Posts tagged with "Italy":

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Now open to the public, Zaha Hadid's Italian Messner Museum is literally built inside a mountaintop

Zaha Hadid's Messner Mountain Museum Corones is perched 7,464 feet above sea level. The museum itself is embedded within Mount Kronplatz as if it was violently speared through the peak to overlook the breathtaking Dolomites region in the Italy. And you you can see the stunning views yourself now that the museum has officially opened to the public. The predominantly subterranean construction encouraged by Hadid was intended to allow the smooth, computer-drafted building to blend and contrast with the mountain's jagged rock. With only the cement-based entrance exposed, the museum resembles a singular, enormous climbing wall hand hold that, because of its natural color, is paired well alongside the mountain landscape inviting climbers to ascend to the peak. Said to represent the “supreme discipline of mountaineering,” the museum is one of six dedicated to the legendary mountaineer and explorer Reinhold Messner, who is known to be the first climber to ascend all fourteen "eight-thousanders" and the first to summit Everest without supplemental oxygen. Each Messner Museum commemorates not only his accomplishments as a mountaineer but more importantly honors mountain culture overall. Exhibits differ at each location, ranging from film to Dolomite paintings to relics representing those that shaped alpine history. Generally located in South Tyrol and Belluno, Italy, the first five museums are open to the general public. The MMM Corones opened its doors on Friday, July 24th.
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Milan hops on the car-banning bandwagon with its own proposal to create zones of "pedestrian privilege"

Milan is the latest city to join the ranks of Paris, Madrid, Brussels, and Dublin in expelling cars from its smoggy, often gridlocked city center. Unlike its more zealous counterparts, the city has opted for an incremental approach, with no proposed timeline and a gradual, virtually street by street implementation. Despite taking things slow, deputy mayor Lucia di Cesaris stressed that the plan will amount to no less than a “soft revolution.” Earlier this month, she announced the pedestrianization of the Piazza della Scala, the grand square on which the Scala Opera House is located. Purging the square of vehicles will extend to the north the existing pedestrian zone in Milan’s heart, consisting of the Cathedral Square and the area around the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the adjacent shopping arcade. After the Piazza della Scala joins up with this zone, the car-free area will extend into the streets beyond the square. Pedestrianization of this area, a hub for arts and culture venues, is a welcome move to transform it into a thriving, open-air promenade. Over on the city center’s southern edge, Navigli, one of Milan’s most romantic neighborhoods, is expanding its pedestrian area, creating a car-free bar and café quarter to add to the just-pedestrianized Piazza Missori nearby. Ultimately, the objective is what the deputy mayor calls “the creation of a vast area of pedestrian privilege.” Long beset by pollution problems, Milan has experimented with an array of schemes—from banning traffic altogether for 10 hours on a Sunday in February 2004 when smog levels exceeded the statutory maximum, to paying commuters to leave their cars at home and use public transportation. A coalition of Milanese companies sends drivers vouchers worth $1.87 (the average daily cost for using public transportation) for each day their vehicles stay in their driveways between the hours of 7:30am and 7:30pm. Dedicated “black boxes” installed behind vehicle dashboards track the car’s whereabouts to verify compliance. According to Inrix, a traffic information provider, Milan has the worst traffic of any city in Europe, and one of the highest pollution levels in the continent.
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Snøhetta brings a touch of modern design to the old cable car with this winning gondola in the Italian Alps

Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta has been selected as the winner of a competition to design a cable car that will take visitors to the top of Virgolo Mountain, near Bolzano, Italy, for the first time in 40 years. The mountain has been practically inaccessible since the city closed its historic cable railway in 1976. The new cable car transit system will take visitors to the top in just one minute. The design is based on two rings. One forms the base station, the other the top station, while the cable connects tangentially. It makes the summit just a five minute trip from the city center. The new cable car also interacts with the city via a landscape at the end of the Südtirolerstraße, which brings nature into the city. At the top, a restaurant, café, infinity pool, and meeting rooms with views of the city and surrounding countryside are also planned. "Mountain Square" at the top the Virgolo will be an open space for everything from open-air markets to concerts. The project is currently displayed in the showroom of department store Bozen Bolzano in the Palais Menz in Bolzano Mustergasse.
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Q+A> Italian icon Mario Bellini on passion, the past, and the Kar-a-Sutra

