Posts tagged with "Italy":

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This mental health facility creates calm with a perforated green facade

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San Miniato is a small Italian hill town just outside Florence. In medieval times, the town connected northern Europe and Rome, and today its hilltop landscape is dotted with luxury tourist lodgings scattered between landmarked palaces, seminaries, and homes. Arising from this historical context is the town's newest building, Casa Verde, a mental health facility for young women.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer Saverio srl and Carmine Pagano srl (perforated metal panels)
  • Architects LDA.iMdA architetti associati
  • Facade Installer Carmine Pagano srl (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants STUDIO TECNO srl (structural engineer)
  • Location San Miniato, Pisa, Italy
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System steel frame w/ cement board and perforated metal sheet cladding
  • Products Knauf AQUAPANEL® Exterior Wall
The project is inspired by historical and social values of “home” paired with the spirit of the forested surroundings. A loose arrangement of dormitories are arranged around a central courtyard and clad with a perforated green metal skin that is held off of ground level to offer transparency to the surrounding landscape, which is peppered with centuries-old cypress trees. Casa Verde prioritizes social sustainability as well as sustainable land use. Hillside maintenance efforts were supported by reusing existing foundations from vicoli carbonai, or charcoal alleys, which were developed in the Middle Ages as an extension of San Miniato’s defensive system. Lightweight paneling on the facade helped minimize dead loads on the foundation to maintain the slope stability. Art by and about the patients has shaped the facility. Drawings from younger patients were edited, scaled, and applied to the ground floor glazing system, while Italian artist Mercurio-S17S71 created Shamans, a contemporary work that features portraits of Casa Verde’s patients. The extension to the existing orphanage was sensitively planned to protect the formal massing of the original plan, while additions to the complex are articulated through more contemporary expressions of shape and material. Openings on the main elevation connect users of the existing structure to the addition. The facade coloration results from a study of leaf shades in different seasons. Like a full tree canopy, the facade’s perforated screens are perceived as porous from up close, but massive and opaque from afar. Openings in the metal panels filter daylight while ventilating the thermal envelope beyond the screen. Beyond the facade, the architect explained that the interior spaces were purposefully designed in a minimal scheme to “recreate the feeling of being in a carded wool space (in view of neuropsychiatric disorders).” A base light gray color is paired with a color scheme of greens, blues, and oranges that covers furniture and architectural detailing to delineate the facility’s services.  
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Almost 10 percent of U.S. bridges are structurally deficient

News of the bridge collapse in Genoa, Italy, has urbanists, lawmakers, and everyday citizens alike rethinking the safety of aged infrastructure across the globe. A reported 39 people were killed on Tuesday when part of the cable-stayed Morandi Bridge snapped during a torrential downpour, causing dozens of vehicles to fall 148 feet to the ground. Completed in 1967, the 0.8 mile-long bridge underwent a restructuring effort two years ago and work on the foundation was underway this summer when the collapse occurred. Experts say both the design and maintenance of the 51-year-old bridge may be at fault for the catastrophic event. Many of the 614,387 bridges in the United States are nearing the end of their useful life, says to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Nearly four in ten are 50 years old or more, according to an ASCE report updated last year, but some significant repair work has been done over the last decade to ensure the future safety of a few of these structures. The ASCE reported that the percentage of structurally-deficient bridges in the U.S. has decreased from 12.1 percent to 9.1 percent since 2009 and that about 13.6 percent of the nation’s bridges are functionally obsolete. The ASCE also estimated that 15 percent were built between 40 and 49 years ago and will soon reach the end of their functional lifespan. With 188 million people traveling across poor bridges each year, these figures beg the question: How can the U.S. maintain its aging infrastructure? Though the U.S. has made advances on the state of its bridges, there’s still a long way to go. The ASCE said that it will cost $123 million to fix the nation’s deteriorating bridges and the American Road & Transportation Builders Association adds it will take nearly 37 years to do so. In January, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the Bridge Investment Act in Congress, a $75 million measure that would help fund a 10-year federal grant for state bridge repairs, reports Construction Dive. The proposal is currently being reviewed by the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works.
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Morandi Bridge collapse raises questions about the future of concrete

The Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy, collapsed yesterday, apparently struck by lightning during a period of heavy rain, and about 30 people died and several others were injured. A viaduct on the A10 motorway, it was built between 1964 and 1967 and became a symbol of Italian post-World War II development. The bridge was designed by talented structural engineer Riccardo Morandi, then a prominent figure along with other Italian designers, including Pier Luigi Nervi and Sergio Musmeci. Morandi designed a similar project in Venezuela several years earlier. The entire viaduct was about one kilometer in length with a maximum span of around 200 meters. It consisted of a reinforced concrete structure with hybrid pre-stressed cable-stayed spans. Aside from its elegant design, it succeeded functionally because of its three piers that allowed it to fly over the existing buildings below. The viaduct was apparently weakened because the concrete was mixed with the incorrect viscosity, which created wave-like movement in the vehicle deck. Over the years, new steel cables were introduced to reinforce the inefficient pre-stressed stays while the whole bridge was facing constantly increasing traffic, reportedly more than 25 million passages a year, nearly four times the number initially planned. A proposed bypass highway project to decrease truck transit had been discussed since 2009, but local committees—apparently the 5 Stelle (5 Stars) populist movement governing Italy jointly with nationalist Lega Party since last June—rejected the proposal, with a sarcastic mention of “the fairy tale of the collapsing bridge." More recently, in 2016 independent senator Maurizio Rossi sent the former minister of transportation a written Q&A that pointed out potential structural issues of the bridge and highlighted the maintenance of the viaduct as a critical matter to be dealt with by Società Autostrade (formerly the State Highway Company). Professional engineers and designers have also suggested that reinforced concrete micro-fractures in the structure created by shaking from overloaded traffic were the potential reason for the collapse. Will this finally be a turning point for concrete as a hybrid construction material for bridges? It has long been seen as a poor material used by modernist egos for its formal plasticity even though it fails in durability. The Morandi Bridge was a national symbol of elegance and a crucial piece of infrastructure, and its collapse demands an appropriate infrastructure policy that deals with maintenance, management, and public procurement. This will avoid similar mass-murder. This is true not just in Italy, but worldwide since reinforced concrete is the most common material for bridges all over the planet. In the meantime, social media has been filled with self-proclaimed structural engineers insulting each other, stimulated by divisive politicians.

Seduction Pavilion

YAC – Young Architects Competitions – and the Foundation Fashion Research Italy – in cooperation with the Cineteca di Bologna - launch “Seduction Pavilion”, an architectural competition to design and realize an installation that will became a real landmark of an exhibition that the Foundation is going to dedicate to the endless beauty of aspiring female celebrities and pin-ups. A cash prize of € 10,000 + realization of the 1st prize project will be awarded to winners selected by a well-renowned jury made of, among the others, Patricia Urquiola (Studio Urquiola), Fabio Novembre (Studio Fabio Novembre), Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli (OMA), Claudio Silvestrin (Claudio Silvestrin Architects)

  • BRIEF

Refinery, elegance and seduction. The female universe has always been a sacred horizon, a mysterious threshold that has been inspiring a wide range of expressions of human culture. For women the first simulacra were sculpted by human hands, for women the Caryatids of the Acropolis of Athens were created. The sensuality captured by the ancient oral tradition of the Aeneid and the Old Testament is the female sensuality.

The characters of the woman are countless. They have been dotting the history of humankind in the enduring pursuit of an ever-changing beauty. Cinema and fashion have been celebrating such a bewitching and generating power for decades in an ongoing story of seduction and elegance.

Therefore, the Foundation Fashion Research Italy and the Cineteca di Bolognaaim at paying tribute to this female horizon, to this story of beauty and deep dignity. They will do so, by creating an architectural installation. Through a selection of rare photographs, it will describe the forgotten world of failed female stars: enchanting beauties that have almost been part of the Hollywood and Italian star system but never achieved fame.

How to represent the world of aspiring female celebrities and pin-ups? How to express- through architecture- the seducing power of the female universe? 

