How Giuseppe has used
3D modeling to prepare
the visual assets of his book

Giuseppe Caldarola is an architect, living and working in Venice, Italy.

After studying architecture in Ireland, at IUAV University of Venice, he started his academic career there, first with a PhD, then collaborating with several courses and workshops, and at the same time developing several research and publications.

He had an active role in “Laboratori Metropolitani“, an iterative workshop that in the last decade analyze and developed ideas for some of the biggest metropolitan areas of the world, from Daar er Salaam to Santiago, from Moscow to New York.

Along with his academic career, the years he also pursues a professional career, working as an independent architect.

Wanna know more about Giuseppe and his works? Take a look at the interview below, and visit the website of IUAV university of Venice

“The results were really, really incredible. I suggest you choose really significant clients, cause you have to deal with complexity.”

Giuseppe Caldarola

Architect @ Studio Caldarola Spazioarchitettura

Archigram . Plug-in city . 3D modeling

Giuseppe, alongside with his team captained by professor Aldo Aymonino, is working on a book named “measured utopias“. The book is at the moment under publication. In this publication, they are tring to understand the 23 most important cases on the urban utopias, and to assign dimensions, contests, general data to compare all the cases and to obtain several informations, which are not so clear at the moment. They work, for example, on the mile high Illinois made by Frank Lloyd Wright, or the Broadacre project of the same architect or the project for the Ville Radieuse made by Le Corbusier or the linear city made by Soria Y Mata. Or for instance, the Magnitogorsk project made by Leonidov for an industrial city in Russia, never realized. They have considered these 23 cases as the most significants to understand the way of working with urban complexity, by breaking the preexisting conditions.

One of the most important of these urban utopias is plug-in city. Developed between 1963 and 1966, Plug-In City is a conceptual city comprising personalised pre-fabricated homes that are inserted into high-rise megastructures.

The concept was developed while Cook, Crompton and fellow Archigram members Michael Webb, David Greene, Warren Chalk and Ron Herron were working for Taylor Woodrow Design Group.

Starting from the original drawings that you can see above, we create a 3D model the most accurate possible with the original project: below you can see some images extracted from the 3D model.

Using the 3D model, Giuseppe was able to obtain the drawings that will be published in the book.


Paolo: Hey everyone, Paolo here. Today I have Giuseppe, an assistant professor of university IUAV, in Venice, here in Italy, and we are going to see how Giuseppe has used the 3D modeling to prepare the visual assets of his book. So, hi Giuseppe, could you please briefly introduce yourself and your work.

Giuseppe: Yeah. I’m an assistant professor in the IUAV university of Venice. I worked there since well, 15 years. I started with my PhD program in 2007 and then I become assistant professor and I worked on several courses and workshops in architectural design and urban design.

Paolo: And could you tell us something more about which courses do you follow and which workshop also.

Giuseppe: Yeah. In the last decade I worked on the workshops, a series of workshops. The general name is laboratori metropolitani, metropolitan laboratories. A series of courses and workshops, joined workshops with several international universities, starting from Sao Paolo, more or less 10 years ago. And then we worked on Dar Es Salaam, New York City, Santiago de Chile, Hong Kong, Nanjing, in China, Moscow. It’s a really critic place at today. With a lot of students coming from 3 different universities here in Italy, the main university, the IUAV university of Venice and then working with Polytechnic university of Marche. And the Mediterranean university of Reggio Calabria and the hosting university, the international one, with their students, trying to work on cases, metropolitan cases, which are really, really crucial, for better understanding the actual living conditions in metropolitan contest.
Or working on several different areas, areas which are under transformation, which are really, really significant to understand the general topics, general indications in which way we can deal with complexities, with densities, with conditions which are really, really different compared with the European one. So, Paolo is one of our students. We worked, I think, on New York city.

Paolo: Yeah. On New York.

Giuseppe: More or less six or seven years ago,

Paolo: Also more I think. Time pass really fast. Okay, now I have a difficult question for you. What do you think make you a good teacher, good in teaching. And if there is something unique about your way of teaching

Giuseppe: I don’t think really, really different compared with other colleagues, but I think that we, me and my working group, the professor Aldo Aymonino, the full professor I work with, we use to work in different ways. The first one is working in the classroom here in the IUAV university of Venice, trying to arrange courses, architectural design courses, working in a really, really integrated way. Dealing with several topics starting from the architectural design or on the urban design, but trying to match the architectural top topics with landscape, with transportation, with other disciplines, to set projects able to deal with complexity to match in themself several topics, which are the really, really central issues, the core issues of our contemporary way of working.

Paolo: Absolutely. Yeah. Okay. And, can I ask you why you decided to follow academic career instead of professional career?

