Transversal territory 2023: a workshop between city and nature


Institutional Communication Service

21 July 2023

To nourish the imagination and broaden the scope of environmental sensitivity through an unprecedented experience immersed in living space. This is the objective of Transversal-Territory, the workshop curated by architect Antoine de Perrot at the USI Academy of Architecture. The Academy students and the local community will together create artistic, landscape, architectural and performative projects within the area of the city of Mendrisio.

After analysing the 'Rime e Brecch' neighbourhood in 2022, this year the 'Acqua Fresca' area, located upstream of Mendrisio, was chosen. This area is of particular interest because it is a meeting place and a link between the city and nature. With its sources of drinking water, the evocative theme of water as a precious resource and an essential parameter of future urban development was placed at the centre.

The project therefore aims to enhance the Mendrisio area through installations created by a dozen or so students of the Academy's Master's course and as many members of the public of all ages. Currently the focus is on a more theoretical phase to develop the concepts that will then lead to the preparation of the materials and the production of the installations that will be presented to the public from 15 to 17 September. Here are some impressions of the participants.

"Personally, I didn't really know what to expect from this workshop," explains one Academy student, "the site looked very interesting to me, but I was worried about the idea of working with such a difficult element such as water for only one week. I really enjoyed the whole process of studying, getting to know the site, the element of water, the space in general. I had never worked with my body before this workshop. Thanks to you I had the opportunity to further my personal growth. Walking in the water was a really crazy experience, I perceived my body and the surrounding space in a different, unfamiliar way for the first time. The working group was very diverse but that was a strong point, being able to talk to local people too, to have totally different points of view for me was a privilege.  It was a very positive experience, I look forward to continuing to develop the project in September."

"Je pense que la force de cette semaine intense a été la découverte d’espaces mystérieux, cachés et/ou simplement non-accessibles au public (les grottes, les sources, les infrastructures souterraines etc.) " continues another student "Ces expériences ont été renforcées par les échanges et les contacts noués avec les habitants de Mendrisio. Ce format est à mes yeux unique et doit être perpétué. Vous avez inventé une recette très enrichissante."

"A 57-year-old postman sat down to plan with students who offer something more and being able to feel part of as well as participant is worth all this and I would say an honour and I am proud to be there again this year and as strange as it was last year... Thank you all for your commitment. " says a Mendrisio resident.

" Regarding the workshop, I found myself discovering aspects of a city that were mostly unknown to me." A student continues: "It was thanks to my classmates and the people of Mendrisio that it was possible to create the right atmosphere to think outside the box and produce some very interesting work. It was certainly formative from a personal point of view but also professionally because sometimes it is enough to interpret the territory in a transversal and non-ordinary way in order to make use of it for example in a project."

"On the other hand, as far as my experience is concerned, for me personally it helped a lot to realise that it is never too late to change your mind in the process. I think this is also very important for working as an architect, it is never too late to change and follow your instincts. Also, being in contact with nature and spending so much time outdoors and in contact with water, I think it is always helpful to rediscover yourself. Thank you very much again for the experience." Academy student.

Transversal Territory is conceived and directed by Antoine de Perrot, aka Onzgi, a lecturer at the USI Academy of Architecture, architect, urban researcher and visual artist, with the collaboration of Mansoureh Aalaii, a physician, choreographer and dancer.
The project is a collaboration of the USI Academy of Architecture with the City of Mendrisio and co-supported by the industrial companies AIM.

Here you can find links to articles and news reports that have appeared in the local press:


Quotidiano RSI 13 luglio 2023
Documentario dell'edizione 2022 (Video Alberto Canepa)