By answering these questions, designers will have the opportunity to pay tribute to the seducing fascination of nameless female stars. They will have the chance to create their own museum installation, which will be in the world a symbol and expression of style and femininity. Moreover, it will redeem the celebrity dream of stars that never achieved fame.

It will be located at the entrance of the Foundation Fashion Research Italy. It will be displayed to the world during the first edition of the Fashion Film Festival curated by the Cineteca di Bologna. The installation will welcome visitors with a story of sensuality and beauty able to connect them to a fragment of one of the most stunning and mysterious mosaics of history: the woman.

  • JURY

- Patricia Urquiola(Studio Urquiola)

- Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli (Oma)

-  Fabio Novembre (Studio Fabio Novembre)

-  Claudio Silvestrin (Claudio Silvestrin Architects)

-  Alberto Masotti (Fashion Research Italy)

- Gian Luca Farinelli (Cineteca di Bologna)

- Flaviano Celaschi (University of Bologna)

- Carlotta Zucchini (The Plan)

  • PRIZES

1st   PRIZE  5.000 € + REALIZATION

2nd  PRIZE 3.000 €

3rd  PRIZE  1.000 €

2 GOLD MENTIONS 500  € each

10 HONORABLE MENTIONS

30 FINALISTS

  • CALENDAR

11/06/2018 “early bird” registration – start

08/07/2018 (h 11.59 pm GMT) “early bird” registration – end

09/07/2018 “standard” registration – start

05/08/2018 (h 11.59 pm GMT) “standard” registration – end

06/08/2018 “late” registration – start

09/09/2018 (h 11.59 pm GMT) “late” registration – end

12/09/2018 (h 12.00 pm – midday - GMT) material submission deadline

More information on: www.youngarchitectscompetitions.com

Contact us at: yac@yac-ltd.com

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Expanded screen filters light in Florentine company’s headquarters

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The newly completed VoipVoice headquarters, located in the Empoli region of the Florentine countryside in Italy, is part of a research program aimed at reactivating industrial areas which witnessed a decrease in construction due to the building industry crisis. The project, designed by Pisa-based LDM.iMdA architetti associati, breaks the boundary between private and public spaces through opening the front of the building to develop a new connection with the city.
 
  • Facade Manufacturer Pagano Carmine srl, Saverio srl
  • Architects LDA.iMdA architetti associati
  • Facade Installer Pagano Carmine srl, Saverio srl
  • Facade Consultants LDA.iMdA architetti associati
  • Location Montelupo Fiorentino, Italy
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System expanded metal screen
  • Products MARIANItech 200x64x20mm rhomboidal expanded aluminum mesh with gray powder-coat finish
The facade consists of a glass curtain wall on the ground floor and, on the upper floor, an expanded metal screen mounted to the concrete structure. This stratification is meant to open up the first level as a public space and transition to privacy in the second level office spaces while still providing light permeation. The metal screen is an aluminum expanded metal rhomboidal mesh where the size of each rhomboid is 200 by 64 by 20 millimeters (7.87 by 2.51 by 0.78 inches). The metal is given a gray powder-coat finish to reflect the sun off of the building and to protect it from weathering. The rhomboid apertures are fabricated at an angle to create a brise-soleil, blocking sunlight during the hottest days of the year and allowing the sun to penetrate the facade during the winter. The intent was to create the perception of a solid building within its urban context without ever sacrificing access to daylight and surrounding views. The screen continues over all windows in the facade above the first floor. On the interior, it makes itself present through the patterns it creates in the glass partitions’ reflections and the shadows projected onto the walls, floors and ceilings. The material is visually drawn through the building envelope toward the interior and extends the implied connection between the inside and the outside. The same aluminum screen, powder-coated with a darker color, is used on an adjacent fence, creating a visual layering effect which emphasizes the material and its inherent pattern. VoipVoice Headquarters (Courtesy Medulla Studio) LDA.iMdA said in a statement that the purpose of the metal facade is “to create views over the surrounding hills and landscape and, at the same time, curate a perfect link between light, material, and shadows so that it can produce feelings of wonder in people who use the workspace.”
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Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture highlights Italian heritage with their latest cafe

