Open design competition
Program: landscape and urban design for the Jeonnam Citizen’s square
Total site area: 51.000 mq of public space and 5.000 mq of service
Location: Jeonnam, South Korea
Year: 2022

The project offers the flexibility to use the citizens’ square as a unique, extraordinarily big public space, suitable for public gatherings, concerts, exhibitions, or
fragmenting it into a necklace of smaller pocket squares around the central one. Each mini square can react to the adjacent program and context, offering the
possibility to host more or less private activities that might need protection from traffic and noise, as well as safety and protection for children and youngsters.
The linear pedestrian and bicycle bridge that crosses Hugwang-daero, allows the continuity of the south and north squares even at pick hours of traffic.
In the middle of the central square, right at the merging of the two levels (urban level and -5m), at the crossing between the central park and the east-west sunken
square, we introduce a sculptural panoramic tower. The tower, misaligned from the south visual line to the Jeollanamdo regional office building, preserves its visibility from the park, offering the perfect position to dominate the panorama in every direction. The tower becomes the landmark of the new Citizen’s square, while offering a complete perception of the surroundings: the hills to north, the central park and the sea towards south, the new square and the Jeollanamdo regional office and the Namak-ri at east.


Program: Strategy for the relocation of the Chubbs London Headquarters and spatial concept for new office culture.
Budget: N/A
Client: Chubb Global
Location: London, UK
Design: 2021
Team: NAUTA architecture & research, CIPENSO Creative Project and Design Management

3 Scenarios:
61.000 sqft/600 desks
76.000 sqft/600 desks
91.000 sqft/600 desks

What is the right balance between working from home, improving our lifestyle, minimizing daily commuting, reducing the risk of the COVID 19 and future pandemic infections, while enhancing teamwork, social collision, knowledge exchange?
Global insurance company CHUBB has commissioned NAUTA and CIPENSO Creative Project and Design Management, research by design study for the relocation of the London office in the heart of the British capital.
The study reflects on the consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic and the new forms of remote work, to optimize the office space of the future.
The Covid19 pandemic has radically changed our way of working, forcing a large population to work remotely from home. This change has brought negative effects for the psychophysical condition of many workers, as many started to experience stress due to seclusion and loneliness.
On the other hand, this new trend has generated a debate on the positive assets of remote working. Working from home has multiple positive assets: no need to commute and relative reduction of emissions, optimization of time and a renovated balance between work and private life. It has as well generated a massive action for rethinking the office space. Many enterprises saw in the pandemic an opportunity to reduce costs by updating an obsolete culture of sedentary desk work, embracing the needs for a dynamic lifestyle even during work hours. These trends bring as well positive consequences for the climate, as the reduction of office space use has a positive impact on carbon reduction and circularity.
The project combines these reflections into research by design process, investigating how to rethink the traditional office culture on the base of Chubb’s values and wishes.
The study combines stakeholders’ interviews and design explorations. It proposes scenarios of space usage based on different office size, number and typology of workstations and several new concepts of work and social collision points that will absorb the changes coming from post-pandemic social relations and new technologies applied to the future of work.



Program: Masterplan composed by 5 functional plots: pedestrian and bicycle bridge; Darsena residential complex; P.le Farini Office building; Vertical parking lot

Budget: 41.46 M

Client: Municipality of Ravenna

Location: Ravenna, Italy

Design: 2020-2021

Team: NAUTA architecture & research, urban and architectural design

ENSER S.r.l.  – structural engineering

Studio TI S.r.l.- MEP


(IT below)


The project goal is the redesign of the public spaces, east and west of Ravenna station, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to circulate smoothly in the area without any obstacle caused by train traffic. From this purpose, the delpoyment of a cycle-pedestrian bridge on top the railway.
The masterplan proposal focuses on the conception of the area as a Transit Oriented Development, to free the city centre from the traditional mobility, offering a spatial and typological flexibility able to adapt to future changes in the field of sustainable mobility. The cycle-pedestrian bridge plays a predominant role in the spatial reorganization of the area, solving the historical problem of the gap between the historic city and Darsena, as well playing a primary role in renovating the image of the city at national and international level.

The final choice is characterized by a simple linear crossing supported by two pillars, with the intention of minimizing the impact on the rail traffic, concentrationg construction operations at the east and west ends of the bridge. The structure is designed as a large beam with a C section, higher in the central structural portion and lighter at its extremities.
The bridge has an external cladding of burnished steel, in armony with the harbor context to which it relates. Iinside its quality of welcoming urban space is increased by the choice of a warm color stone mosaic.

The structure is designed as permeable on the ground floor, thanks to the use of a truss structure on the upper floors, in order to leave circulation fluidity on the urban level.
Its structural semplicity and flexibility come from the intention of re-functionalizing it in the future, into a productive and/or office building, as soon as the city center will benefit from actions aimed at reducing the vehicular traffic and consequent need for parking.
Extra goal for the immediate future is the provision of car-sharing, bicycle parking, info point and cash desk, bike sharing, snack bar and kiosk for bicycles repair.

The goal is to achieve the desired volume while maintaining a building height proportionate to the existing context. The result is a building that changes on its four sides. A monolith on the tracks, with a strong institutional character, fragmented into multiple terraces towards the historical city center, in harmony with its scale and offering a panoramic view towards it. The building offers spaces for relax, gym, squash courts, ball room, conference room and shared outdoor terraces; all flexible functions and suitable for a program resilient in time. The program concentrates maximum human activity around the railway hub, in line with the principles of TOD, aiming at removing the use of cars and promoting the design of autonomous multifunctional urban clusters.

