The environment we live in is a direct result of complex mechanisms which are involved in all components, living and non-living. Humans’ attitude towards the natural environment, limiting considerations to issues of settlement, has always been torn between fascination and the desire for domination. The natural environment is nowadays the subject of protection, both in the sense of landscaping (cultural) and in its most strictly physical sense (ecosystem), while recognising the inseparability of the two meanings. Is this going to change the relationship between architecture and nature? A new relationship between architectural design and the natural environment means a different cultural role for projects in the environmental field, and suggests new possibilities for collaboration between architects and biologists as an opportunity for inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary experimentation. The architect will have to deal with a field hitherto almost entirely unknown to him: the structure of the eco-system in which he will intervene. In this paper, the regulatory framework of the obligations for environmental assessment of inter-ventions in the areas of ecological value is defined, illustrating a method of self-assessment for designers based on case studies.
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