Hortus Conclusus

Imagining the future of agricolture


AUTHOR: Gianlca Calligaris, Federico Bullara, Lorenzo Rigonat
PLACE: Romans d’Isonzo, Italy
YEAR: 2017
STATUS: Unbuilt
INSTAGRAM: @bulgarou


This project take place in Italy’s north easternmost region, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and it’s aim is to imagine and formulate an idea of how will agricolture be in the future, and his relationship with water.

The starting point of the project is the river Isonzo, a 138 kilometre long river, that cross part of the region. This river’s drainage basin, serves for the irrigation of the many corn fields of Friuli’s flat land. In particular, to sustain all these fields, it needs plenty of water, and also, the little variety of crops, will end up banalizing the landscape. We have now two problem, the health conditions of this river, which is currently narrowing its stream bed, and the expolitation of water resources.

The idea it’s to settle few detention basin along the river, in strategical point, in order to store water durin the floods, and release it when the river needs it. In these detention basin we can take advantage of the stored water for agriculturar uses.

A traditional agricolture use a lot of water, taking it mostly from rivers. Hydroponics is a subset of  hydrocolture, the method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. This system use much less water compared with traditional farming. Along these basins we settle down a research center, in order to study and to help the local farmer to introduce this new system in their farm. The center include several laboratory and greenhouses, a market and a restaurant, but except for maintenance, there will be no car inside this area, all the goods is transported through a drone system.

This research center is isolated in the countryside, and it helps to differentiate the landscape through the different variety of biomes placed right next to laboratory and greenhouses, forming and enclosed garden, a Hortus Conclusus. So this garden is enclosed, not usinga a fence or a wall, but using the biodiversity of the river itself. We intended this centeter, non as a lonely building where only its employees have access, but like a real “enclosed garden” that is able to keep private companies, researchers, the local farmers and visitors in the same place, using a different variety of relax spaces and climatic devices.


Isometric views plays an important part in the drawings, I choose this technique to let a single drawing the capacity to show as many details as possible, from the structures and the space inside of it till the furniture and the scientific instruments of the research lab. In the planimetric views I forced the grid to show as possibile as it can be the distance and the relations between all the structures (laboratory, greenhouse, relax areas and climatic devices) without loosing the possibility to show adequately the variety of the vegetations and the different biomes that surround the structures.

I used a lot of different references from different historical times, starting from painters  like Andrea Mantegna and Jacopo Bellini, the drawings of Jean Jacque Leque, mixing them with other more graphical references like the mid seventies album sleeves designed by Francesco Messina for Franco Battiato, Giusto Pio and Raul Lovisoni. I watched a lot works from Amid.Cero 9, Miralles and Junya Ishigami. For what concern the colors, I preferred to use a pastel palette, in order to keep the dreamy and idealistic.


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