Education and Innovation - Pescara Summer School 2015

Italian universities often have difficulties in innovating and in proposing alternative teaching models, but sometimes something really positive happens that is able to coagulate teachers and students and create a spirit of real and constructive comparison. This was the Pescara Summer School.

Although there is a sort of oxymoron in the unification of the word Summer (summer, vacation, rest) with the word School (school, activity, work), the Department of Architecture - G. D'Annunzio University has bet on a didactic and activated model the Pescara Summer School with the aim of responding to the urban transformations of the cities of the Adriatic, through a project and research experience that directly involves students, undergraduates, teachers and tutors from various backgrounds.

The Pescara Summer School took place in the first two weeks of September as one of the five outputs of the memorandum of understanding between the Municipality of Pescara and the Department of Architecture of the G.D'Annunzio University. The Summer School had a very high number of enrollments (450 students), was structured in 10 Laboratories, more than 90 people worked there including teachers, tutors and collaborators, it addressed ten strategic areas of the city for a total of about 145 hectares of urban land, was joined by four foreign universities in the Adriatic basin, in a single evening 60 kg of pasta were cooked for more than 500 people. There were 15 collateral events also organized together with other associations, intentionally planned during the time frame of the Summer School, including conferences by external guests, Domus Day, the Architecture Festival under the equipped axis, the Open Spaces initiatives, City of Sand - or rather the construction of sand models on the beach -, the PechaKucha al Matta, the Ad'A award and more.

These aspects return the scope of the entire initiative which has turned into an exceptional event where the numbers of students have become the strong point, generating a critical mass that has literally invaded the headquarters of the Department of Architecture for the 12 days and has above all gave strength to external events involving, in addition to other students, also many professionals and citizens of Pescara.

For the first time the students used the Department as a “home”, arriving early in the morning and working until 24.00, the extended hours during which the Department remained exceptionally open. In moments of leisure, they played foosball or ball in the open spaces of the Department or simply sat on the steps to smoke a cigarette.

From a strictly didactic point of view, the students worked intensely, felt involved in a different experience, committed themselves and produced works that are certainly comparable, if not superior, to those they would have produced in a normal university course lasting of several months. Concentrating work and energy in a short period of time often produces positive effects and in this case it has given the students a sense of belonging that has united them in one big family, that of the students of the Pescara Summer School in 2015. .

Lorenzo Pignatti.