The RAN (Natural Farming Network) is a project of the Natural Farming Center Association, which aims to promote the revolutionary potential of Natural Farming (or Non-Doing) practices. Natural Farming is an approach that eliminates environmental impact and reduces production costs to a minimum. It involves letting everything follow nature’s course: no plowing, pruning, fertilization, irrigation, crop care, phytosanitary treatments, or pest control. After a few years dedicated to awakening the soil, the farmer’s work is limited to sowing, mowing, and mulching. The scholar who introduced this approach to food production is the Japanese biologist, philosopher, and farmer Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008), author of “The One-Straw Revolution,” the most famous and widely circulated essay on agriculture ever published worldwide. The RAN was founded on August 23, 2021, by the farmer and promoter Kutluhan Özdemir (Technical Coordinator) and the journalist and videomaker Ezio Maisto (Communication Coordinator). The current board consists of the two founders and Rubina Varago (Workshop Coordinator).
The Botanical Garden was founded in 1985 on abandoned and degraded land in Monte Orlando, consisting of 13 terraces sloping towards the Gulf of Gaeta, covering approximately 2 hectares. It mainly features tropical and sub-tropical botanical species, many of which are rare and endangered in their countries of origin. The collection is particularly notable for its 150 different species of palms, sourced from seeds collected during business or leisure trips across various continents. The garden began as an experimental research site for palm acclimatization, and its delicate balance is maintained due to the rarity of species and the terraced terrain. The experimentation continues to this day.
Since 2012, the Foundation has been funding the maintenance and improvement of the botanical garden. In spring 2015, in collaboration with the FAI (Italian Environmental Fund), it opened for 2 days to a limited audience of FAI members. In May 2015, some schools visited the garden. In the future, the botanical garden will be open to a very limited audience during the spring, given the uniqueness of the site.
A greenhouse is generally considered to be a house for plants. But for Tokyo-based architect Hiroshi Iguchi, a greenhouse can be a very pleasant home for people, too, and he has built several such projects to prove his point. Iguchi’s latest glass development is a utopian experiment called Millennium City. On a plot of open farmland in Chiba, a two-hour drive from Tokyo, four giant greenhouses comprise an environmentally friendly commune. This eco glass village is the product of several workshops that Iguchi organized in order to come up with an innovative solution to Japan’s housing situation, which is highly polluting and socially isolating. “Millennium City allows people to live closely together, yet in privacy, and enables them to enjoy a lifestyle in harmony with nature,” Iguchi explains. Small wooden pavilions in each of the four greenhouses function as living areas. Each features an enclosed room elevated on stilts, not unlike a tree house, with a ladder leading up to the entrance. Underneath, the open platform appears to float just above the earthen floor. There are no formal designations for these spaces; it’s left to the user to decide how to use them, from sleeping in the elevated hut to reading, relaxing, gardening, or entertaining below.
Il progetto architettonico per la Comunità di Siloe si ispira alle suggestioni dell’architettura cistercense. È attraverso la geometria che l’architettura medievale esprime la propria arte. Le sue forme furono imitazioni di archetipi che richiamano al principio dell’universo. L’arte medievale ha il compito di insegnare, di scuotere, di comunicare, e quindi le emozioni che suscita sono profonde e primordiali.
Legno, pietra, rame, vetro, ferro si comporranno in geometrie semplici, proporzioni bilanciate e linee precise per un complesso edilizio più vicino per tipologia a un rifugio modellato dal vento e scolpito nella collina. I materiali più antichi esprimono una modernità al servizio di un cerimoniale antico e uno stile di vita sobrio, che rispetta il luogo. I materiali che resteranno a vista saranno soprattutto legno grezzo, pietra e intonaco in calce.
A eccezione dei piani interrati, realizzati in calcestruzzo armato, tutto il complesso è costruito con materiali e tecniche scelte per garantire la massima permeabilità con il minimo spreco energetico. Così le murature sono in termolaterizio di grosso spessore con parete esterna ventilata, solai in legno, manto di copertura anch’esso ventilato in lastra di zinco-titanio. L’impiantistica è ridotta al minimo necessario per limitare i campi elettromagnetici. L’acqua proviene da un pozzo perforato a pochi metri dal monastero, è accumulata in una cisterna sotterranea e interamente restituita al luogo mediante un impianto di fitodepurazione.