Giuseppe: I tried to match the academic career with the practice in my office. I have a small office in the south of Italy, but the main part of my time is spent working in the university. So, I think that the academical way of working can be a help, significant help for my mind to complete my way of working or to maintain the general organization of my working, or to complete or to increase I dunno… I think that is really, really important to work with the students to deal with new indications, to deal with several different conditions in the architectural practice. I think that we have a lot of bureaucracy. We have to deal with something which is not significant compare with the main general indications that we can receive by the academical debate. So there are two different words. The first one, the general topics that came from the international debate to receive the general informations of what the world is dealing with. And if I can use that general topics to complete my practice in my office, I think that this could be a good value, a good way of matching two different worlds.

Paolo: Yeah, absolutely. I will say also that having the possibility to teach in Venice is a plus because yeah, it’s not a ordinary place. It’s a special place

Giuseppe: Venice really it’s extraordinary place.

Paolo: Yeah. Okay. And I would like to go at the beginning, like, I would like to know what you were doing before starting your profession, your career at the university.

Giuseppe: I was a student. I’m 42 years old. And then I studied in Venice, starting from the last two year of the last century. And the discussion of my thesis at the beginning of 2006. And then starting from June the same year, I started with my PhD program. So there is a sort of continuous line starting from the student and then coming from the first side of the table on the other side.

Paolo: Great. Okay. And I know how hard it must be your work. So I would like to know which are your frustrations in your daily work, your problems.

Giuseppe: There are a lot of problems.

Paolo: You have to make another interview for this.

Giuseppe: Cause you have to consider, and you know, better than me that working here in Italy is not so easy. So we have to deal with bureaucracy. We have to deal with a lot of different problems in the architectural practice. But I think that starting from the problems, Italians do it better. We have to experience the several possibilities of matching solutions, find solutions, several solutions. So, I think that dealing with places here in Italy… It’s signified to work in a place without clear rules. So you have to understand which are the possible rules and you have to find instantly solutions. So I think that it’s a good exercise.

Paolo: Yeah. I would say that when we go to work outside Italy, we can have a good sprint. We can be in a good position since we have to deal with all the problems of our country.

Giuseppe: When we were in the other foreign universities, we found different different rules, really, really clear. When we worked with several partner, international partners, not only in the academical position, but in the professional one too, we found different ways of working. And more simple if possible, but for sure, more clear. So I repeat, it’s a good exercise working here in Italy.

Paolo: Absolutely. Okay, great. And, do you remember how we met?

Giuseppe: So I think that the first occasion was the architectural course

Paolo: I would say, New York was the first one. The workshop in New York.

Giuseppe: You have better memory than me.

Paolo: Yeah, it was a great experience, New York was wonderful, also because it’s really another world, also the university, something completely different from here.

Giuseppe: Yeah. Experienced the possibility of having the curricular course here in Venice, but at the same, the possibility of working with complexities, urban complexity, by staying in the same complexity. And I think that the possibility of working on New York city is a really, really good experience. Consider that, we said seven or six years.

Paolo: Eight years.

Giuseppe: Eight years. We are now working on New York city too. Again, we are using again, New York city as the study case for our curricular course, cause we think that having students coming from several different contest. Dealing with New York city can be considered at the moment, a good exercise to receive a lot of different informations in terms of complexities, in terms of densities, in terms of matching. Teams or topics comes from the landscape tools, from the transportation tools. And so on. Or, dealing with sociological issues, in terms of formation, I think that the architect can have to deal with several disciplines, not directly connected with the architectural way of working on the architectural approach.

Paolo: Yes, absolutely. Okay. And now I would like to know, I would like that you speak a bit more about the project for what you ask my service, the publication.

Giuseppe: Yeah. With the professor Aldo Aymonino, we are working ,starting from six or seven years ago, again, on a book. The Italian name is utopie misurate, or translated in English measured Utopias. The book is at the moment under publication. We are dealing with the press office at the moment. The book is on a general research. We try to understand or to study the 23 most important cases on the urban utopias, and to assign dimensions, contests, general data to compare all the cases and to obtain several informations, which are not so clear at the moment. So consider that we have prepared a sequence of drawings starting from redesigning the general case, we have 23, I repeat 23 cases starting from, for instance, the skyscraper, the mile high Illinois made by Frank Lloyd Wright, or the Broadacre project of the same architect or the project for the Ville Radieuse made by Le Corbusier or the linear city made by Soria Y Mata. Or for instance, the Magnitogorsk project made by Leonidov for an industrial city in Russia, never realized. These 23 cases, we have considered them as the most significants to understand the way of working with complexity, again, urban complexity, by breaking the preexisting conditions. Cause I think that working with the tools of the utopia, is a necessity for the architects, a way to explore other possibilities by limiting the way of maintaining the existing conditions. So, this book tries to hat a small fragment of knowledge, a small fragment of general indications on these possible study cases. There are a lot of other possible cases, but the book try to set up trace, a way of working with utopia. There are some historical indications from the literature. And then a sequence of drawings. So working with Paolo is really, really important to obtain specific drawings, which are really, really significant, really, really clear for better understanding the study case.