The new architectural ensamble is the result of the combination of the existing volume with a newly conceived one. The new linear building and the reused building create an internal void with a trapezoidal shape. The space is occupied by an elevated square to allow the ground floor use for parking reserved to the new residences. Stairways reconnect the square to the urban level both to the east and to the west, making it part of the system of public spaces gravitating around the Darsena. The linear building is occupied by mixed functions with the aim of activating the urban context: on the ground floor a row of small commercial spaces and the lobby of a boutique hotel that occupies the two upper floors. The third floor of the linear building hosts a wellness-spa-gym with access to a roof garden with a panoramic lounge.
The center can be operated by unique or multiple operators, offering flexibility to the project leasing plan. At the level of the square, the linear building hosts a restaurant/bar, which can also be operated independently from the hotel. The square can host the terrace of the restaurant/bar. The cubic volume that crowns the complex includes apartments and penthouses, with surfaces between 50 sqm up to 140sqm.



Obiettivo generale della proposta di progetto è il ridisegno degli spazi pubblici ad est ed ovest della stazione, che permetta soprattutto a pedoni e ciclisti di circolare fluidamente nell’area senza ostacoli dipendenti dall’operatività del traffico ferroviario. Da ciò, la previsione di un superamento ciclo-pedonale della ferrovia, in forma di “ponte” sui binari.
La proposta di masterplan si concentra sulla concezione dell’ area come Transit Oriented Development, atto a liberare col tempo il centro città dalla mobilità tradizionale ed offrire una flessibilità spaziale e tipologica capace di adattarsi ai futuri cambiamenti in campo di mobilità sostenibile. È inoltre chiaro che il ruolo predominante nel piano di riorganizzazione urbana venga assolto dall’attraversamento ciclo-pedonale che non solo provvederà a risolvere lo storico problema della cesura tra città storica e Darsena, ma che avrà anche un ruolo fondamentale per l’immagine innovativa a cui la città contemporanea ambisce a scala nazionale ed internazionale.

La scelta finale ricade su un semplice attraversamento lineare poggiato su due piloni, derivante dall’intenzione di ridurre al minimo la logistica a carico dell’operatività del traffico ferroviario, concentrando il cantiere alle estremità est ed ovest del ponte stesso. La struttura si configura come una grande trave dalla sezione a C, alleggerita alle estremità successive al superamento della luce centrale.
Il ponte presenta un rivestimento esterno in acciaio brunito, adatto all’ ambito portuale a cui si interfaccia, mentre al suo interno la sua qualità di spazio urbano accogliente viene incrementata dalla scelta di un rivestimento lapideo.

La struttura si configura come permeabile al piano terra, grazie all’ uso di una struttura reticolare nei piani superiori, in modo da lasciare fluidità di circolazione al piano urbano. La scelta della semplicità strutturale e della flessibilità in pianta deriva dall’ intenzione di rifunzionalizzare il manufatto in edificio produttivo e/o per uffici, non appena il centro città beneficerà di azioni atte a ridurre se non azzerare i flussi veicolari e quindi la necessità di parcheggi. Questo intervento è pensato anche per l’immediato futuro, con la possibilità di prevedere car-sharing, parcheggio per biciclette, info point e cassa, bike sharing, snack bar e chiosco per la riparazione delle biciclette.

L’ obiettivo è di raggiungere la volumetria desiderata mantenendo un’altezza proporzionata al contesto esistente. Ne risulta un edificio cangiante sui quattro lati. Un monolite sui binari, di spiccato carattere istituzionale, che si frammenta in molteplici terrazzamenti verso la città storica, dialogando con la sua scala ed offrendo un ulteriore punto panoramico su di essa. L’edificio offre spazi per il relax, palestra, campi da squash, calcio balilla, ball room, conference room e terrazze collettive all’aperto; tutte funzioni flessibili e adatte ad un programma resiliente nel tempo che concentri la massima attività umana intorno all’ hub ferroviario, coerentemente con i principi di TOD atti ad annullare l’uso dell’automobile e promuovere la progettazione di cluster urbani multifunzionali autonomi.

Il nuovo ensamble architettonico deriva dalla combinazione del volume esistente con uno di nuova concezione. La nuova stecca e l’edificio recuperato formano un vuoto interno di forma trapezoidale.
Lo spazio viene occupato da una piazza in quota per fare spazio al piano terra ad un parcheggio riservato alle nuove residenze. Delle scalinate riconnettono la piazzetta al livello urbano sia a est che a ovest, rendendola parte integrante del sistema di spazi pubblici gravitanti intorno alla Darsena. La stecca viene occupata da funzioni miste con lo scopo di attivare il contesto urbano locale: al piano terra una fila di piccoli spazi commerciali e la hall di un boutique hotel che si sviluppa per i successivi due piani superiori. Il terzo piano della stecca ospita un centro benessere-spa-palestra, con accesso a un tetto giardino con lounge panoramica. Il centro potrà essere operato dallo stesso gestore dell’hotel o da un ulteriore locatore, offrendo flessibilità al leasing plan di progetto. Al livello della piazza in quota, la stecca ospita un ristorante/bar, anch’esso operabile in modo indipendente dall’hotel. La piazza può ospitare la terrazza del ristorante/bar. Il volume cubico che corona il complesso ospita appartamenti e 2 penthouses.



