E. Bogani1, M. Condotta2, E. Arlati1

1Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
2Università Iuav di Venezia (ITALY)
This Abstract presents the MACE (Metadata for Architectural Contents in Europe) Portal and the plans for its implementation based on pedagogical consideration emerged from many years of experience in E-Learning Architectural Design atelier and on the results of experimentation sessions produced during the Mace research project. The planned improvements, the new features and opportunities that are going to be implemented in the new Italian version of the MACE Portal will make it evolving from a pure multimedia tool to a new didactic opportunity for academic life. An incubator and a generator of new knowledge, written on the basis of old knowledge quanta, gathered from different domains and different occasion, reassembled and made to interact. The MACE infrastructure is based on a hybrid combination of harvesting metadata from and federating searches to existing content repositories. The MACE infrastructure provides federated archives with a set of tools that can be used to enrich, browse and search the MACE knowledge pool. Some of the tools can be embedded into existing web applications as so called "widgets". MACE has been tested at Schools of Polytechnic of Milan and University IUAV of Venice in an architectural design course and technological courses. The architectural design course is usually one of the most important course inside Architectural faculties, because it merge all the different domains that converge in this course in the develop of an architectural project. One of the main objective of the Italian project - an Italian research project funded by the Italian Ministry of Scientific and Technological research consisting in studying, thinking and in the sub sequential development of the MACE Portal - is the improvement of the MACE tool to transform it in a more capable system to be used inside architectural design courses. The idea is not to use MACE only as an encyclopaedia, that you open when you need an information and close just after, but use it as a personal “learned notebook” that comes along with you during your studies. MACE System was used in a double way: as content provider; as tool to collect and classify contents as a “virtual notebook”. Thanks to these experimentation we realized that MACE improve students’ performance thanks to the taxonomy tailored and developed on architectural search during the MACE project: it has been evident how looking for references using a predefined taxonomy enhanced the results of researches. Another interesting outcome is that the use of MACE as a “virtual notebook” enhance this phase of “collecting references”; the use of a standardized taxonomy to classify references while collecting it helped students to: order their references according to the specific use they do of that reference in their project; make a selection of real relevant contents to use as references; clarify the expression of those conceptual features characterizing their projects. Currently is being tested in the 1st School of Architecture (Bachelor of Science degree) Architecture and Building Construction - in a technological course (Technology Design) where the project proposed is a travelling art village, composed by traditional and contemporary nomadic habitats with technological solutions.