Stop by the latest outpost of Sant Ambroeus for your morning coffee and you may not notice all of the design at play. But you’ll certainly feel it, as you enjoy an espresso, Italian-style, at the counter. Your leg will sink into the angle of the Dark Emperador marble slab, and suddenly you’ll feel anchored, calm. That’s because visitors to the Upper East Side coffee shop are in the competent hands of Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture, who used mock-ups to convince their client to place the glowing pastry case at the back and allow generous room for flow. “There’s always a leap of faith from the client, but the shorter you can make it and the more you can show the reasons, the better,” said Enrico Bonetti, the project’s principal in charge, whose firm lead the renovation of the entire building, now called the Hanley. A native of Bologna and a self-professed coffee obsessive, Bonetti looked to the brand’s heritage, “like a producer,” to create a space that would feel both fresh and within the visual language established since the first Sant Ambroeus opened in 1936. “We adjusted what they had, fine-tuned it, and tried to bring some level of quality that you don’t see, but you feel,” Bonetti said. Every element, down to a brass niche precisely proportioned to hide the requisite box of latex gloves, was carefully considered. “You don’t find places like this in Italy,” Bonetti said, settling into a coffee-colored Thonet chair. “The level of refinement is very New York.” Behind the counter, rounded tiles of Marmo Rosa di Verona were glued to the walls by “two very old installers” imported, like the stone, from Italy. The tiles’ shape mirrors the oiled American walnut tambour that clads the remaining walls, while their shade references Sant Ambroeus’s signature peachy-pink hue. Even the ceiling is painted with purpose, nearly imperceptibly, in Benjamin Moore’s Burlap, a neutral take on the color. While it’s unlikely anyone would notice the hue, the entire space glows warmly thanks to layered lighting with metallic-capped LED bulbs in simple ceiling-mounted Schoolhouse Electric fixtures as well as architectural cove lighting combined with a pair of vintage 1950s Paavo Tynell sconces and brass Alvar Aalto pendants. The same care was given to details like the matte black paint that makes the tables’ legs seemingly disappear, the wood newspaper holders sourced from Germany, and even the height of the custom leather bench, which puts sitters at eye level with those across from them. “These are not things that anybody notices, but at the end, they stay with you if not properly treated.” The team also worked with kitchen consultants Clevenger Frable Lavallee to make the space as functional for those working behind the counter as it is beautiful for those waiting in line. But, Bonetti had more than just his clients to please. “It’s mostly thinking selfishly,” the architect joked, “because I want to come back and have a really good cup of coffee.”
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Remembering James Sloss Ackerman (1919–2016), the preeminent American scholar of Italian Renaissance architecture

