253.K45 PROJECT(S) OF ANAMNESIS Palermo, or the planetary polis: city of migrants native to the Universe
This course is in all assigned curricula part of the STEOP.
This course is in at least 1 assigned curriculum part of the STEOP.

2023W, UE, 12.0h, 15.0EC


  • Semester hours: 12.0
  • Credits: 15.0
  • Type: UE Exercise
  • Format: Presence

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course, students are able to work on complex design tasks in an existing context. Their competence ranges from the recognition of fields of action in the urban context and the development of appropriate urban planning solutions to the solution of technical details for new and existing buildings. Students are able to conduct independent research and collect topic-related basic information. They are able to create design concepts and to present them comprehensively in form of draft and detailed plans.

Subject of course


The constitution, the ultimate product of the ‘political art', does not keep healthy what is already healthy, but enables cure (cares for) what has lost its health. It presupposes conflict. Nor is its aim the reintegration of the 'healthy state'. This, yes, would be impossible. Rather, it intends to show under what conditions, under the ‘arché’ of what norms, an ever-growing city can be ‘kept-in-form’, can not disintegrate or change its form by becoming other than itself. Paradoxical, certainly - for here the problem consists in thinking of a polis that, having become, somehow ceases to become, or, again, a polis that, while retaining within itself those forces or impulses that drove it beyond 'health', comes to give itself a stable form, to be state.

Massimo Cacciari,  Geofilosofia dell’Europa


Anamnesis (ἀνάμνησις) is that process of reminiscence that, stimulated by the perception of sensible objects, leads humans to gradually rediscover those universal ideas that are the cause and origin of the phenomenal world. Reminiscence or anamnesis is thus an awakening of memory, the reawakening of a knowledge already present in our soul, but which had been forgotten at the moment of birth and was therefore unconscious.

What would it be to architectonically think about architecture and the city in the terms of anamnesis?

Palermo is a planetary city, the capital of a transnational world in which we are all migrants, natives of the universe. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese, Spaniards, Savoys, Austrians, Bourbons, Italians, Americans and countless others. Palermo has been home to many over the last three thousand years. Its strategic position at the heart of the Mediterranean, between Europe and Africa, between the Pillars of Hercules and Jerusalem, has led to constant migrations, transformations and overlapping lifestyles. The cultures of Palermo's past underpin contemporary life in every corner. From Hippodamian town planning to botanical gardens and modernist social housing, from the bustling port to Baroque villas, from Monte Pellegrino to the Tyrrhenian Sea. From Archimedes to Giovanni Falcone, from Friedrich Barbarossa to Paolo Borsellino.

Over the centuries, the island's strategic position in the Mediterranean has made it an ideal crossroads for commercial and cultural exchanges. The deep cultural stratification and the massive waves of migration to the island have transformed Sicily into a unique colourful  mosaic of architectural fragments and identities. Beginning with the Normans and continuing through later periods until the XVIII century, the noble villas and palaces of Palermo have become typical architectural models for the urban and suburban development of the city: living mirrors of the Norman Palace, an oasis of cultural interference and scientific pollutions. These noble residences have evolved, incorporating different architectural spatialities and variegated lifestyles, resulting in a varied and fascinating portrayal of Sicily's history. An island that wanted to be the image of the world.

Today, the phenomenon of the unfinished and abandoned is a distinctive feature of Palermo's architectural landscape, particularly evident in the city centre. In 2018, as part of the curatorial analysis commissioned by Manifesta12 to the architectural firm OMA, a large number of abandoned buildings (186) in the city centre were mapped, ranging from beautiful palazzos to industrial structures.

Palermo's baroque palaces and villas will be our figures of thought, in which we will look for abstract types and lifestyles from which we can learn, while the 186 unfinished and abandoned sites will be our field of action, in which we will translate forms of living appropriate to today.


What if, instead of ‘re-use’ we think in terms of ‘architectonics of anamnesis’?

Teaching methods

The introduction to the design process begins with short tasks, basic analyses and accompanying lectures (group work). An excursion will enable students to engage with the city's current transformation processes and its architectural production. The design (individual work) is developed on the basis of plans as well as models in different scales, starting with the urban development scale and ending with the focus scale.

Mode of examination


Additional information

Kick off: 04.10.2023, 10-13

Weekly meetings: Wedensdays 09-18



Course dates

Wed09:00 - 20:0018.10.2023 - 24.01.2024Projektraum WB - 3/253 - Achtung! Werkraum, kein Seminarraum! 253.K45: PROJECT(S) OF ANAMNESIS Palermo, or the planetary polis: city of migrants native to the Universe
PROJECT(S) OF ANAMNESIS Palermo, or the planetary polis: city of migrants native to the Universe - Single appointments
No records found.

Examination modalities

Proof of performance is provided by active participation in the analysis phase, the excursion and contributions to discussions in the joint design meetings and the final presentation with (multimedia) project documentation and model.


TitleApplication beginApplication end
Entwerfen Bachelor (15 ECTS)18.09.2023 09:0025.09.2023 23:59


Study CodeObligationSemesterPrecon.Info
033 243 Architecture Not specified6. SemesterSTEOP
Course requires the completion of the introductory and orientation phase


No lecture notes are available.