top of page


Rural Architectural Intensification is a digital collection of multifaceted studies (projects, design works, photo archive, research ideas, art installations and texts) exploring and documenting the current condition of countryside.

The aim of the Rural Architectural Intensification is the knowledge dissemination on the rural cultural heritage through the study of architectural transformation as a mankind product able to create and promote the value, memory and the environmental quality of countryside.


The crisis in rural areas is essentially a planetary problem presenting common challenges worldwide such as: depopulation and ageing of the population, abandonment and decay of small towns, difficulty in keeping existing businesses and/or in launching new start-ups, intensive agricultural practices to the detriment of biodiversity, pollution, lack of infrastructures and services for tourism, as well as a shortage of job opportunities for the population, etc.

While natural areas including rural areas (the countryside) represents the 98% of the earth’s surface, the UN announced that by 2050 the 70% of mankind will lives in only 2% of the earth’s overpopulated surface, namely in cities and urban areas. On the contrary is well-known that rural areas and the countryside provide sustenance for cities. Thus considering rural conditions and its future is a priority in order to addressing contemporary conditions such as climate change, globalisation, technology and urbanisation. Accordingly, new understanding, new ways of observation and innovative knowledge on the dialectic between city and countryside are now more than ever fundamental for the construction of a new paradigm that will shape the built environment within contemporary ways of living through an architectural design fully committed to sustainability.


The study of rural areas is centered on three keywords:

- Rural as shared heritage with richness of history, values, memory and high quality;

- Architecture as a process of participation and product of the built environment, which can create social, cultural, economic and technological innovation;

- Intensification as a strategy to create sustainable density and interaction between nature and people in which the natural environment and the rural-urban environment can coexist harmoniously.


This website is structured as follows. First, the section “Research” offers an overview of the current state-of-the-art in European rural areas, focusing in particular on architecture and landscape design, and small town regeneration. Moreover, design parameters, goals and strategies along with an action matrix and a detailed case studies report are included. In the section “Articles” is possible to find a wide range of contributions representing results and research outcomes by researchers from different disciplines. In “News” and “Video” is possible to find news about events, activities and lectures on various related topics given by experts in the filed of study. In the section “Link” is included a series of links to official websites, references and databases useful for various typologies of readers and stakeholders.


Rural Architectural Intensification project has been established in 2013 and is based at the AUDe Lab. at the Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Pavia, Italy, and has a permanent division at the College of Architecture and Urban Planning of Tongji University, Shanghai.

Editore [Publisher]: Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Architettura dell’Università degli Studi di Pavia,

via Adolfo Ferrata, 3, 27100 Pavia PV (IT)

bottom of page