The preeminent American scholar of Italian Renaissance architecture, James Ackerman passed away on December 31. A native of San Francisco, Ackerman trained at Yale and then the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, where he studied under a number of prominent European émigrés, most notably Henri Focillon, Erwin Panofsky, and Richard Krautheimer, who eventually served as his dissertation advisor. Yet it was also his experience in the Second World War that shaped his scholarly trajectory. Stationed at the end of the war in northern Italy, he assisted in the transfer of state archives from the Certosa of Pavia as part of the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Commission. This direct experience with one of the great buildings of the Renaissance helped lead the young scholar to focus on the architecture of this period. After initially publishing two articles on Lombard architecture, including a now canonical study of the debates surrounding the design of Milan Cathedral, he undertook doctoral research in Florence, where he broke new ground through his exploration of the vast trove of architectural drawings held at the Uffizi. This interest in the media of architecture and modes of representation remained a constant throughout his career, and later expanded to even include architectural photography. His research eventually took him to Rome, where thanks to fellowships from the American Academy in Rome and the Fulbright Commission, he produced the first systematic investigation of the Cortile del Belvedere, the massive structure initiated by Pope Julius II to link the Vatican Palace to a nearby villa. Utilizing physical, graphic, archival, and textual evidence, his dissertation and subsequent book set the standard for monographic studies in the field. Upon returning to the United States, Ackerman took up a position at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught in both the nascent Art History department and the School of Architecture. In 1960, he left for Harvard where he eventually became the Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Fine Arts until his retirement in 1990. During his first decade there, Ackerman published monographs on Michelangelo and Palladio, which for the architectural community as whole, he is best remembered. Both still in print, they remain standards thanks to their lucid prose, rigorous scholarship, and synthetic approach. His Palladio (1966) and closely related Palladio’s Villas (1967) also heralded a shift in his scholarship toward a more social, political, and economic interpretation of architecture inspired in part by younger scholars, especially Manfredo Tafuri. While the work of Andrea Palladio continued to captivate Ackerman, as seen both in his later publications and his long involvement with the Palladio Center in Vicenza, from the 1970s onward his interests grew increasingly broader and led to studies on Renaissance art and science, the villa as typology, and a number of other topics. Indeed, like his mentor Krautheimer (who also died at 97), Ackerman remained productive and academically curious until the very end, publishing just this last year the book Origins, Invention, Revision with essays on subjects as diverse as the early history of sketching, Frank Gehry, and Indian architecture. Yet James Ackerman will be remembered for much more than just his prodigious academic output. For over the last half century, he has been the heart and magisterial voice of the discipline of Renaissance architectural history. As a devoted teacher, he stimulated many young architects and shepherded numerous leading figures into the field. He also actively sought to engage the wider public through his educational films Looking for Renaissance Rome (1976) and Palladio the Architect and His Influence in America (1980). Among his many honors, Ackerman was the first architectural historian to be the recipient of the prestigious Balzan Prize. With a portion of the award, he generously established the annual James Ackerman Prize for the History of Architecture, which has enabled the publication of books by emerging scholars across the discipline of architectural history. This commitment to the field and support for young academics was a hallmark of his career. He was also dedicated to a number of institutions, notably serving as editor of Art Bulletin and as a long-time trustee of the American Academy in Rome. James Ackerman was both the last link to a now lost world of academia and a beacon guiding generations of scholars and architects forward in their engagement with Renaissance architecture. For his insightful research, pellucid writing, and dedicated teaching, as well as his service, outreach, and generosity, he set an academic standard for all to emulate.
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Carlo Caldini, co-founder of Gruppo 9999, passes away

Carlo Caldini, co-founder of Gruppo 9999, passed away on February 22 in his home in Florence, Italy. He was 76 years old. Together with fellow members Giorgio Birelli, Fabrizio Fiumi, and Paolo Galli, Gruppo 9999 was selected through an open competition to participate in the ground-breaking exhibition Italy: the New Domestic Landscape at MoMA in 1972, curated by Emilio Ambasz. Their contribution, Casa Orto—Vegetable Garden House, would become one of the defining projects in the early ecology movement. In revisiting the teachings of St. Francis the group introduced a new kind of architectural sensitivity, combining a deep respect for nature with advanced technology. Their “tondo” portrait of St. Francis, with a television monitor broadcasting the Saint’s image above, eloquently spoke to the great dichotomy of their era, where technology was seen to defile nature. For Gruppo 9999, nature and technology could co-exist in building a better environment for living. Gruppo 9999 emerged from the same post-war generation that engendered the Florentine Superarchitecture movement, from which emerged Archizoom and Superstudio. The first collective assembly formed in 1968 was called 1999, but reconstituted itself in 1970 as 9999. They went on to found the discotheque Space Electronic in 1969, a self-organized production, constructed on collective know-how and communal labor. Inspired by a visit to Andy Warhol’s Electric Circus in New York, half ludic dance hall, half cybernetic chamber, the Space Electronic discotheque succeeded in consolidating 9999’s reputation as a critical player among this second wave of Radical Italian designers. While the discotheque hosted a number of major acts, including the Living Theatre’s Paradise Now directed by Julian Beck and Judith Malina, the Nobel prize winner Dario Fo with Franca Rame, along with Rory Gallagher and Van Der Graaf Generator, it is this author’s opinion that one of their most significant contributions was the launching of a new form of temporary radical design school. Born from a collaborative effort with Superstudio, the Florentine discotheque was transformed into a tactical site for full-scale installations and performance spaces during the Mondial Festival: Life, Death and Miracles of Architecture, that culminated in a three-day event in November of 1971. This festival included the experimental learning center called S-Space: the Separate School for Expanded Conceptual Architecture. It was the first school of its kind to chart the progress of the Italian Radical design movement. This short-lived project, to an extent related to Alvin Boyarsky’s International Institute of Design (IID) whose summer sessions included the participation of many of these same Italian groups, is one of the lesser-known chapters in the Radical movement’s history. The Mondial Festival featured Gianni Pettena, UFO., Remo Butti, and Zziggurat, the Milanese pamphleteer and media theorist Ugo La Pietra, the Florence-based Fluxus musician Giuseppe Chiari and Florentine artist/musician Renato Ranaldi, along with several international contributors, including the American Ant Farm, and the San Francisco–based Portola Institute and from England, Street Farmer. With the slogan, “…we should better love our planet!”  the event proved to be a significant study in cross-disciplinary actions, and just as importantly, the testing grounds for full-scale installations and live interventions. Space Electronic was an ideally receptive environment for the type of multi-purpose and interactive happenings that so distinctly characterized the Radical Italian design movement in this prime moment. The catalog, a white fake fur covered publication, remains a rare collector’s item. Carlo Caldini ran Space Electronic right up until the end, remaining an important figure in Florentine culture. With his passing, we lose another important eye witness to this critical period in architectural history.
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Bjarke Ingels Group wins commission to design San Pellegrino bottling plant in Italy

