A(i)rch BnB: Envisioning tourism-related Real-Estate Summer School

An experiment in design-based political agonism

Brochure application/pdf (50.69 kB)

Focusing on the site of a 19th century military barracks in the center of Torino, this intensive summer workshop will challenge students to rethink tourism-related real estate. This latter is often accused of disrupting local communities by raising real estate values and transforming cities into Potemkin villages for stereotypes-seeking tourists. On the other hand, tourism-related investments are often a major source of income for local communities. The workshop will react to this controversy by engaging the participants in a role game where they will act from the standpoints of different stakeholders, i.e. a global real estate company that is considering a tourism-related development of the site with the goal of maximizing profits, the municipality that aims at increasing its revenues, local hotels and hostels that defend their position on the market, preservation authorities that defend the status quo of the historic city. In this role game, students will engage one another "agonistically" and the seven days of the workshop will revolve around a design-based political tournament, during which the site will be rethought and reworked to include - although not necessarily to fulfill - the positions resulting from each round of agonistic design.

Participants will receive 5 ECTS credits upon successful completion of a final design work.


Politecnico di Torino, Italy


July 10th - 18th, 2017


All the activities will be held in English


The program is open to students in the final year of their B.Arch degree and to M.Arch students.


The total fee of 600 Euro covers:

  • 7-day intensive Summer School with lectures, seminars, and Studio Work (60 hours);
  • PoliTo tutoring for the whole academic activity;
  • Day visit to Milano;
  • Welcome aperitif and closing dinner;
  • Insurance coverage for accidents occurring on the university premises.

Flight tickets, visa fees, accommodation, meals and travel/medical insurance are not included.

A limited number of places in a university dorm next to PoliTo main campus is available and will be assigned on a "first-come, first-served" basis.

Application and deadlines

To apply, fill in the online application form by first registering and providing your biographical information.

After the registration, you will receive within 24 hours a confirmation message on your e-mail with a username and a password, with which you can log in and access the application form.

Please provide information on your previous educational career, select the Summer School program in “A(i)rch BnB: Envisioning tourism-related Real-Estate Summer School”, and attach the following documentation:

  • Passport or ID Card
  • Short portfolio of selected work (max 5 pages) 
  • Curriculum Vitae

The application must be submitted by June 11th, 2017.

Selection outcomes will be available by June 16th, 2017.


Sunday 9th evening

Welcoming aperitif

Monday 10th

Seminar with real stakeholders involved in the transformation

On-site visit with on-site lecture: the role of heritage within urban transformations

Tuesday 11th

Lecture - urban planning: innovative strategies and international case studies - urban transformations in Turin  

Studio work – First Round of Agonistic Design

Wednesday 12th

Lecture - Strategic design. The social component to urban design: narratives and consensus building.

Studio Work – Second Round of Agonistic Design

Thursday 13th

Lecture - strategic design. Real Estate and financial feasibility of urban projects

Studio Work – Third Round of Agonistic Design

Friday 14th

Lecture – The real deal. Speaking with developers: managing and investing in Real Estate.

Studio Work – Fourth Round of Agonistic Design

Saturday 15th

Day visit to Milan: examples of strategic design with local guide

Monday 17th

Studio Work: finalizing the design

Tuesday 18th

Studio Work – finalizing the design

Presentation and charrette with real actors involved in the transformation

Closing Dinner


Manfredo di Robilant

Assistant professor of architectural design at the Politecnico di Torino, is an architect and a scholar in theory and history of modern architecture. He has been research associate to the 14th Venice architecture Biennale, Visiting Scholar at the CCA Montréal and member of the advisory board of Domus Academy, Milan. Among his recent publications, the books dedicated to ceiling and window (Marsilio and Rizzoli International, 2014) of the elements of architecture research project for the 14th Venice architecture Biennale (with Rem Koolhaas, AMO, Harvard GSD).


Valeria Federighi

Research fellow at Politecnico di Torino and a practicing architect.  She holds a Master of Science in Design Research from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in Architecture and Building Design  from Politecnico di Torino. She is editor of the magazine Ardeth (Architectural Design Theory), co-founder of design-build office Wworks, and she is currently working on a research project exploring the role of Chinese New Towns (CeNTO) as drivers of new forms of urbanisation.


International Relations Office



A minimum of 5 participants is required in order to activate the program.