Project name: Concept Guide of Urban Renewal Project “Kaaidistrict” in Bruges

Status: Finalist Pre-selection Phase

Program: Urban Renewal of Kaaidistrict in Bruges

Budget: N/A

Client: Municipality of Bruges

Location: Bruges, Belgium

Design: 2020

Team: NAUTA architecture & research, KU Leuven


The position of the Kaaidistrict within the urban structure of Bruges presents special value from every aspect. Located along the intersection of the main east-west and north-south infrastructures of the city, the area occupies the centre of the spatial structure that includes Bruges till the Zeebrugge port development, making it the exact centre between the historical egg-shaped Unesco protected area and the harbour. This location is as well touched by the waterline that from east to west follows the Sint-Pieterskaai, presenting the high potential for waterfront redevelopment.

Weaknesses and Threats

The proximity of the Unesco area might become a threat for the possible redevelopment of the area into a contemporary icon of urban regeneration, because of the very restrictive rules on historical preservation and respect of the existing building typologies. The area could play an important role for the city in the gradual transition towards sustainable energies and infrastructure, acting beyond its local potential as an engine for the whole green and blue performance of the city. The social inclusion of local stakeholders and the open communication at all times can facilitate fast realization projects, bottom-up actions and the constitution of cooperatives that can bridge the gap between project and realization.

The block currently considered most valuable for residential densification and higher construction is the Janssens site, which will soon become available for development. The site received a negative assessment from the Unesco commission even if situated in a valuable position, adjacent to the canal, the site presents as well as contrasting elements. It is, in fact, more proximate than others to the Unesco buffer area, as well as the closest to the most unfriendly infrastructure of the whole district: the Sint Pieterskaade fly-over.

Traffic interventions need special attention due to the proximity of the site to the main axis east-west and the central ring. The proposal of turning the area in a multifunctional development brings considerations about the possible future increase of incoming car traffic, making necessary to combine its optimization and access to improved public transport, pedestrian, and bicycle routes.

As opposed to the tradition of reserving parking areas to each autonomous commercial, residential or office building, we propose to plan shared parking garages, retrofitting some of the existing commercial sheds, yet keeping them flexible for alternative long term uses as the future would bring an additional reduction of needed parking, due to a hopefully improved low carbon mobility.


The way in which government and society see each other is changing rapidly. The terms ‘government participation’, ‘doing democracy’, and ‘participation society’ refer to this development in different terms. Central to these developments, however, is that society will have to deal mostly with itself and the government will have to set loose more. This requires a fundamentally different attitude from all parties involved. Increasingly we see that the government is embracing citizens’ initiative and organic ‘bottom-up’ developments and linking them to its own processes. This development poses a challenge for society and the government because the roles vary and ultimately, they need each other. It influences the interaction between government, citizens, and social partners. The challenge is to find the right balance of participation in this playing field. For participation to be a success, it is therefore important that all parties involved actively participate. Our team has built up the necessary experience to successfully design participation processes. In general, we use the same system, but we ensure that a suitable solution is sought for every situation with customization. After all, participation is tailor-made, there is no blueprint. Therefore, we want to consider in consultation with the city of Bruges the preconditions within which participation is possible. An invitation is only useful if there is also room to exert influence. Our experience is that complex spatial developments often offer less room to influence the process and the outcome. If that space is not available, participation is not done thus avoiding disappointment and frustration. In this case, informing the data subjects will suffice. We do see room for broader participation for parts of the process and we propose to organize participatory workshops on the following themes. These themes then give us input to come up with scenarios with which we can determine the macro and micro strategies for the area. Interactive workshops play an important role in our approach. In view of the current restrictions surrounding COVID-19, we also see an important role for (online) surveys in this process. We want to make use of students from the University of Leuven for both variants. In summary, participation for team Nauta is no different than making agreements with each other about how we work together or may participate in a particular topic. Team Nauta believes that when a participation process is begun, two preconditions must be met:
• There is a clear framework in advance in which participation is demarcated. The participation rate is determined in advance in consultation with the client.
•  With active participation, participants can actually make a contribution.


De plek van het Kaaidistrict binnen de stedelijke structuur van Brugge biedt een specifieke waarde vanuit menig aspect. Gelegen op de kruising van de belangrijkste oost-west en noord-zuid netwerken van nfrastruc-tuur, neemt het gebied een centrale plek in de ruimtelijke structuur op grotere schaal, die loopt van het historische, eivormige beschermde Unesco gebied tot en met de haven van Zeebrugge. Het gebied ligt aan het water, dat van oost naar west de Sint-Pieterskaai volgt en hiermee een grote kans biedt voor de herontwikkeling van een waterfront.

Zwakke punten en gevaren

De nabijheid van het Unesco gebied kan zowel een potentiële kans, als ook een bedreiging vormen voor de herontwikkeling van het Kaaidistrict tot een hedendaags icoon voor stede- lijke transformatie, in verband met de strikte regelgeving die met de werelderfgoed status en de historische gebou-wtypologieën samenhangt. Het belangrijkste is de rol die het Kaaidistrict zou kunnen spe-len in de geleidelijke transitie naar het gebruik van duurzame energie en infrastructuur, waarbij het een bovenwijkse bijdrage zou kunnen leveren aan de groen-blauwe ambitie voor heel Brugge. Het betrekken van lokale belanghebbenden in een inclusief en open participatie proces, ondersteunt een snellere realisatie, acties van on-derop en het vormen van samenwerkingsvormen die het gat tussen project en uitvoering kun-nen overbruggen.