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won the commission to design a bottling plant in Bergamo, northern Italy. Sound innocuous? Don't be ridiculous, this is Bjarke Ingels after all. The Danish Designer saw off competition from Dutch firm MVRDV with a proposal that takes cues from Italian Classicism and Rationalism.

The $95 million plant will span 4.3 acres and become the flagship factory for Italian beverage company San Pellegrino. The company, known for its mineral water, has been based in San Pellegrino Terme, Bergamo since 1899. Touching on the company's history in the area, BIG's scheme takes on the classical element of the archway, allowing this to dominate certain aspects of the design. Rationalist inflections can also be found as repeating elements, including the archway, comprise other areas of the plant. Subsequently, certain spaces are encapsulated by wide, sweeping curves from above, while on a smaller scale, archways guide both footsteps and the eye, curating corridors of circulation and framing views onto the mountainside.

Running through the site is the Brembo river, which separates the factory from the San Pellegrino village. A new bridge will cross the water, offering pedestrian and vehicular access to the plant. Trees will then line the water's edge on one side, shielding the infrastructure, while also offering scenic views for those looking out from the factory.

On the other side of the factory, along highway 470 will be "La Pergola"—a series of concrete arches, trees, and foliage that intend to bridge a connection between the factory and the adjacent village. A public plaza, meanwhile, will act as a more explicit gateway between the public and industrial realms of the site, acting as a space for visitors. In the center of the plaza will be a rock obelisk-like pillar. The core sample will comprise claystone, dolostone, chalk, and sandstone and is meant to reflect the journey San Pellegrino's water.

“Rather than imposing a new identity on the existing complex, we propose to grow it out of the complex. Like the mineral water itself—the new S.Pellegrino Factory and Experience Lab will seem to spring from its natural source," said Bjarke Ingels in a press release. "We propose to wash away the traditional segregation between front and back of house, and to create a seamless continuity between the environment of production and consumption, and preparation and enjoyment." Local architects Studio Verticale will work on the project with BIG over the next four years. Groundbreaking is slated to take place next year.
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A small exhibit hints at major changes in architectural representation

The small but provocative exhibition Re-constructivist Architecture at the Ierimonti Gallery on 57th Street forecasts a major shift in the way emerging architects are thinking about architecture today. Curators Jacopo Costanzo, Giovanni Cozzani, and Giulia Leone, in conjunction with the Casa dell’Architettura in Rome, have selected the work of 13 young architectural groups whose members were born in the 1980s to develop proposals for a residence in the Roman countryside. The projects fill three walls of the gallery and are intended to challenge the previous generation of older venerables. To that end, posted on the wall directly across are three projects by deconstructivist “starchitects”: Peter Eisenman’s Yenikapi archaeology museum, Coop Himmelb(l)au’s Art Museum in Strongoli, and Bernard Tschumi’s rendering done specifically for the show, A house like a city, a city like a house.

