WORKSHOP 2022 (Eng)

THE PROJECT THEME of the 2022 edition will be: Smart City & Cultural Heritage

CortonaOPen3d is a SmartCityDesign workshop in a Cultural Heritage context that will take place in the exceptional city of Cortona (Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy) from 29th July to 7th August 2022. During the workshop, participants will develop individually or in groups an architectural-design project or an artistic installation inserted in the context of the city of Cortona.

The 2022 edition will be held ONLINE + IN PRESENCE It will be possible to freely follow the workshop completely online, or in presence in Cortona depending on your own situation and that of public health at the time of the workshop. Given the complexity of the situation, you can write to us at any time for any clarification.

The workshop lasts about 100 hours which are divided, in traditional editions, between lectures, conferences and project workshops and is held in Italian, English and Spanish. A total between 50 and 100 international students participate each year.

The Workshop will be preceded by an ON-LINE BLENDER course (16h) free for all participants

The workshop is international, the languages spoken are Italian, English and Spanish and takes place in collaboration with the Municipality of Cortona; the Politecnico di Milano, the Academies of Fine Arts of Brera (Milan) and Urbino, and the Spanish universities: Universidad de Zaragoza and ESDA, Escuela Superior de Diseno de Aragon

The workshop program to include lectures, conferences and communications and project reviews. The communications will be organized in “Clusters” of approximately four hours each, and will each deal with a different specific topic and will be held by professors, local authorities and experts in digital subjects. In the foreground the development of highly professionalising advanced digital contents such as digital modeling through 3d photo reproduction.

Participants will have to carry out, as every year, a Smart City Design project within the city of Cortona. The projects will be carried out by the students using the open source Blender software. Through digital models, supplied by us, with very high resolution quality and detail, created with the aid of open source photo-modeling tools, it will be possible for participants to experience a new and highly advanced form of digital design.

The primary objective of the Workshop is to teach how to design using the computer as a creative tool and to sensitize the participants to the themes of the project for cultural heritage in fragile urban contexts and therefore TO LEARN TO PROJECT USING THE 3D SOFTWARE IN A CREATIVE AND CONSCIOUS WAY


  • Blender fundamentals during an online course before the workshop (free for workshop attendees)
  • Advanced Blender techniques, practice on the most advanced and innovative techniques of this extraordinary software
  • Photography and 3D digital modeling. Photography, its language and its use in 3D digital modeling techniques
  • Designing for Cultural Heritage To deepen the relationship between contemporary design and Cultural Heritage

How do you learn?

  1. Following the lessons organized in 4 CLUSTERS of about four hours each which will deal in depth with the different themes of the workshop with numerous external contributions from architects, artists, local administrators, blenderists, professors and digital technicians.
  2. Designing within a hyperrealistic virtual model of the project area that will be provided by the organization followed by us and by our expert Blender tutors who, throughout the project, will follow you both from the technical and the design point of view.


The virtual model of the project area will be provided by the organization in Blender format, and you will be able to work and design within it. In the various phases of the project you will be guided and supported by us for the more strictly design side and by our super-expert tutors for the more technical part of working with Blender.

By clicking on the images below you can browse some examples of models (made for the web in low quality) you will receive a model similar to these of the project areas, but in higher quality)


recognized with participation in the workshop:

4 CREDITS to the students of Architecture of the Polytechnic of Milan –

2 CREDITS for the Brera Academy of Fine Arts ( (to be confermed)

4 CREDITS for the Escuela Superior de Diseño de Aragón (to be confermed)

2 CREDITS for the Universidad de Zaragoza (to be confermed)


Upon successful completion of the workshop you will be given a certificate of participation and we will send the list of participants to your institution. This will allow you to request the assignment of training credits with a simple procedure. We recommend that you check with your institution how to apply and your personal situation regarding the assignment of credits. Write us for any doubt or problem, we will gladly help you.


The Workshop will be preceded by an ON-LINE BLENDER course free for all participants, useful for learning or deepening Blender and for obtaining a good knowledge of the software.

The course lasts 16 hours / online / it will be possible to attend the course live or recorded IN ITALIAN AND ENGLISH


The first phase of a 3D project is the creation of a three-dimensional model starting from Euclidean solids, from scratch or from a drawing previously made with Cad software. It is also possible to import and modify objects and architectures acquired from the network. Keywords: Modeling for objects, parametric, from Cad; Import and export of 2d and 3d models

Materials and textures

Materials (Shaders) must be applied to the three-dimensional model, which can be very simple or extremely sophisticated. It is possible to create the material from scratch, or to import it from one of the numerous libraries freely available on the net. Keywords: materials; procedural and image textures; Image mapping and unwrapping


In a 3d scene light sources must be inserted. These are positioned reasoning as in a photographic studio, obtaining good lighting requires some care but allows excellent results. Keywords: Color and Light; Indoor and outdoor lighting. Issuing materials; unbiased rendering with Cycle

Photography and photo shooting

The choice of camera positioning allows you to tell the project in the best way. The “photographer’s glance” depends on talent and experience, but also on some rules and techniques that also apply to the creation of a render. Keywords: virtual cameras, depth of field, photographic composition.


