Learning through Nomadic Interiors - Villa Rotonda through the lenses of Heterotopia

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The question of the critical role of our built heritage to the complex and interdisciplinary processes that govern the current development of the built environment define a continuous challenge in interior studies and education: Can a study of the fundamental interior elements of Villa Rotonda for example inspire future architectural solutions that meet the current environmental challenges?

In our paper we study this question by recalling Foucault’s idea of Heterotopia describing spaces that have more layers of meaning than those that immediately meet the eye. We interpret Heterotopia as a concept of human geography as elaborated by Foucault and apply it on a project developed and exhibited on the 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice that focused on the current need to develop Urban Farming strategies. Here an interdisciplinary team of students analyzed fundamental interior elements of the Villa Rotunda, a study that turned out to function in non-hegemonic conditions with departure in elements i.e. – floor, wall, ceiling, roof, door, window etc. tracing the history of the past and subsequently transforming them. Pedagogically this educational experiment was carried out by learning in a series of nomadic interiors allowing the students to travel in time and place; from Palladio to the 14th Architectural Biennale and from Vincenza to Venice. In the paper we use Foucaults concept of Heterotopia to analyze how a window in 1:10 from the south façade of Villa Rotonda now re-designed in caramelized sugar can create a parallel learning space; an interior that make a utopian space possible.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNomadic Interiors - Living and inhabiting in an age of migrations : IFW2015 - Interiors Forum World 2015 - 3rd International Conference
EditorsLuca Basso Peressut, Marco Borsotti, Imma Forino, Pierluigi Salvadeo, Jacopo Leveratto, Tomaso Longo
Place of PublicationMilano
Publication date2015
ISBN (Electronic)9788899165109
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventIFW2015 – Interiors Forum World 2015: normandic interiors - The School of Architecture and Society of Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy
Duration: 21 May 201522 May 2015
Conference number: 3


ConferenceIFW2015 – Interiors Forum World 2015
LocationThe School of Architecture and Society of Politecnico di Milano
Internet address
SeriesUniversity Press – Series 3


  • Interior Elements
  • Villa Rotonda
  • Heterotopia


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