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Charette Topics

Student Charette Objectives

The IFLA Student Charette of the 53rd IFLA World Congress is an intensive workshop open to graduate and undergraduate students in Landscape Architecture or those attending a Landscape Architecture course included in other programs (where their University does not include a program specifically identified as Landscape Architecture).

Universities and professors must endorse the participation of their students in this international workshop.The Charette gives students from all around the world the challenge to share methods and create successful landscape designs in a rich and exciting environment. Because the Charette takes place within a condensed period of time, and considers a very complex topic, it is recommended that students be at an advanced level in their studies, and preferably have had prior experiences in workshops of this nature.

Teams of 5 students will be selected to participate (please refer to the application forms). Selected teams will be guided throughout their work by Italian and International tutors with experience in landscape architecture and in working with students. 

The Charette will be held in Turin from April 16th to 19th, 2016. The site to be addressed is situated in the northeast suburbs of town (the Barca Bertolla area). Students will visit the project site, and receive specific information about it. 

The Charette gives participants the opportunity to create a new landscape architecture design by applying an integrated approach. Students are requested to work collaboratively and at pace in teams within a predetermined time period in order to meet a deadline.

Participants will be asked to present their resultant their work, explaining design goals and objectives. An international Jury will select the three best works to be awarded in the IFLA Awarding Ceremony and exhibited within the Congress venue.


Summary of the issues

The objective is to develop successful landscape design for the Barca Bertolla area. The focus will be on four main aspects:

  • Enhance the ecological value of the area
  • Enhance the mobility and the landscape connectivity
  • Promote the identity of traditional human activities and communities
  • Define local strategies for the enhancement of urban agriculture



The Nava Polman-Gerson Foundation, Duiven – The Netherlands, is the Charette’s main sponsor funding the prizes for the Charette to a total sum of $ 3,000 US.


Student Charette Topic

The Bertolla neighbourhood is located North of the Stura River, bordered by the San Mauro Torinese municipality to the East, between San Mauro Road to the North and the Metropolitan Electric Company’s sluicegate to the South. The neighborhood extends from the feet of the Turin hill to the Superga Basilica, a Baroque architectural treasure that holds the tombs of the Savoy dynasty in its crypts.

The large area is characterized by massive industrial complexes to the North, on the border of Settimo Torinese, which contrast with the few characteristic elements of the area such as the Stura Abbey and the many canals created since the 17th century.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the area, characterized by many canals that brought water to the vast fields planted with corn or livestock forage, became the Washerwoman’s quarter. They took advantage of the available water as well as the open spaces in the countryside to dry their work naturally. The Barca and Bertolla areas have always been considered a land of water thanks to the many canals and the presence of the Turin plane’s two principal rivers, the Po and the Stura, which historically constituted a source of income for the washerwomen and gravel diggers.

The activity of the washerwomen began to show signs of diminishing in the second half of the 20th century, an era in which the neighbourhood gradually became a decentralized suburban residence for the commuting workers working in the new industrial zones located to the North of the city, between the Dora and Stura rivers.Tumultuous property development occurred due to the outset of spontaneous industrial and craft activity and the unplanned imposition of residential buildings. The banks of the rivers were affected by a progressive degradation with the establishment of vegetable gardens, impromptu sheds and illegal dumping.

The urbanization process that occurred during the last century completely altered the agricultural and hydrological grids, making the environmental resources more fragile. Today, the Bertolla region presents a heterogeneous urban fabric that is composed of various building types: isolated and multi-storey buildings (typical of public residential housing) contrast with the small historic quarter, and the resulting open spaces lack organicity, harmony and connection. The relationship between the transportation network and the buildings is purely casual, since they were configured as leftover elements.

However, a renaissance of the Po’s right bank took place with the creation of the bridge-dam and the proclamation of the Meisino Park as a Specialized Nature Reserve, which includes the island of Bertolla. It has created a real naturalistic oasis in the city, a perfect stopping point for the numerous bird species that find a comfortable refuge here, exactly because it was preserved from the more aggressive aspects of construction thanks to its inaccessibility.

In this area, more than 160 species of mostly aquatic birds have been surveyed, which alternate during the course of the seasons. One of the most exceptional examples is that of a breeding colony of grey herons on the island’s poplars. This is the only example of urban heron colonies in Italy (and the second in Europe, after that of Amsterdam).

Over the last few years, numerous works have been carried out towards the safeguarding and requalification of the Meisino Park, such as the creation of a connection with the cyclepath along Lungo Stura Lazio, to safely connect the Park with Bertolla and the left bank of the Po, as well as along the Metropolitan Electric Company’s sluicegate north of Bertolla island, built by the city of Turin, that connects San Mauro Torinese to Moncalieri.


Bertolla today 

Bertolla, aside from being a neighbourhood, is a system of economics and traditions, a way of living that the progressive marginalization of the work of the washerwomen pushed towards the abyss.

With the consolidation of the washerwoman profession, the first entities with a mutualistic purpose were created, such as the Società Polisportiva Bertolla (1946) which constitutes a strong point in the aggregation of the area’s youth and in the following decades favored the creation of various forms of youth associations that chose sports as a means of staying together and to share an informative project.

These large economic and social transformations that took place in the 1960s resulted not only in the disappearance of the washerwomen and the culture that they upheld, but also in changes in the relationships between the people and the social structure of the neighbourhood.

Traditional forms of collaboration and support between the inhabitants diminished; changes in work (going to factories or offices) distanced the residents from one another, and reduced the occasions where they could meet and interact during their free time from work. New forms of entertainment contributed to distancing the younger generations from the neighborhood. Over just a few years, Bertolla transformed into a residential neighbourhood. Today, the residents are not characterized by any specific profession, because for the most part they all go to work elsewhere. The economic activities present are either craftsmanship or commercial, with a single particularity constituted by a Chocolate factory that has created a new tradition throughout the past 50 years.

In 1997, the Historic Group of Washerwomen was founded in order to keep the memory of the area alive, and with the aim of making the traditions of the neighborhood known. Thanks to this Group, in 2001 the Museum of Washerwomen was created, which exhibits objects and photography related to the neighbourhood and profession, often donated by the residents themselves.

On September 10th, 2005, the city named a part of the Bertolla street after the washerwomen, in part to recognize the work carried out by the historic group and to pass down the memory of the profession.