Het blok dat momenteel het meest waardevol wordt geacht voor verdichting van de woonfunctie en hoog-bouw is de Janssens-locatie. Het ligt binnen het Kaaidistrict het dichts bij het Unesco-buffergebied, maar ook het dichtst bij de meest onvriendelijke infrastructuur van de hele wijk: het viaduct Sint Pieterskade. We begrijpen het belang van het benutten van het potentieel van het Kaaidistrict voor hogere gebouwen, omdat het precies tussen de twee belangrijkste landmarks van de stad ligt: het histo-rische centrum en de kust bij Zeebrugge.

Verkeersinterventies verdienen speciale aandacht vanwege de nabijheid van het gebied tot de oost-west hoofdas en de centrale ring. Het voorstel om in het gebied een multifunctionele ontwikkeling mogelijk te maken, zal leiden tot een mogelijke toekomstige toename van inkomend autoverkeer, waardoor optimalisatie van en toegang tot verbeterd openbaar vervoer noodzakelijk zal zijn, evenals verbeterde voetgangers- en fietsroutes.

In tegenstelling tot de traditie om parkeerplaatsen te reserveren voor elk autonoom bedrijfs-, woon- of kantoorge-bouw, stellen wij voor om gedeelde parkeergarages te plannen, door enkele bestaande commerciële loodsen hier-voor in te richten en deze flexibel te houden, voor alternatief langdurig gebruik, aangezien de toekomst een extra vermindering van het aantal benodigde parkeerplaatsen met zich mee zal brengen in verband met een steeds CO2 neutralere mobiliteit.


De manier waarop overheid en samenleving elkaar zien verandert snel. De termen over-heidsparticipatie, doe-democratie en participatiesamenleving refereren met verschillende bewoordingen aan deze ontwikkeling. Centraal bij deze ontwikkelingen staat echter dat de samenleving meer zelf zal moeten oppakken en de overheid meer zal moeten loslaten. Dat vraagt om een fundamenteel andere houding van alle betrokken partijen. We zien steeds vaker dat de overheid burgerinitiatief en organische ‘bottom-up’ ontwikkelingen omarmt en koppelt aan haar eigen processen. Deze ontwikkeling vormt een uitdaging voor samen-leving en overheid, omdat de rolinvulling varieert en ze elkaar uiteindelijk nodig hebben. Het beïnvloedt het samenspel tussen overheid, burgers en maatschappelijke partners. Het is de uitdaging om in dit speelveld de juiste balans van participatie te vinden. Participatie betekent actieve deelname. Om participatie een succes te laten zijn is het dan ook belangrijk dat alle betrokken partijen actief deelnemen. Zoals uit de praktijk blijkt, is dit eenvoudiger gezegd dan gedaan. Hierbij is het van belang om goed na te denken over de start van het traject en of de juiste vraag aan het juiste publiek gesteld gaat worden. Ons team heeft de nodige ervaring opgebouwd om participatietrajecten op een succesvolle wijze vorm te geven. Wij hanteren hierbij op hoofdlijnen dezelfde systematiek, maar zorgen met maatwerk dat voor elke situatie een passende oplossing wordt gezocht. Participatie is immers maatwerk. Voor participatie bestaat geen blauwdruk. Wij willen daarom in goed overleg met de stad Brugge nadenken binnen welke randvoorwaarden participatie mogelijk is. Een uitnodiging tot participatie is alleen zinvol als er ook ruimte is om invloed uit te oefenen. Onze ervar-ing is dat complexe ruimtelijke ontwikkelingen vaak minder ruimte bieden om daadwerkelijk invloed uit te oefenen op het proces en de uitkomst. Is die ruimte er niet, laat participatie dan achterwege en voorkom daarmee teleurstelling en frustratie. In dit geval zal informeren van de betrokkenen voldoende zijn. Gezien het in de aanvraag geschetste verhaal zien wij voor delen van het proces wel ruimte voor bredere participatie en stellen wij voor op de volgende thema’s participatieve workshops te organiseren. Deze thema’s geven ons vervolgens input om te komen tot scenario’s waarmee we de macro en micro strategieën voor het gebied kun-nen bepalen. Interactieve workshops spelen in onze aanpak een belangrijke rol. Gezien de huidige restricties rond COVID-19 zien wij in dit proces ook een belangrijke rol weggelegd voor (online) enquêtes. Wij willen bij beide varianten gebruik maken van studenten van de Universiteit Leuven.Samengevat is participatie voor team Nauta niet anders dan dat we met elkaar afspraken maken over hoe we samenwerken of mogen meedoen met een bepaald onderwerp. Team Nauta vindt dat wanneer een participatietraject gestart word aan twee randvoorwaarden voldaan moet worden:
• Er is vooraf een helder kader waarin participatie wordt afgebakend. De partici-patiegraad wordt vooraf in afstemming met de opdrachtgever bepaald.
• Bij actieve participatie kunnen participanten ook daadwerkelijk een bijdrage leveren




Status: Delivered

Program: Urban development of Piazza Transalpina/ TRG Evrope and Design of the EPICenter

Budget: N/A

Client: Municipality of Gorizia, Municipality of Nova Gorica

Location: Gorizia-Nova Gorica

Design: 2020

Team: Chiara Manca, Elisabetta Paglia, Maurizio Scarciglia

The Masterplan. GO Circular!

The Gorizia-Nova Gorica urban region shows a healthy demographic trend, with a discrete supply of services and a high quality of life. Economically characterized by industry and agriculture, Gorizia-Nova Gorica would benefit of an improved infrastructural cross-border connection, through the reactivation of the Transalpina Station, desirable in the near future to boost its role of European cross-border tourism destination.

