Collective of Projects in Equipoise

The Collective of Projects in Equipoise {Co-P-E} is a multidisciplinary team operating in a non-static equipoise in-between design and research, micro-scale and landscape, progressive visions and historical references. It is founded on the premise that architecture, urban design and research go hand in hand, and aims to rethink and improve the liveability of critical human conditions.

The Co-P-E portfolio consists of competitions, design assignments, workshops, publications and exhibitions developed internationally by members in France, the Netherlands, Japan and Italy, Co-P-E’s nest.

The team is composed by Alice Covatta, Annalisa Romani, Leonardo Zuccaro Marchi and Piero Medici.

“Our period demands a type of man who can recreate an equilibrium between his inner and his outer reality, who can regain control over his own existence by balancing forces that are often regarded as irreconcilable. This equilibrium can never be static but must be involved in continuous change, proceeding – like a tight-rope dancer – by a series of small adjustments that maintain a balance between him and empty space: man in equipoise.”

Sigfried Giedion, Man in Equipoise (1948)

Winner Europan 14 – The Productive Heart of Neu Ulm

The Collective of Projects in Equipoise {Co-P-E} won Europan 14 in Germany, with the project “The Productive Heart of Neu-Ulm.”



Authors: Leonardo Zuccaro Marchi (IT) Piero Medici (IT) Annalisa Romani (IT) Alice Covatta (IT)

Contributors: Agnieszka Batkiewicz (PL) Virginia Santilli (IT) Yağız Söylev (TR) Christian Maijstre (NL) Xiaoyi Qin (CNY)


The Productive City as connections.

The project proposes new connections, porosities, juxtapositions and overlapping functions transforming Vorfeld into an attractive pole. New connections are social, spatial, urban, cultural and environmental. In particular the new connections between learning, production and housing are the main feature of the project for the new identity of the Heart of Neu Ulm.

The Productive City from central building to central open space.

The new project is centred around an open public space as a generator of urbanity, attractor of public life and well connected to the city centre. The public space is shaped in strict continuity with the park and it can host events, markets, concerts… and its uses can change over time. Its design is based on the walking distance as legacy of the American “neighbourhood unit” which has resonances in Vorfeld.

The Productive City from mono-functional to mixed architecture.

The multifunctional buildings which contain the public space encourage public life and a brand new relationship between living, learning, public gathering, food and productive activities with different rhythms of use. The linear building on the west is bisected by the cycle/pedestrian path and it is characterized by overlapping commercial, production and living functions.

The platform at the east is thought to mainly host local and international students of design and local artisans, with a synergy between learning and production as legacy of the Ulm School of Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm- HfG).

The Productive City as flexibility.

The project should be developed in flexible phases and always imply the participatory influence of the inhabitants. Its adaptable scheme mainly relies on the centrality of public space for social gathering and productive proximity.




The Heart of the City _ Routledge 2018

ZuccaroMarchi_The Heart of the City_Cover

The Heart of the City concept, which was introduced at CIAM 8 in 1951, has played an important role in architectural and urban debates. The Heart became the most important of the organic references used in the 1950s for defining a theory of urban form.

This book focuses on both the historical and theoretical reinterpretation of this seminal concept. Divided into two main sections, both looking at differing ways in which the Heart has influenced more recent urban thinking, it illustrates the continuity and the complexities of the Heart of the City.

In doing so, this book offers a new perspective on the significance of public space and shows how The Heart of the City still resonates closely with contemporary debates about centrality, identity and the design of public space. It would be of interest to architects, academics and students of urban design and planning.



“The Heart of the City throws light on the global impact of the important but often neglected 1951 CIAM VIII Conference at Hoddesdon UK that marked the shift from modernism to post modernism in European architectural and urban design. Zuccaro weaves a rich conceptual tapestry of many threads that unfolds brilliantly into current issues for architects, planner, historians and teachers alike.”

Grahame Shane, Columbia GSAPP, USA.

“In this pioneering book, Zuccaro Marchi has traced a map of the confused urban thinking in the post-war period – during which the most important discussions seemed centered, rather surprisingly, on Venice, Milan and Amsterdam. While the still unresolved conflict between the city as an organism and the city as an automaton focused much of that crucial discussion which still resonates with twenty-first century concerns. The book will therefore be essential reading for anyone concerned with our cities and their future.”

Joseph Rykwert, University of Pennsylvania, USA

March 2018 /// Enjoy Domus issue

Enjoy a small bite of Sanaa’s latest project Tsuruoka Cultural Hall in Domus  march issue

The article has been written by Co-p-e member Alice Covatta.

(…) The project is the Shogin TACT Tsuruoka, the Cultural Hall for the city of Tsuruoka in northern Japan, on the less man-made stretch of coast bordering the Sea of Japan. It develops as a multifunctional space on the same site as the old cultural centre, with the pur- pose of stimulating the whole of Yamagata Prefecture via its future artistic activities.
(…) In 2012 SANAA won the competition and designed an extension for the community’s new civic activities beside a garden and a Han school. Their project incorporated the pre-existing structures of the student and artist collectives which were active at the time of the previous cultural centre.


You can read the full article in Domus March 2018 issue 1022 about reason and emotion, editorial Michele De Lucchi.