While the winner has yet to be determined, the exhibition does highlight several important new trends.

It is intended more as a battle than a debate. That the younger architects feel entitled to challenge the Goliaths of the field signifies a fresh and audacious confidence. This new generation intends to offer alternative modes of thinking that signal a change in focus within the field, and eventually to question the premises, concerns, and lavish extravagance of the previous one. Interestingly, they do so by reaching back to the architects of the 1960s, who were devoted to exploring the language of architecture itself. This reversion to an older source would seem to be a conservative move, a kind of retro or revivalist approach. However, these young architects, who certainly acknowledge the “bravura” of the deconstructivists, are instead revisiting the values and cultural concerns of such groups as GRAU, Superstudio, and even Archigram. The theme of the show itself seems reminiscent of architectural exercises at universities where these 30-year-olds studied, especially the projects for the classes of the late Alessandro Anselmi, whose exquisite drawing appears on the announcement for the show as an homage. Importantly, the proposals avoid grand utopian visions and eschew extravagant megastructures. Instead, the theme requires them to confine their efforts to developing plans for a simple structure, and to exploring how to generate a simple home responsive to its natural setting. The projects, then, reexamine basic notions of place and how to design for living on a truly “human” scale.

Secondly, while there are three models in the exhibition, the proposals are primarily graphic. Like architects of the 1960s, these emerging architects deploy drawing to convey their concepts, with each group presenting only a plan and small rendering of their project accompanied by a more-or-less helpful description. Interestingly, the projects vary enormously among themselves in the way in which they are rendered. For example, the group AM3 from Palermo, Italy, elected to represent its solution in the form of two small etchings, executed in a loose, traditional crosshatch technique. AM3 chose to situate its villa on Lake Nemi, a design inspired by the legend that the Emperor Caligula had two gigantic ships built there as floating palaces. Of particular beauty are the drawings by the Portuguese group fala atelier. While the rendering is elegant and clear, the description verges on the poetic crypto-theoretical. It anthropomorphizes the site, stating that the house is “sequential and schizophrenic” with the central void defined by the surrounding wall that “competes with the landscape” and is both “attracted and repulsed by its site.”

Particularly suggestive is the project by the Warehouse of Architecture and Research. The point of departure is a ruin—a kind of palimpsest ubiquitous in the urban and natural settings of the region. The ruin is then animated by a visitor, the so-called “colonialist” seen in the drawing. This subject adds Venturi-esque elements to the site with ironic verve, as if cataloging the various forms in the contemporary architectural vocabulary. What results is an improbable composite in which the various styles and elements elide into a fantastical yet cozy home, a kind of faux-picturesque pastiche. The group Fosbury Architecture based in Milan has produced a dramatic solution: From the square plan rises a kind of cone-shaped thatched tower punctuated by a single enormous column at the center. The hollow column is penetrated by a winding staircase that ascends to an area, one assumes, for contemplation, similar to the solitary towers pictured in Walter Pichler’s drawings. Significantly, the descriptions all share a contemporary ironic undertone that is without a trace of nostalgia or sentimentality.

An essential modus operandi is the use of collage as a way of conjoining past and present, as it allows the connections among the pieces to remain hypothetical and to function as propositions capable of triggering discussion. In fact, the exhibition is only a part of a larger project. The plan is to use the show as a springboard for a series of conferences in Rome that address the significant issues uncovered by it. Beyond the evident visual eloquence and high level of craft, what the show reveals is that the two generations are speaking about distinctly different realms of architecture, and what the new generation is advocating is the retrieval of certain classical, historical values as part of the conversation.