We believe that Gorizia-Nova Gorica should preserve this suburban identity, yet aim at the development of functionally complementary centres. The project area would become the new central cluster for the definition of a new stronger urban region, capable of competing on the international market, yet clearly stating a circular vocation. The current climate crisis asks for re-thinking the cities’ future, for this reason, we base the whole master plan on completing the local existing potential. We propose to start the development by defining a light infrastructure for pedestrians and bikes, enabling all residents to move freely between the cities. The layout of this new regional route becomes the spine of the new green and blue strategy.

The plot towards Nova Gorica is completed, creating a clear urban front of new housing and mixed-use buildings which will allow testing different housing types for different family patterns. The public plinth offers continuous commercial spaces to create an active 24/7 urban front. Nova Gorica’s side continues with an elongated park that follows the railway lines, offering agriculture as well as public activities and sports.

Likewise, the Gorizia side is developed longitudinally through the “Makers Campus”. To the south, the park ends with the new EPICenter square and building landmark. We propose to locate the pedestrian and bikes bridge in the area over the railway as this is the densest functional cluster. At the south masterplan, Nova Gorica presents an irregular pattern of private residential allotments. We complete it with clear circular clusters, while the Gorizia side is re-ordered through a patchwork of rural fields, preserving the existing heritage.

Stazione Transalpina square and EPICenter. A vertical landscape

Located at the end of the Makers Park, the square is an extension of the park itself. By spreading the mass horizontally we respect the vertical monumentality of the station, saving its central view from via G. Caprin. By doing so, we define a building composed of light surfaces softly curved to shape a catenary roof. This roof hosts the actual new square: an elevated plateau from which a beautiful view over the borderline will allow an unimpeded perception of the unified cities while offering a protected cosy stage for every possible social happening. A temporary tent fixed to the short sides of the building and on top of the tower (supported by a tensile steel cables structure), will offer shadow in the hot seasons.

In section, the building is characterized by four levels. The underground hosts temporary and permanent exhibition spaces. This floor hosts a simple parking garage that offers easy logistic for the exhibition space.  The square is freed from any car, limiting vehicular accessibility only from the west kiss and ride area and defining a clear pedestrian gallery on lever zero, open 24/7. Emergency exits, ramps and stairs are accurately distributed to preserve all historical trees on the site. The elevated podium’s clear separation makes it easy to achieve an independent operation of social activities. On top, the roof landscape is reachable by means of slow stairs and a long ramp that, starting in the park, allows everybody to reach the upper square even when all amenities are closed.

The tower becomes a landmark, as well as the tool to look over the new unified centre. Besides choosing a traditional structural type, typical of sports halls, with a clear construction process, we chose very few finishing materials, such as concrete and locally supplied wood, aiming at strengthening circularity principles and budget control. The circulation system becomes pivotal for the distribution of the volumes, dissolving the building into a vertical landscape, open to all citizens and symbolic of democracy and European values of solidarity and cooperation.


Project name: 深圳市工人文化宫整体改造工程建筑方案设计国际竞赛
International bidding of Architectural SD for Overall Renovation of Shenzhen Working People’s Cultural Palace Shenzhen Luohu Cultural Palace

Status: Design Proposal

Program: Renovation of Shenzhen working people’s cultural palace

Total built area: 60.000 sqm

Budget: N/A

Client: Shenzhen Luohu Municipality Government

Location: Shenzhen, China

Design: 2019-2020

Team: Elisabetta Paglia, Fan Hao, Maurizio Scarciglia

The site reserved for the Cultural Palace is positioned between very contrasting and high-pressure contexts within Luohu district. To the west, it presents the opportunity to relate with the natural element of the Buji river while reconnecting to the residential development and the school.

This connection results complicated by the presence of the railway line. For this reason, we propose to build a pedestrian and Bicycles bridge above 22m, capable to overcome the obstacle of the railway. In order to motivate such an infrastructural intervention, the bridge will become an integral part of the TOD strategy, transforming the project into a major urban hub.


The new south-east commercial basement creates a continuity with the existing commercial fabric of historical Dongmen area. This continuity is strengthened by the proximity of the new metro station that contributes to consolidate the south entrance of the Cultural Palace as the densest point of arrival and the most important direction of continuity with the Luohu Centre.

Particular attention is given to the Ground Floor and the Basement conception. This ‘ urban infrastructure’ preserves the scale of a village, while offering the new cultural complex a metropolitan relevance and appearance.


The main design concept focuses on a system of vertical landscapes, a stratification of terraces that disentangle the program by creating vertical public spaces. The terrace system and the shift of the volumes contribute to control green and shading, improving the overall environmental performance of the complex. Architecture, water elements and green are meant to create a new unity for the site, in which the boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces is erased.

At the centre of the site, right at the connection between cultural, digital and sports program, we position the only volume suspended from the ground.  The occupation of the ground with the building is compensated by the maximization of the roofscape, which blends architecture and landscape in a continuous. By doing so the visitors can cross the whole Cultural Palace either approaching every single building or by entering the Digital Cloud and move then internally to each functional cluster or through the external roof loop.

As for the attention dedicated to the internal program distribution, the site is organized to create a narrative of public spaces and a logical system of squares and gardens that properly react to volume massing and shading. Visitors arriving from the densely frequented Dongmen commercial area will be welcomed this active square.  This will clearly announce the cultural programing of cinema, theatre and performing arts. The lake becomes the centralizing element of the urban ensemble, collecting a necklace of squares and lobbies to the different buildings. The generous shadows and the digital cloud will facilitate the use of open-air spaces for sports activities even in the extreme warm summers.













