Course No.: 848188
Teaching: Prof Marjan Colletti PhD, Jade Bailey, Harry Hinton-Hard

Presentation <– click here


Soft architecture represents an exciting exploration in the field of architecture, challenging conventions and opening up new possibilities in terms of form, mobility, efficiency and sustainability.

Softness in architecture is an emerging concept that challenges the traditional notions of rigid, static structures. It involves a departure from the conventional use of hard materials and sharp angles, instead embracing elements that convey a sense of pliancy, flexibility, and fluidity. Soft architecture often incorporates materials like fabric, textiles, and even inflatable structures, creating a dynamic and adaptable environment.

The softness in architecture extends beyond the physical realm, encompassing experiential and sensory aspects. Spaces designed with softness in mind prioritize user comfort, well-being, and a harmonious connection with the surroundings. This approach introduces a more organic and responsive quality to architectural design, allowing structures to interact with occupants and the environment in a gentle, accommodating manner.

Moreover, the concept of softness in architecture aligns with sustainability and eco-conscious practices. The use of flexible materials and innovative construction techniques can contribute to more sustainable, energy-efficient, and resilient built environments. Soft architecture, with its emphasis on adaptability and responsiveness, reflects a contemporary shift towards human-centric, environmentally friendly design principles.


Harshness in the environment refers to challenging and severe conditions that can impact both natural landscapes and built environments.

Harshness in an architectural context an manifest in various forms, including extreme weather conditions, rugged terrains, or adverse climates. In natural settings, it may involve arid deserts, freezing tundras, or areas prone to frequent natural disasters.

In the built environment, harshness can pose challenges for infrastructure, architecture, and human habitation. Structures need to withstand and adapt to conditions such as intense heat, extreme cold, high winds, or frequent storms. Harsh environmental factors can influence material durability, energy efficiency, and the overall resilience of buildings and infrastructure.

Addressing harsh environmental conditions in design and construction requires strategic planning and the use of appropriate materials and technologies. This can involve implementing energy-efficient systems, designing for climate-specific challenges, and ensuring the durability of structures against the impact of harsh weather or geological conditions. Overcoming the harshness in the environment often involves a multidisciplinary approach that considers both natural and human-made elements to create sustainable and resilient solutions.



This architectural project seeks to explore and conceptualize innovative designs fostering adaptive urban symbiosis, aiming for a harmonious relationship between the built environment and the natural world in harsh climatic ecosystems. The focus will be on challenging conventional boundaries and redefining the role of architecture in extreme conditions.


We will embrace a prototypical approach to architecture, testing novel ideas and design methods. The exploration will assemble well-considered, research-led components to inform architectures inspired by softness, promoting a balance between resilience and adaptability.


The semester will concentrate on developing facade systems and small prototypical architectures, aiming to push the boundaries of conventional design practices.

Site Selection:

Sites will be situated in harsh environments currently unsuitable for human habitation or posing challenges in potential future scenarios. Harsh climates may include extreme temperatures, high altitudes, varying meteorological elements, unique topographic features, and fluctuating conditions. In order to locate our interventions, we well select sites according to articles from the National Geographic environment series. This chosen narrative will serve as a guiding theme and as a brief-building exercise. The objective is to provoke critical questions about the plausibility and credibility of proposed architectural solutions in the face of extreme conditions, aligning design thinking with real-world challenges.


1. Design Concepts:

– Innovative architectural designs fostering adaptive urban symbiosis.
– Prototypical facades and small-scale architectural prototypes.

2. Methodological Documentation:

– Detailed documentation of the prototypical methodology employed in the design process.
– Testing new thoughts and design methods, showcasing the evolution of ideas.

3. Research-Led Components:

– Compilation of well-researched components informing the final architectural solutions.

– Exploration and incorporation of softness-inspired elements in the designs.

4. Harsh Climate Solutions:

– Architectural solutions specifically tailored for harsh climatic ecosystems.
– Strategies challenging conventional design boundaries to address extreme conditions.

5. Site Integration:

– Site-specific interventions aligned with National Geographic environment series narratives.
– Critical analysis of the plausibility and credibility of proposed solutions in harsh environments.

6. Visual Presentations:

– Renderings, visualizations, and diagrams illustrating the design concepts.
– Presentation materials showcasing the harmony between built and natural elements.
– large 3D-printed models (supported by the Department).

7. Critical Reflections:

– Students’ reflections on the challenges faced and lessons learned during the design process.
– Evaluation of the adaptability and resilience of proposed architectural solutions.

8. Documentation of Site Selection Process:

– Documentation showcasing the selection process based on National Geographic articles.
– Examination of how chosen narratives influenced the design approach.

These outputs collectively aim to contribute to the exploration of cutting-edge design strategies that redefine the role of architecture in extreme climates while fostering a symbiotic relationship between the built environment and nature.