Re-constructivist Architecture Ierimonti Gallery 24 West 57th Street, New York Through February 10

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Renzo Piano to lead reconstruction efforts after Italian earthquake

Although rescue teams are still in the process of recovering the injured and deceased from the rubble, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi has announced that acclaimed Italian architect Renzo Piano will lead the country’s recovery from a disastrous 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli, and Pescara del Tronto on August 24th. Piano, who was appointed an Italian senator for life in 2013, has deep experience working with UNESCO and in earthquake zones from Japan to California. He will be joined in his task by local governor Vasco Errani of Emilia Romagna, who has been appointed as a special commissioner to oversee post-quake reconstruction. Errani headed a similar reconstruction effort after a series of earthquakes rocked his region in 2012, leaving 27 dead as well as thousands without homes. Piano’s reconstruction plan features a three-pronged approach. First, over the next six months 2,900 displaced residents—currently occupying 58 tent encampments—will move to semi-permanent, lightweight wooden shelters. Second, Piano projects taking six to eight months to rebuild the affected areas. The third prong of Piano’s plan involves bolstering seismic regulations across the country, with the goal of making existing structures like homes, public buildings, and cultural sites more earthquake resistant. Piano spoke with The Guardian, underlining the urgency of the developing situation, saying, “We have to act quickly, with the utmost urgency. Anti-seismic requirements must be inserted in the laws of the country to make our homes safe, just as it’s compulsory for a car to have brakes that work.” As has been true in previous, large-scale earthquake events, unreinforced and masonry structures are often to blame for a large percentage of overall deaths. Italy, with its large stock of old and ancient brick structures, as well as a thriving informal construction culture, is especially susceptible to seismic events. The improvement of seismic regulations is an intergenerational project Piano envisions taking place over the next 50 years. Piano went on to tell The Guardian, “We are speaking about the ridge of the Apennines, the backbone of Italy from north to south, an operation projected over 50 years and two generations,” he said. “We are talking about millions of buildings, it is not impossible if you work through generations.”
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Navigate the Classical way through Rome with the Nolli map on your iPad

The Nolli map, a product of twelve years of copious research by Italian surveyor Giambattista Nolli, is a navigational tool that has truly stood the test of time. Completed over 250 years ago in 1748, the map has now found another breath of life thanks to app developer Martin Koppenhöfer. Originally engraved into twelve copper plates, Nolli's map was the most accurate representation of Rome available. While that may not be the case today, the map has retained much of its accuracy over the years thanks to Rome's preservation, with notable landmarks such as the Colosseum and Pantheon still standing tall. This veracity can be seen when the map is over satellite imagery of Rome, as can be seen below. Subsequently, viewers can explore how Rome has developed as a city since the map's creation. Vehicle travel was, of course, not a factor in 1748, though Koppenhöfer commented that "pedestrian navigation is very different… you don’t have to know every street or turn, just go into the right direction.” “In designing the present edition,” Koppenhöfer continued, “we have spent great care with the aim to be as close to the original as possible regarding the labeling and the structure of the directories. Therefore the app reproduces....[the] notation as provided by Giambattista Nolli in his indices. By selecting an entry you will be led to the corresponding location on the map. You can also browse by tapping on one of the numbers on the map to see what it is about.” Available on iOS devices, the map is also usable online. Here, courtesy of University of Oregon, the map is accompanied by a series of essays relating to the map. For example, The Walls of Rome by James Tice and Allan Ceen from the university's Department of Architecture analyze Rome's city walls from the 8th century B.C. to the 1500s. Using the map, they outline the city perimeter at various dates: "The wall circuits of Rome provide a frame of reference for the city both as a measure of its growth and prosperity and also as a testament to the vicissitudes of a great city, its image of itself, and the practical needs for security during times of travail and even during times of peace," they say. Another essay by James Tice, The Forgotten Landscape of Rome: The Disabitato, looks at how Nolli's map illustrates Rome's former uninhabited and forgotten places. Other texts look at the cartographic qualities of the map. As for the map itself, “The explanations of the signatures and line styles,” said Koppenhöfer, and “hatches and selected abbreviations are reproduced in their original form. You can access Nolli’s original spelling of the indices, legend, and other signs at the bottom of the English version in Italian language.”