Invited competition

Program: landscape and urban design for the artificial island above the underwater connection between highway S3 and Hubin W Rd

Total site area: 13.5 ha

Client: The People’s Government of Bao’an District in Shenzhen & Urban Planning, Land & Resources Commission of Shenzhen Municipality

Location: Shenzhen, China

Year: 2018 – 2019

Team: NAUTA architecture & research, VTLab London, Metrostudio Shenzhen


How to mitigate the negative effects of an infrastructure based on car traffic and design it to rather adapt nature to the transformations that climate change will bring?

The Shenzhen government is planning to rethink a relatively new portion of the Highway along the Pearl river delta. This infrastructure will soon intersect another highway, which entering the bay, will turn into the Shenzhen-Zhuhai bridge.

In order to minimize the environmental impact of this structure, the government is planning to move the highways’ intersection underwater.
Feasibility studies have been carried out in order to evaluate the impact of such structure, as well as the costs and benefits of different structural typologies.

We have been invited to envisage the potential for transforming this artificial island from a mere technical ventilation shaft into a landscape landmark.
We entered this challenge trying minimizing the impact of the infrastructure and design it as a self-sustainable cluster; An island capable of producing its own energy, collect and discharge rain water, use it for its natural cycles, reuse and compost its waste, react to water rise by defending the interior landscape, while leaving its outer boundary to flood when necessary, produce algae for water phytodepuration and as natural fertilizer; An enclosed natural circle, as much as possible not depending on the depletion of external energy sources.

Our project creates a thematic island that includes leisure, nature and sustainable energies production. An underground parking makes the upper landscape accessible only by boat, feet, bike or small electric vehicles.




Project name: ELAB 未来人居原型空间产品研发设计任务书
ELAB Future Living Prototype Space

Status: Delivered patent, design development

Program: Flexible housing units for urban dwellers in China

Total area: Type A – 97 sqm + 50 terrace; Type B – 77 sqm + 14 sqm terrace

Budget: confidential

Client: Shanghai Ding Zhuo Network Technology Co., Ltd – 上海定卓网络科技有限公司

Location: Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing. China

Design: 2017/2018

Team: NAUTA architecture & research: Valentina Cella, Anastasia Celli, Maurizio Scarciglia, Francesca Vanelli, Tianyi Xue, Nur Zayat

The Max Transformer

Cities are becoming very big. Thy are so enormous that living in a metropolis means today living in a constellation of cities, where we might live in one and work in another, basing our lifestyle on traditional commuting patterns.

Cities are a good invention, many say. They bring together smart minds, they boost the economic power of a region, they generate opportunities. Cities cluster immense numbers of people in one single spot, emptying the countryside from its human power and micro economy. Nevertheless, everybody is attracted to the city and all trends predict massive growth in urban population, with an exponent need for sustainable housing, for new complex and extended family patterns.

Nowadays spend the biggest chuck of our existence in between production and consumption activities. We wake up in the morning and move to our office where we spend almost the whole day, till the time we grab some grocery and go back home to spend the few  left hours of the day with our beloved ones. This lifestyle has generated a vast opinion on the need to reduce our housing to minimum space, where we can satisfy the essential needs of privacy and rest, while externalizing all social activities outside, in a square, a bar, a restaurant, a club. Cities like Tokyo or Hong Kong are the perfect example of this lifestyle. Because of the insane costs for housing, here people can live into units as small as 15sqm, spending most of their time outside and reducing their belongings to the very essential.

These housing models offer very little space to kitchen and living, making sure that the inhabitants have the truly essential base for living: a shelter to rest and sleep. When looking at the latest trends though, we discover a multitude of lifestyles blossoming in our society. The evolution of the employment market, the switch from traditional long term employment to a more dynamic work environment, according to which youngsters are very encouraged to embrace entrepreneurial activities or multiple employment, consultancy and freelancing, are all factors that will deeply transform how we live.

It is not new the possibility to combine living and working in the same place, extending the brief of the architect when designing a house. Remote working and easy web communication make even more sustainable working at home, since people can drastically cut commuting time and maximize their time working and living in one place. This model brings as well the benefit of reinforcing so far threatened familiar relationships; it improves the quality of life of people otherwise forced to spend hours in public transport every day, while cutting the number of cars moving in our cities, thus reducing pollution.

So what will the future of urban dwelling look like? Will it shrink to minimum size living, or will it host all necessary spaces that a human being needs during the day? Will it externalize social activities or embed work and entertainment in one single place? Perhaps the answer to this doubt will translate in a system capable to absorb different wishes and therefore the housing market will gradually offer the flexibility to customize every dwelling according to the specific needs of its inhabitants.

From hyper fragmented dwellings we move to loft models, where the wishes of the buyer can potentially customize the same units into very different solutions. How to accommodate this flexibility, how to make it technologically smart, economically sustainable, are design tasks for the coming future. One more issue to consider is the multi-functionality of the residential clusters, in order to offer all necessary amenities to the local inhabitants. These functions space from office spaces to retail and entertainment facilities, such as shops, restaurants, gym, spa, as well as cultural venues, transforming the new real estate developments into complex leasable machines. The multi-functional developments can benefit from the flexible program, in order to absorb possible shifts of market and therefore become buffers for the developers’ investments. The mix of functions cuts as well on distances, favouring the sustainable mobility in the city. In this perspective, mixed use developments, combined with housing, are to be incentivized.

