Hortus Conclus

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Axonometric, Line Drawing, Students

Hortus Conclus

Giancluca Calligaris,Lorenzo Rigonat & Federico Bullara


The project re-imagines and formulates an idea of the future of agriculture and its relationship to water in Italy’s north easternmost region of Friuli Venezia Giulia.


The starting point of the research is the river Isonzo, a 138-kilometre-long river, that crosses part of the region. This river’s drainage basin, serves for the irrigation of the many corn fields of Friuli’s flat land. To sustain all these fields, it needs plenty of water, as well as a small variety of crops, which will eventually end up in a standardisation of the landscape.

2_Allochthonous Vegetation

This results in two problems;

  1. The health conditions of this river, where the stream bed is currently narrowing
  2. The exploitation of water resources.

The project aims to create a few detention basins along the river, in strategical points, to store water during flooding to the release it when the river needs it as well as a means which can be taken advantage of for agricultural purposes.

4_Climatic Devices

Traditional agriculture uses a lot of water taken it mostly from rivers. Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture, the method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. This system uses much less water compared to traditional farming. The objective is to create a research centre along the basins for the study and integration of these new hydroponic systems in existing farms. The centre should include several laboratories as well as greenhouses, a market and a restaurant, but except for maintenance purposes, there will be no vehicular traffic inside this area, all the goods are to be transported through a drone system.

The project envisions the research centre as isolated in the countryside, helping to differentiate the landscape through the different variety of biomes placed right next to the laboratory and greenhouses, forming an enclosed garden, a Hortus Conclusus. The aim is for the garden to be enclosed, without a fence or a wall, but using the biodiversity of the river itself. The centre is intended not as a lonely building to which only its employees have access, but like a real “enclosed garden” to which private companies, researchers, the local farmers and visitors have access for different purposes.

5_Masterplan Zoom




Who influences you grafically?

I looked at and analysed a variety of references from different historical periods, starting from painters like Andrea Mantegna and Jacopo Bellini, the drawings of Jean Jacque Leque, and mixing these with more graphical references like the mid-seventies album sleeves designed by Francesco Messina for Franco Battiato, Giusto Pio and Raul Lovisoni. I was also intrigues by the works from Amid. Cero 9, Miralles and Junya Ishigami.

What defined the selection of drawings you choose to reveal the proposal through?

The Isometric views play an important part in my drawings. I chose this technique to reveal as many details as possible, from the structure and the space inside to the furniture and the scientific instruments of the research lab, in one image. On the other hand for the plan I was interested din forcing the grid to show as much as possible the distance and the relationtionship between all the elements (laboratory, greenhouse, relax areas and climatic devices) without inadequately showing the variety of vegetation and the different biomes that surround the structures.


What is your take on colour?

With regards to the colours, I preferred to use a pastel palette, in order to keep the dreamy and idealistic character of the project, emphasizing the crops with a more brilliant colour. For these I was influenced by a mixture of Aldo Rossi and Jean Jacques Leque.

Throughout these last two years I developed a passion for painting like the ones quoted above, mixing these with a highly-texturized images where the pastel colours meet the the modern technological subjects of the research lab.

3_Relax Devices

What dictated the construction of the two views?Were there any parameters? Why The central perspective?

I used the scales right in the close up to emphasize the central perspective, choosing and cutting them from “The Angelus” by J.F. Millet, to have both the visions of yesterday’s and tomorrow’s agriculture, without losing the human and sentimental touch that stands at the base of architecture.




Gianluca was born in Monfalcone, Italy, in 1990. Before graduating with a BSc in Architecture at the University of Trieste (UniTS) in 2015, he studied art at the Art School “Max Fabiani” in Gorizia. Actually enrolled in a MSc in Architecture at UniTS with focus on architectural rappresentation, learning from the old masters but with an eye on pop culture and digital art. Playing music with the band  TACDMY, touring Italy during winter and summer of 2017.



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