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Ways of Constructing Intimacy: Experimental Urban Regeneration

Part 2 Project 2022
Isabel Lois Fox
Newcastle University | UK
The project explores a method of folding (similar to the surrealist game ‘exquisite corpse’ through its unexpected connections) as an example of experimental urban renewal in response to Italy’s housing and climate crises. Distancing itself from cultural fashions of the fold and its use by the neo-avant-garde to enact spectacle and produce large one-off-structures, the project studies inhabitation of Rome’s social housing to demonstrate how folding can be used at the smallest scale as a form of self-determined regeneration. It aims to create a better quality of life, promote the experimental and adaptive re-use of existing structures and generate more intimate environments than those incurred by orthodox urbanism.

The topic of intimacy is vital to the problems of mass housing to avoid responses that are limited to anonymous, repetitive units. This thesis examines structures of ‘external intimacy’ (communal housing blocks) and ‘internal domesticity’ (individual homes) so that the ‘interior’ and ‘city’ intermix. By subverting the historic trends of modernist urban planning (a typically macro-micro approach) and utilising reclaimed materials, the renovations resist the destructiveness of dominant production and promote an alternative system for Rome’s continued development – an endless recycling of building fabric against resource exploitation and fetishization of the ‘NEW’.

Isabel Lois Fox

Gary Boyd
Dr Nathaniel Coleman
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