We could summarize the key arguments driving the future urban dwelling as being:

– exponential growth of urban population, which will increase the need of housing stock

– the transformation of familiar patterns, with a growing number of families composed by one or two persons.

– Climate change and the impact of fossil fuel will affect tremendously new lifestyles, drove by the urgency for new sustainable forms of transportation and mobility.

– The virtual world will blur the strict separation between working and living spaces, improving remote working.

– Dynamic lifestyles will transform the concept of property, favouring the concepts of ‘sharing’ and ‘temporary’. Emblematic is the case of Airbnb, Uber, Couch Surfing, apps that support the modern nomadic lifestyle.

– Housing prices in the city centres are growing exponentially worldwide. This will either bring to the exclusivity of city centres, accessible only to high social classes, or to the shrink of housing size.

In light of this, the new housing will bring to compact developments of micro apartments, developed within multifunctional clusters, micro cities within the metropolitan magma.

Suspended floor

This project is an exploration on flexibility, based of the internal height of the apartment. The requested prototype should have an internal height of  3.0 m. This makes us think that, beside working on traditional sliding walls, we could take advantage of extra space located under an added floating floor.

We provide the dwelling with a suspended, partially movable floor, that in its normal position is lifted 60 cm from the actual structural floor, reducing the standard internal height to 2.40m . When the portions of movable floor are lowered, the dwelling presents internal pits, reaching 3.0 m height. The hollow space below the suspended floor accommodates beds, couches, chairs, provided with wheels for their easy manual sliding.

This system offers the the maximal flexibility when the floor is lifted and all furniture are stored underground. We propose three pits that can be used as 3 bedrooms or 2 bedrooms and one living room. In order to divide the spaces into private rooms, we engineered a system of sliding/rotating closets that can parcel the spaces, while lodging closets, TV, as well as the necessary sound proof partitions between rooms.

To materialize the prototype the market offers sophisticated hydraulic movable systems, as well as simple pulling-ropes systems, adapting to the different budgets from the investors purchasing the patent. Combined with a completely foldable glass façade, the plan allows the maximal flexibility of the apartment, offering an internal open space of approximately 80 sqm. This can additionally be summed to the terrace, reaching a total open space of approximately 130 sqm. Our goal is to offer the possibility to have simultaneously the maximal open space, as well as a normal 3 rooms apartment with kitchen and two bathrooms. Kitchen and bathrooms are packed on one side of the apartment, providing space for all movable furniture in a unique efficient block. The open corner of the flat offers a perfect location for a panoramic Jacuzzi bathtub that in the summer can offer an open air spa experience.







如果我们去观察在大城市中人们的生活方式,当今我们在生产和消费中所花费的是最多的。每天早晨去公司上班,花几乎整天的时间在办公室,下班后去超市买点市场所需,花费很少的时间与我们的家人在一起。这样的生活方式产生了一个广泛的选择是在满足基本室内空间需求和休息隐秘的情况下,将我们的居住面积竟可能的减小。提高室外的社交活动如:广场 酒吧 餐厅,夜店等









如果我们去观察在大城市中人们的生活方式,当今我们在生产和消费中所花费的是最多的。每天早晨去公司上班,花几乎整天的时间在办公室,下班后去超市买日常所需,花费很少的时间与我们的家人在一起。这样的生活方式产生了一个新的的选择是:在满足基本室内空间需求和休息隐秘的情况下,将我们的居住面积竟可能的减小。提高室外的社交活动如:广场 酒吧 餐厅,夜店等。









  • 城市人口的增长将增加住房所需
  • 家庭模式的变化,一人或丁克的家庭数量增长
  • 气候变化和燃料大量使用影响新生活方式,需要走向新的可持续发展的交通方式和流动性。
  • 网络 世界也会影响生活方式,工作和生活空间没有明显界限和提高了家中工作方式
  • 动态的生活方式将改变购买住房的概念,支持共享和临时的概念。具有代表性的应用程序都支持现代流动的新生活方式
  • 城市中心的房价的增长使城市中心具有排他性,非常高的社会阶层的人,或选择住房小尺寸来满足城市中心居住的可能。




  • 城市人口的增长将增加住房所需
  • 家庭模式的变化,一人或丁克的家庭数量增长
  • 气候变化和燃料大量使用影响新生活方式,需要走向新的可持续发展的交通方式和流动性。
  • 网络世界也会影响生活方式,工作和生活空间没有明显界限,家中工作方式将提高。
  • 动态的生活方式将改变购买住房的概念,支持共享和临时性。具有代表性的Airbnb, Couch surfing,应用程序都支持现代流动的新生活方式
  • 城市中心的房价的增长使城市中心具有排他性,高的社会阶层的人,或选择住房小尺寸来满足城市中心居住的可能。





Program: Spatial and economic regeneration of the New York State canal system, comprised of the Erie Canal, the Oswego Canal, the Cayuga-Seneca Canal and the Champlain Canal.

Size: 524-mile water network

Budget: N/A

Client: New York State, Canal Corporation 

Location: New York State, USA

Design: 2017-2018

Team: NAUTA architecture & research, ARCADIS New York, New York University, HZ University Vlissingen (NL)


As a first stage of the competition, publicly available data have been collected to gather a broad understanding existing conditions along the Canal. The collected data includes: infrastructure, existing paths and trails, harbors and ports, population, ecological networks, locations of touristic activities and energy resources. A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis (SWOT) was carried out to identify areas of opportunity. Some of the findings include an abundance of spaces for tourism and recreational activities, an initiated shift towards renewable energies and a fair national and local infrastructure. The project goals can be accomplished by building upon these strengths and opportunities, as well as mitigation or preventive actions can be undertaken by analyzing threats and weaknesses.

