about 120,000 square meters will be freed up in the heart of Bellinzona and this will offer the possibility of creating from scratch a model district capable of meeting the highest standards in the ecological and energy fields, future-oriented and projected towards a high quality of life. In this way, the area currently occupied by the SBB workshops will become the engine of the urban development of the city, keeping alive, in the context of the new architecture, also the indelible trace of its historical memory, for example placing the centenary “Cathedral” at the center of the development of the new neighbourhood.

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The design program for the redevelopment segregates the space into three major belts, at the center of which lies a large, green public space and varied green infrastructure. On either side of this belt there lies a planned building development, conceived as autonomous and flexible blocks. This central green nave, or as the team describes it – “green kilometre” will be created to link the existing landscape elements – namely the mountains and the lake, along a north-south route. The “Green kilometre” will also include a built-up area characterized by administrative, educational, managerial, commercial, and advanced research programs. This combines with numerous domestic and municipal uses, such as schools and the innovation park, in addition to cooperative housing. An open system is imagined for numerous sorts of hybrid residences, from cohousing and senior cohousing to affordable housing and mixed-use lofts.

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There are numerous lessons to be learned from this project by TAMassociati, the most significant one being the future-proof ideology. As architects and designers it is imperative we fully understand the positionality of our work – the influence it has on its surroundings for generations to come. We must go beyond the concepts of structural longevity and truly understand the impact of architecture on society. While it is easy to understand the role building will play in context immediately after construction, the team at Studio TAMassociati challenges the role their work will play in both – the near and distant future.

Author

Samriddhi Khare is a student of architecture. While juggling college submissions and research deadlines she finds time to write about architecture. She is a passionate individual with a penchant for architectural design, art history and creative writing. She aspires to bring design activism and sustainability to the forefront in all her professional endeavours.

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