Paolo: And can you tell us about the specific case we work together and why you needed my service and what was the problem about that?

Giuseppe: Yeah. Starting from the general sequence of cases, we try to explore and to understand the case of, the project of plugin city made by the architectural group archigram. It’s a really, really significant study case. Cause I think that we can for sure indicate the plugin city project as the principle one, which try to break the existing urban conditions, trying to explore a completely different way of drawing a city or a portion of it. But I think that the Archigram project is clear in this, imageable by all of you, we have a sequence of drawings, an axonometric view, and two or three significant sections. Without any other drawings. And if we work by comparing this small sequence of drawings, we cannot understand everything. This project is really, really significant in terms of general image. But if we try to understand in which way that portion of the city can really work or can really be, we cannot understand anything. So when we work with Paolo, we start by this sequence of drawings and we try to understand in which way that city can work, that project can be really realized. So it’s not only a problem of rearrange a set of drawings, which are the base for understanding the entire project, but a way of reconstruct the general idea, starting from the drawing. So, our first step, starting from the existing drawings to redesign the city. Then again, coming back to the original drawings to understand the preliminary idea, the general concept. So academic research and architectural practice. I need to match two worlds, two different worlds. The one made by the architectural practice, the experience of an architect that can realize a model by using the general techniques of 3d modeling, using several programs to obtain the result of having a drawing, which is comparable with the original drawings made by the Archigram group.

Paolo: If I can say it was a really interesting job sincerely, because at the beginning I was just looking at the drawings and tried to understand how to match them. And it was really difficult, because, uhit’s not like there where clearly quotes or a specific plan, but yeah, at the end it was a really interesting job to do together.

Giuseppe: Looking at the original drawings, the general idea is completely clear. But if you go deeper trying to understand, in which way the drawings can work, that portion of the city can be realized you cannot understand anything.

Paolo: Yes. Okay.

Giuseppe: And the results are really, really incredible.

Paolo: And why you decided to give me the job?

Giuseppe: Good question. I decided cause, for sure, I consider you as the one that can generate a significant model. I really, really appreciate your work, your way of working. As I said before, I don’t have the necessity of an architect only able to redesign a model. In this case, you have to deal not only with the ability, the capability of using a pen or a mouse. I have the necessity of working with an architect that can work with his mind using his mind. So I think that the previous workshops and courses, can be useful in indication to understand that Paolo can absolve this work.

Paolo: Thank you. And, okay. So what results did you see working together?

Giuseppe: So I’ve said before the results, really incredible, not only a good model, but completely clear and completely comparable with the original drawings. So, good job.

Paolo: Now that we have worked together, do you think I would be a good fit for one figure or another? And would you recommend me to others?

Giuseppe: I think that you work on everything and with every one of us. I suggest you to choose really, really significant clients. Cause I think that you have to deal with complexity. I think that the case of the Archigram’s drawing, can be a good way to indicate that you can work with drawings, or a mug, or a part of the city. So, you can work on several, several possibilities. Not only in architectural design. The 3d model of the Archigram’s project is really, really difficult. So it is a good case to experiment several possibilities, not only in the specific practice. You have to deal with using the mind, it’s the main engine of the architectural practice. So I think that working on the 3d modeling is not only to arrange a drawing. I think that everybody can be an expert in the 3d modeling, but modeling without using mind can generate monsters or really, really good works. That’s the really difference the center, the core issue of the practice of Paolo, your practice.

Paolo: Thanks. Okay. Now I would like to come back to you. What is coming up in your life, in your academic life? There is something new, or in your personal life also.

Giuseppe: In my personal life. Oh, searching another job. I think that all of us have to deal with changing life completely and in several occations. I think that in each moment you have to search something different to maintain sort of continuous exercise, to work with different possibilities or different locations or different contests. So every time you have a new client, you have to deal with something different. So I think that architects have to maintain their mind under exercise.

Paolo: I agree with you. Absolutely. okay. And now I would like to know what is your first advice for architects who want to follow an academic career?

Giuseppe: Um, really difficult question… to be really, really patient and to maintain the curiosity on several cases, several topics.

Paolo: And can you tell us where can people find out more about your publication and about you?

Giuseppe: I think on the web page of the IUAV university of Venice, you. Searching my name you can find a lot of work pages on publications, on research, research topics, and so on.

Paolo: Great. So thank you very much. It was a pleasure to speak with you and bye, everyone.

Giuseppe: For me too. And I think it will be a pleasure to work again with you.

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