Inside - Out

A photography workshop conducted by Urban Reports with the Princeton architecture students in Camerino that explores the reciprocity between the two fields of photography and architecture. 

Organized in collaboration with Sandy Attia and Matteo Scagnol founder of MoDus Architects and visiting professors at the Princeton School of Architecture 

29.10 – 31.10.2018 Camerino, Italy
Photographer: Davide Curatola Soprana 
Tutors: Davide Curatola Soprana and Viviana Rubbo
with MoDus Architects

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Invited by the architectural firm MoDus Architects, our collective has organized a photography workshop in Camerino for the students of the “ARC505B Graduate Vertical Design Studio” of the Princeton University School of Architecture. The Studio is led by the visiting professors Sandy Attia and Matteo Scagnol (MoDus Architects) and focuses on the design of project ideas linking two sites located respectively inside and outside the city walls of Camerino. “The two sites work together in space, time and conceptual ideation under the premise that the historical city center of Camerino will be reconstructed (and therefore occupiable) through a series of phased interventions with a projected completion date of 2050” explain Sandy and Matteo.

In this context the main goal of the Photography Workshop is the exploration of the reciprocity between the two fields of photography and architecture, providing a forum within which the students could sharpen their perception and create their own understanding of the town.

Photography is a form of critical observation and communication; it is a tool that delves into different perceptions of our world and leads us to discover new visions of our shifting territories. Therefore we have proposed to use photography as a tool to approach the ongoing territorial transformations: what are the historical, socioeconomic and cultural features, what the geological and environmental dynamics and what the emerging issues related to the reconstruction process?

In short, a workshop to guide the students to dive into the observation of the territorial changes.

Two days of visits and  talks with a number of local experts from different disciplines among which geologists, naturalists and researchers, directors of the cultural and artistic heritage, entrepreneurs, council representatives and the local population, to better understand the different territorial scales of Camerino and in particular the relation between the dense urban nucleus of the medieval hilltop town, frozen in time after the earthquake, left silence and emptied out of its vital civic life, and the new housing and (temporary) commercial developments located on northern territories around the historic walls and the rural surrounding areas.


Walking the streets in the red-zones we have heard Giulio Tomassini, resident of Camerino, telling us about the dynamism and the vitality of the town before being shaken by the earthquake in 2016, perceiving the painful feeling of a joyful past that is gone and that would take decades to be restored. Around the old town, the Dean of Unicam, prof. Claudio Pettinari has shown us the newly built students’ housing blocks which occupy the land around the University Campus to increase the accommodation offer trying to keep the “usual” pace of the educational programme and mobilize the territory around this famous historic Academia, driver for the cultural and economic development of the city.

Meeting Barbara Mastrocola, Director Musei Diocesani Camerino, we learned about the struggles in giving protection and recover to the Art heritage when hundreds of churches and religious building have been damaged and close off. 

With Pietro Paolo Pierantoni, geologist, we have walked the wooden trail towards the San Eustachio caves and learned about the geo-morphological structure of this specific region discovering the signs of what was an ancient religious and spiritual centre of pilgrimage. A short visit to Arnano to see the current conditions of a small village in the countryside where the earthquake had speeded up a process of decay whose recovery seems even more unlikely.

The photography workshop provides the opportunity for students to sharpen their visual interpretation of Camerino during their site visit. Taking photographs is by default a slow-paced endeavor that affords the students the time to reflect on the complexity of the site of Camerino as much more than simply a post-earthquake reconstruction town. Camerino is a place of many sites, it is a long-standing stratification of historical, artistic and cultural heritage immersed within a specific natural and geological structure.  Walking the “marchigiana” territory through the lens of the camera invites the students to construct their own photographic narratives in tandem with their design proposals to imagine Camerino and her future in perhaps unforeseen ways. ─