Communications will be a fundamental part of the workshop, providing the technical and cultural knowledge necessary for the realization of a concrete project, with attention to detail and capable of consistently enriching the participants’ portfolio both as regards graphic communication and the contents of the project. They will be divided into Clusters of about four hours, organized according to different themes, with a specific topic and taught by university professors, local authorities and experts in digital subjects.


  • CLUSTER 01 _ Cortona: inside the city walls _ Stories, stories and analyzes of the city of Cortona, its cultural heritage, business realities and its territorial context.
  • CLUSTER 02 _ Designing for Culture _ Innovative design, art and architecture projects in the contexts of Cultural Heritage
  • CLUSTER 03 _ Is it buid? The image in the digital age _ New communication trends of the project through photography and rendering
  • CLUSTER 04 _ Advanced digital tools Software and hardware for digital design, theory and practice.


Participants will participate in an artistic or architectural design competition in which they will have to carry out a Smart City Design project within the city of Cortona.

The projects will be carried out individually or in groups, led by teachers and tutors expert in design, planning, art history and software. SI will work using the open source Blender software within a very high resolution, quality and detail digital model, created with the aid of photo-modeling tools, also open source, provided by the organization.

As every year, the projects presented and developed during the competition will be evaluated by two different juries. The first will be composed of the participants of the workshop who will vote, the best project among those made by the classmates. The second one will be composed of university professors, members of the municipal administration of Cortona and prominent personalities chosen by the organization of the workshop and by the municipal administration.

The project will be a work of design, art or architecture and will be illustrated to the juries with a series of rendered images created using Blender software. The two juries will evaluate the quality of the projects, the beauty of the images and their consistency with the premises of the workshop, assigning the symbolic prizes to be won and decreeing the winner of the 2022 edition to “future glory”.


All participants in the workshop will be asked to pay a fee for teaching materials and to register for the cultural association 18Architetture

The workshop does not receive any type of funding other than the fees paid by the participants.

We are proud of the fact that the workshop does not receive any type of funding and has been supported, for more than ten years, exclusively with the fees paid by the participants. Your support allows us to be free and to teach only what we truly believe.

Further details here: Inscription and costs


One could say that the Smart-city is (as for the Smart-phone) a city with “more things inside”. Smart-city means a city that exchanges information between citizens, administration and economic fabric quickly and efficiently.

The fact that it is a simple concept does not help us answer the question of what a “SmartCity” should be, because it is not yet clear what the possibilities (and dangers) of “smart” cities are. In fact, we can say that the objects we live with are increasingly “intelligent”, but their intelligence is not always useful because it does not transform into quality of life and quality of things. So a design system is needed, we call it SmartCityDesign, which transforms “the city object” into something more “useful and beautiful”.

Using the intelligence of objects to think of better cities is therefore the project theme of the CortonaOPen3D Workshop. Objects become intelligent, telephones and the city become “intelligent” and design and art can no longer reasonably avoid the theme of “being connected”. It is essential to know how to design “from the spoon to the city” understanding that today whoever projects a house, a museum, a chair, a poster or whatever “thing” cannot avoid posing the problem of “if” and “how” to interact with technologies.

Above all, it is important to intelligently rethink the context and relationship between technology and the world of cultural heritage in fragile contexts, exploiting the possibilities offered by connection technology in an innovative and coherent way and finding intervention methods that make the centers controllable the distortions that technological innovations inevitably cause are decisive. (the example of depopulation of historic centers caused by the spread of applications for short-term rentals applies to everyone)

Smart City is also Slow Mobility, it means paying attention to what is probably the greatest revolution taking place in contemporary society, we refer to the electric means of locomotion which are having a development similar to that experienced by smartphones in the last ten years

But what is the cause of this, which we can well call revolution? The electric motor has existed for well over a century, and is basically always the same. The batteries become more and more performance, but they are always the “bottleneck” of the system and although they have improved in terms of duration and power they have not evolved in a radical way.

