Students, architecture, social impact: Politecnico brings sport to prisons

The students of Politecnico designed a gym for the women's section of the Bollate prison. Support the completion of the project!

The Advanced School of Architecture (ASA) is an “additional” training course, which the most deserving students can follow in combination with the Master's Degree Courses in Architecture. It is an excellence program dedicated to just 20 students , Italian and international, selected on the basis of their design talent. Its goal is to strengthen and develop the figure of the architect-designer , through activities that put the student in direct contact with the professional reality and with the complexity of the processes currently in progress in the various European and non-European realities.

In the first Master Class of the 2021-2022 edition, under the direction of Paolo Cascone and Maddalena Laddaga (CODESIGNLAB and University of Westminster) and thanks to the collaboration with the project ACTS (A Chance Through Sport) directed by prof. Andrea Di Franco (DASTU), the students designed and built the prototype of a small modular gym, designed to be installed in one of the open areas of the Bollate prison .

palestra bollate

CO-DEVELOPMENT WITH INMATES

It can really make a difference here ”, said one of the female prisoners' representatives. “If you have nothing to pursue, you get stuck in the routine and can't move forward. It is important both for our mental health and for our individual growth path. It's a kind of springboard ".

This is the first project of this kind involving a community of prisoners in Italy . From design to actual construction, the students worked side by side with architects Cascone and Laddaga, experts in the field of parametric design, linking the social approach to that of ecological construction and digital production. Each module of the structure is designed to create a space both for individual exercise and in connection with others, free-body or with the use of tools. The use of digital environmental simulations guided the choice of materials. In fact, the students were able to experience firsthand the advanced digital manufacturing potential of LABORA Laboratories and MaBa.SAPERLab of Politecnico di Milano.

NEXT STEPS?

"This is a completely exceptional teaching experience", comments prof. Pierre-Alain Croset, director of the Advanced School of Architecture (ASA). "Which illustrates in an exemplary way the mission of the ASA to enhance the design skills of future architects thanks to a strong synergy between academia and professional reality. The intention is to offer students a very concrete design experience - I would also say "physical" and "tactile": the students responded to this challenge by demonstrating exceptional passion and commitment , certainly also stimulated by the awareness of living something that goes beyond the traditional school experience, because it can end in the Bollate prison with a real space of sure social utility ".

The prototype was dismantled and is now in the Bollate prison depot, waiting to be rebuilt with the inmates in the spring. To complete it with the right covering materials and with the tools necessary for physical exercise, the goal is around 15 thousand euros: we need the help of the Alumni !

"This is a completely exceptional teaching experience", comments prof. Pierre-Alain Croset, director of the Advanced School of Architecture (ASA). "Which illustrates in an exemplary way the mission of the ASA to enhance the design skills of future architects thanks to a strong synergy between academia and professional reality. The intention is to offer students a very concrete design experience - I would also say "physical" and "tactile": the students responded to this challenge by demonstrating exceptional passion and commitment , certainly also stimulated by the awareness of living something that goes beyond the traditional school experience, because it can end in the Bollate prison with a real space of sure social utility ".

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