During the implementation phase, additional information will be collected such as land use, flood risk maps, topography, surplus properties, historical sites, ecological networks, existing paths and trails. This information will be layered in an interactive map which will be used as a tool that helps in decision-making. The data will be consolidated in an opportunity index along the Canal, generated upon diverse characteristics and assets along it. Specific areas of opportunity for development and project implementation will be identified and carefully evaluated through this methodology.

Through mapping problems and opportunities, our analytical methodology allows us to proceed identifying focused areas of interventions, in which multiple phenomena occur simultaneously or singularly, making clear which actions could better enhance the specific local condition. This operation allows as well to control both scales, regional and local, in order to address different solutions and allocate them into proper planning instruments (whether regional or local). This process results into Macro and Micro strategies along the Canal, in order to achieve the project’s goals on long and short terms. Each strategy  is described below as they relate to the project goals.

Promoting the Canal System as a tourist destination and recreational asset

Bringing people to the waterfront.  New ways of interacting with the river can be implemented by taking advantage of existing conditions of the Canal. Specific examples include densifying along the river edge with sustainable and well-proportioned residential and commercial developments. Nature trails will be completed to allow for recreational activities along the Canal. Increasing access points to the Canal will promote its use for aquatic activities. The development of infrastructure can include parks and outdoor theaters providing spaces to interact and engage in leisure activities. The new developments and infrastructure along the river shall observe impacts to current topography, nature, flood risk, storm water re-directioning, etc. to ensure a long-term project life cycle. Focus of the tourism strategy will be the careful monitoring and avoidance of negative gentrification and the promotion of a healthy commercial development based on the real resources along the canal. This implies a continuous cooperation with locals and a constant evaluation of positive and negative effects of each change, with the purpose of promoting and informing wise investments.

Promoting the heritage and historic values of the Canal System

Efficient decision making through community engagement. To abide by the interests of different jurisdictions administrating the same area and the combination of national, county and local governance, a participated planning process will be implemented. It will be focused on inclusive involvement and active communication on all steps. Including all governances and collaborating with historians, will allow the development projects to be aligned to the historic values, preserve and promote the heritage of the Canal System. Participated planning and inclusive design help to ease decision making, informing all political, social and commercial parties involved. It preserves transparency in the process, budget control; it enhances team work and facilitates proactivity in the implementation of smaller projects. It helps as well to reduce the governance complexity by promoting self-initiated projects and low budget implementations, either for the long term or for provisionary actions. It is proved from international examples that participated design is worldwide becoming a practical tool to make things happen, avoiding bottleneck effects in decision making.

Other aspect to address concerning heritage preservation, is related to the rich stock of vacant buildings along the canal, most of which presenting relevant industrial quality. This becomes an important opportunity to preserve historical values, as well as reducing building costs by retrofitting and reuse operations. The volume of this phenomena is important enough to become a real chapter of our strategic framework, because it implies as well a requalification of very decadent public spaces.

Promoting the long-term financial sustainability of the Canal System and sustainable economic development along the canals and beyond

Shift to a circular economy. By promoting local engagement and employment in the cultural, tourism, agriculture, commercial markets. This strategy encourages the inclusion of the most socially fragile layer of the community, unemployed or in complex familiar situations. Promoting local employment contributes to fostering social health, wellbeing and safety. 

Enhance residential densification. Urbanization and densification are positive actions for a sustainable development, when density is adapted to the real local conditions. This means that, in order to pursue a sustainable development, it is necessary to spill program on the canal, as well as adding a reasonable stock of residential opportunities (living, lodging, health assistance, student residences), that can improve the human frequentation of the spaces, their social control, safety and livability. Specific areas will be identified where the natural context and the presence of human settlements coexist in a healthy balance. (It means that keeping communities too small is not sustainable for a long term development. It is proved that all world populations are attracted by metropolitan areas, for all the opportunities that they offer, for work, culture and lifestyle. This means that promoting a rural model is a failure and that in order to promote a sustainable long term realistic economic development of the region, it is necessary to transform the current fragile pattern of shrinking centers into a constellation of micro cities, possibly complementary in economic specialty. This is associated with a sustainable mobility system that allows those cities to work as a metropolitan network. This concept is quite wide and complex, I am aware of that, but it is key to solve any contemporary urban development. Therefore we need to explain this with practical reference to the actions to promote it, such as the addition of new inhabitants and work opportunities that can bring a reasonable demographic volume for a long term economic success and avoid possible future migrations). 

Enhance sustainable mobility

Complete the network of all mobility layers by adding a soft layer of sustainable mobility (bikes, walking paths, electric mobility, bus or shuttle etc.). Integrated to this, implement a sustainable temporary strategy for parking areas/buildings, leading to the progressive elimination of cars and switch to a TOD (traffic oriented development) on the long term. Parking facilities will be progressively transformed to new uses.

Promote the culture of waste recycling in all scales and forms. Waste is proved not only to enhance the culture of environmental preservation (global warming fight and all related matters) but most importantly to activate an upcycle of economic development that can generate new entrepreneurial opportunities and technological innovations. It is a true opportunity for economic differentiation and growth. (Waste is not only meant anymore in the conventional cycle of lower use – from paper to toilet paper for example- but in a new cycle that generates higher quality products. Think for instance about the Nike shoes produced with plastic bags found in the ocean and similar cases. This is a true future economic field of investment and leadership.