Architecture (Didactic Unit)
The Didactic Unit of Architecture is located in a building once used as military barracks, located on the south edge of the island of Ortigia, in Siracusa. The barracks have been offered to the University of Catania, free of charge and for good, by the Ministry of Defence. It currently hosts the dean office, the dean secretariat, the general secretariat, the IT room, a few classrooms and professors’ offices.
The University Office for Extraordinary Maintenance, following an in-house consultation within the didactic unit among teachers and researchers, has conceived project for re-use in order to set up more classrooms, an auditorium, a plastigraphics laboratory, the library, exhibiting spaces and refreshment areas.
By the project for re-use, the University of Catania, in full synergy with the University Consortium "Archimede", has concretely implemented a strategic choice made in 1996-97, the year the school was established, i.e. paving the way for a sound university decentralisation in terms of a source of development and re-development of Siracusa’s historic centre, whose architectural and environmental value has been acknowledged with its inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The unit’s main objective is to train specialised professionals that are able to solve architecture and construction-related issues, at times extremely complex, using an interdisciplinary approach. The curriculum leading to the architectural project shall therefore consist of three phases: from mastering the languages and the compositional principles of the object to the relational, constructive and technological aspects; from mastering the places and contexts to the complexity of urban and territorial issues. From this perspective, the didactic unit, without neglecting the best architectural examples built over time on the whole planet, cannot help paying the utmost attention to the context within which it operates: the millenary palimpsest of Siracusa and the eight towns in the ‘Noto Valley’ (Caltagirone, Militello Val di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa Ibla e Scicli) included in the World Heritage List.
The young people who are about to start their academic career at the School, who mainly come from the areas of Catania, Siracusa and Ragusa, therefore have the opportunity to study urban contexts that have considerably contributed to the history of architecture and against which they will be necessarily required to confront the works of architecture and urban planning that they will have the opportunity to design.
Another strategic objective of the Didactic Unit consists in enhancing its internationalisation plans. The school, through research projects led by its professors and through Erasmus/Socrates scholarships, has already initiated profitable exchange relations with Universities in Portugal, Spain, France, Hungary, Greece, Latin America (Peru and Mexico) and the United States, but it aims at establishing further relationships with the Universities of Mediterranean Countries, thus fully participating in the project for a polytechnic institute, which has already been launched by our University.