The sensors and electronics, on the other hand, have “exploded”, in fact the real TECHNOLOGICAL PARADIGM JUMP that allows you to create means of locomotion so far impossible. (scooters, bikes, self-propelled seats, etc.) is represented by the technology developed to provide smartphones with sensors such as compasses, gyroscopes, tiny accelerometers and with increasingly reduced energy consumption. All accompanied by increasingly powerful and less energy-hungry processors and at very low costs thanks to the huge diffusion of these devices.

We are going to witness, in short, a change of perspective in the way of moving that will have consequences on our way of life quite similar to those that have been brought about by the diffusion of smartphones. But this will not only affect car sellers, it will affect our way of experiencing the city and our social relationships. Remember Mc Luhan? “The media is the message”. The tool carries with it a meaning which is the first engine of social relations.

In the particular case of the city of Cortona we are faced with a case study of particular interest. The city is the ideal playground for experimenting with new types of mobility solutions. It is pedestrian, but with access to cars. It is tourist but with a real life that still resists, albeit with difficulty, the tourist pressure. It is very complicated and steep, beautiful but difficult to travel and this difficulty owes a good part of its charm.

You will be able to identify and choose among the critical issues of the city those that are in your opinion the most interesting and stimulating and develop on them an architectural, design or artistic installation project that can, in your opinion, contribute to improving the quality of life in Cortona.

The problems are typical of small towns with a high “Cultural Heritage” content in central Italy. How can a community live together with the pressures that tourism imposes? The wealth not only economic, but also human and cultural that tourism brings to historical places is the result of a search for beauty and a sense of life. This research is sometimes naive, sometimes silly, sometimes harmful and destroys the social and cultural fabric and leaving social and economic rubble. For this reason it must be managed, imagined, designed. It must not be rejected or left to itself and its excesses.

It is up to you to choose what to plan in the project area that will be indicated to you in agreement with the Municipality of Cortona. You can work on the territorial scale, on the architectural scale or you can imagine artistic interventions, performances or installations according to your sensitivity and inclination.

This is what we try to do with our Workshop: helping designers and communities to get in touch and design objects, spaces, relationships … in other words DESIGNING AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR CIVIL CULTURE


The workshop will be held from Friday 29 July – Sunday 7 August 2022 The program includes the carrying out of communications, lectures, conferences and project reviews. The overall duration of the workshop is 100 hours plus 16 hours for the Blender course prior to the workshop

The indications of the clusters and the times of the reviews may slightly vary.


Tuesday 5 July 09:00 – 13:00

Monday 4 July 09:00 – 13:00

Monday 11 July 09:00 – 13:00

Tuesday 19 July 09:00 – 13:00

Monday 25 July 09:00 – 13:00

The course will be held in Italian and English (using the Blender in English, as usual) and will be available both in live-streaming (we will use Zoom) and later on record. The connection link will be sent by email the day before the lesson


Friday 29 July 2022

09.00 – 13.00 Kick off Event – CLUSTER Conferences 01.
14.00 – 20.00 CLUSTER conferences 02.

Saturday 30th July 2022

09.00 – 13.00 CLUSTER Conferences 03.
14.00 – 20.00 CLUSTER Conferences 04.

Sunday 31st July 2022

09.00 – 13.00 Presentations; “House’s rules” – Virtual Tour – Registration of participants; visit (virtual or real) of the city and the project area
14.00 – 20.00 Start of the Project Workshop: presentation of the digital models and exhibition of the working methods. Group formation

Monday 1 August 2022
09.00 – 13.00 Project Workshop with Blender
14.00 – 18.00 Project Workshop with Blender
18.00 – 20.00 Personal Work

Tuesday 2 August 2022
09.00 – 13.00 Project Workshop with Blender
14.00 – 18.00 Project Workshop with Blender
18.00 – 20.00 Personal Work

Wednesday 3 August 2022
09.00 – 13.00 Project Workshop with Blender
14.00 – 18.00 Project Workshop with Blender
18.00 – 20.00 Personal Work

Thursday 4th August 2022
09.00 – 13.00 Project Workshop with Blender
14.00 – 18.00 Project Workshop with Blender
18.00 – 20.00 Personal Work

Friday 5th August 2022
09.00 – 13.00 Project Workshop with Blender
14.00 – 18.00 Project Workshop with Blender
18.00 – 20.00 Personal Work

Saturday 6 August 2022
09.00 – 13.00 Project Workshop with Blender
14.00 – 18.00 Project Workshop with Blender
18.00 – 20.00 Delivery of the final papers in PDF format

Sunday 7th August 2022
09.00 – 13.00 Presentation of the projects, evaluation by the jury of experts and the jury of participants and Awarding of the winning projects
14.00 – 20.00 Discussion of the projects with the jury, tutors and professors