This CNRS International Research Group (GDRI) was initiated by the International Ambiances Network to explore the issue of ambiances in translation. The word ‘translation’ should be taken in the broad sense of the term, and not reduced to a strictly language-based meaning, though this aspect is obviously present in the project, indeed a key component. By putting the accent on translation, our purpose is to acknowledge the plurality of versions of and means of access to ambiances, to bring into play the notion of ambiance by situating it in a collaborative process; and to address the topic of architectural and urban ambiances by looking at the disparities and shifts this topic involves. The fourth form of translation aims to investigate the scope for exchange and circulation between the world of research and that of architecture and planning. How do the various players tasked with designing and developing private and public space grasp the field of ambiance.
What tools, transfers and processes are brought into play to make the ambiance concept operational in a professional framework?
The aim here is to look at how the field of ambiances is transformed and hybridized as soon as it comes into contact with design practice and development constraints. We shall draw on the experience of each team to put into perspective the various contexts, applications and uses of the ambiance concept. This form of translation will deliberately focus on a forward-looking approach, in search of new modus operandi for design.
The four levels of translation are central to the project. By placing ourselves between languages, disciplines, senses and activities we can set up a process of investigation capable of taking account of the complexity of the field of ambiances, and of the scientific and cultural diversity of the teams involved.
By focusing on operations designed to clarify, explore, experiment and look to the future, we can assess the possibility of a pragmatist attitude to ambiances. In this respect our purpose is not so much to take stock of existing learning or to stop at a single model for making sense of ambiance, but rather to put to the test a field of research and action that is in the process of taking shape.
Polytechnic of Milan (Italy) - DAStU - Lab. di Simulazione Urbana ‘Fausto Curti’ (labsimurb)
- Cecilia Chiarini
- Eugenio Morello
- Barbara E. A. Piga
- Rossella Salerno
- Irene Vegetti
University of Milan (Italy) - Department of Cultural Heritage and Environment
- Marco Boffi
- Nicola Rainisio
Graduate School of Architecture of Nantes (France) - Lab. AAU / CRENAU
- Daniel Siret
- Thomas Leduc
Graduate School of Architecture of Grenoble (France) - Lab. AAU / CRESSON
- Jean-Paul Thibaud
- Rainer Kazig
Université de Cergy - Pontoise (France) - Department of Geography and History
- Damien Masson
Aarhus School of Architecture (Denmark) - Department of Urban Planning, Institute of Landscape and Urban Development
- Niels Albertsen
École d’Architecture de l’Université Laval (Canada) - Groupe de Recherche en Ambiances Physiques (GRAP)
- Claude MH Demers
- André Potvin
Université du Québec à Montréal - UQAM (Canada) - École des Arts Visuels et Médiatiques
- Mario Côté
Federal University of Bahia (Brazil) - Laboratório Urbano (PPG-AU/FAUFBA)
- Osnildo Adão Wan-Dall Junior
Muthesius University of Arts, Kiel, Germany
- Imme Bode
University of Biskra (Algeria) - Department of Architecture - LACOMOFA
- Yacine Saadi
- Safa Daich
Outcomes of the seminar ans workshop
The main focus of the GDRI 2017 in Milan was the translation of theories and practices related to the Ambiances’ researches into professional terms. More in detail, the goal was to share among the various players how do they deal with the ambiances topic and which tools and processes are brought into practice to make the concept operational in the professional framework.
With the aim of investigating the exchange and circulation between the world of research and the one of architecture and planning the three days of collaboration were organized in two main parts, namely a seminar and a workshop.
Three invited speakers coming from different disciplines, and not belonging to the GDRI, were invited for presenting their approach to the ambiances topic and its implications in the practice. Tonino Griffero, a philosopher teaching aesthetics at Roma Tor Vergata university, presented its investigation on pathicity and atmospheres, atmospheric games and atmospheric authority, focusing the attention on the relationship between atmospheres and the body. Paolo Inghilleri, a social psychologist teaching environmental and cultural psychology at the Università degli Studi di Milano, presented the relationship between inter-subjectivity and the environment, and hence the link between atmospheres and the quality of the experience through theories and case studies applications; Roberto Gigliotti, an architect teaching exhibit design at the Libera Università di Bolzano, presented the topic of exhibitions ant their atmospheres as a multisensory narrative, where the subject of the exhibition becomes the space itself and hence the architectural experience. A rich interdisciplinary debate followed the presentations.
The second part of the GDRI was devoted to a practical workshop among colleagues coming from different universities and disciplines. The goal of exchanging theories and modus operandi adopted by the different research units were reached thanks to a group work on a case study application, that is the Porta Nuova area in Milan. The workshop was articulated in three main phases:
- an individual experiential walk in the area and the onsite collection of photos, sketches and similar;
- the work in teams based on the onsite experience for defining a common interpretation of the area and for elaborating a final representation;
- the presentation of the outcomes to the colleagues and a final general discussion.
The collaborations between researchers with different approaches and backgrounds represented a way to better understand the theoretical perspective and methodology of investigation by each one, and to cooperate to find novel integrated modalities. The process of sharing viewpoints and to collaborate in an interdisciplinary way for analyzing and proposing scenarios of transformation for a specific urban environment was the fundamental aim of the workshop. More in detail, the goals of the practical work were to define:
- an individual interpretation of the ambiance of the place as it is;
- a perspective of what the ambiance of a place could be or become in the future;
- a set of materials to describe and communicate the experienced ambiances.
By focusing on the linkage between research and practice we could investigate the possibility of a pragmatic attitude to ambiances that puts the fields of research into action.
The presentation of the workshop outcomes was the occasion for exchanging the experiences among the teams and the starting point of the final debate on the “translating ambiances” topic, its relevance and the need of further interdisciplinary collaborations.