Italian designer Mario Bellini is a master of many mediums: architecture, furniture, photography, and language. He was the editor of Domus in the 1980s and designed buildings all over the world, including the Department of Islamic Art at the Louvre in Paris. At 80, he’s intensely productive as ever. Recently, Humboldt Books published U.S.A. 1972, a book photographs he shot with his Hasselblad in the early seventies. Bellini’s collaborative relationship with Cassina goes back decades and he’s created some of the furniture company’s most iconic designs. Cassina released several new pieces—a bed, a lounge—in the Cab family, the now-classic line he first began with a chair in 1977. To celebrate, Bellini embarked on a multi-city speaking tour. AN caught up with him at the Cassina showroom in Los Angeles. The Architect's Newspaper: The title of your talk is “A Passion Called Project.” Why passion? Mario Bellini: I will try to be short: if you don’t perform your project with a lot of passion, if you are not compelled to do it with a lot of passion, don’t do it at all. That’s the answer. I think about projects that you have completed that are not only playful, but have certain passions built into them, like the Kar-A-Sutra… I think [the Kar-A-Sutra] changed the auto industry in a way. It was the first MPV [or multi-purpose vehicle]. It broke the tradition of the sedan or limousine—boring. And it wasn’t like trucks with little houses on top, with a kitchen and the toilet, which are also a problem. The car was a space mobile and it could be rearranged in any way that you like. This was something free, which would let you explore life. I’m a traveler. I like it very much. I’ve been around the world. I used to go one month a year to those places that today would be not recommended. All around the Mediterranean, all round North Africa: Morocco, Algeria, and then Middle East: Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, and up to Turkey and Greece. Every time was a journey through the cultural way life—a place’s food, archeology, history. And so the car expresses those passions. And why is the Kar-A-Sutra green? It was designed in 1972 and the early seventies were crazy years. I decided that by myself. I wanted a color that was bold, that was springing out. And green apple green was my favorite. Your new book U.S.A. 1972 was published in June. Are the book and the Kar-a-Sutra tied together? When the exhibition Italy, the New Domestic Landscape opened at MoMA in 1972, I arrived prepared to start a long journey coast-to-coast in the United States to study the American way of life. Emilio Ambasz, who was the curator, gave me a letter of introduction, which saved us a lot of troubles. We were going around and trying to enter everywhere. Sometimes police came and we’d show the letter and they would let us go on. We entered the famous house of Andy Warhol—the Factory—and we had a strange impression because it was full of Deco furniture, Deco tapestries. We were surprised to see an artist looking at the world so formally. And then we entered Hugh Heffner’s mansion in Chicago. We happened to come here, to Los Angeles, to a restaurant called The Source up on the Sunset Strip. And we found the hippie community living in a former Hollywood star’s villa. In the living room there was a tent and a holy man living in it. I can’t remember his name… Father Yod? Yes! Father Yod. I have taken lots of photos and documented everything. But you don’t know when you’re photographing that it will become historical. This brings up a question: What is your relationship with the past? Without past, we would be insects. Going back, back, back to the origin of human beings living on the earth, those ideas supports us still. Our houses today are so similar to ancient Pompeii. There are courtyards, windows, and second floors. These are not machines. I will show an image of a famous Le Corbusier house, which he wanted to photograph together with a modern automobile. Today, the car looks like a rusted, bad nothing and the house still looks modern. Everything that is linked to our lives as human beings is so persistently linked to the past. Our future proceeds based on our understanding of the past. Not as imitating the past, but as nourishing ourselves with that past. We have on our shoulders all that history. But what about your architectural projects, such as the Department of Islamic Art at the Louvre, which are very technological? I’m not a technophile. I use technology—from the origin of the word: tekhno, or the study of the technique. I use techniques, not technology. Which means materiality and a way of working and processing to reach the goal, which is nothing to do with a techno attitude. I am using it to reach the result: emotion, feeling. For that I’m ready to use any material, advanced technology, or new thing. Our office is very up to date with the latest technology, but we remain attached with very, very long ropes to the beginning of the world, and build from there.
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AC Milan football club soon to call "world's most innovative stadium" home

Italian football giant AC Milan is relocating to what the club purports as “the world’s most innovative stadium” in the city’s Portello area. The new mixed-use facility will be slightly over half the size of the team’s current 80,000-seater San Siro stadium, which it shares with fierce rival Intel. Flagging spectator turnout in recent years has incentivized several Italian football clubs to occupy downsized stadiums. In the 2013-14 season, AC Milan averaged just 40,061 spectators and half-empty bleachers. The club selected a design team consisting of architecture and design firm Arup and Italian architect Emilio Faroldi, who studied 70 stadia around the world as part of the design process, absorbing ideas from the Emirates Stadium in London, the St. Jakob-Park in Basel, and the new San Mames stadium in Bilbao. Given initial protests by Milan residents over the club’s relocation, Faroldi’s onus was to create a minimally invasive design with the aesthetic of a building rather than a hulking sports facility. Thus the first 33 feet of the stadium will be sunken underground, with the building peaking at just 98 feet. Aspiring towards a multi-use stadium that remains operational on non-matchdays like those in the UK, the facility will include a hotel, sports college, restaurants, courtyard and rooftop green areas, a children’s playground, and public art spaces. “Scientific research, through a series of studies, tell us clearly that the role of arenas in Europe and the world is gradually changing,” Faroldi told Italy’s La Gazetta dello Sport. “The stadiums are no longer meant just as a place for sporting events, although open all week, but as a useful piece to reorder the outlook of a neighborhood, a city.” The architect aimed for fewer turnstiles and fewer barriers between fans and the stadium, proposing to supplement these distancing reinforcements with heightened security. AC Milan recently mobilized to tout the benefits of the new stadium to the public, such as escalated land value and the creation of 1,000 jobs during construction and 500 jobs thereafter. The club emphasized the incorporation of state-of-the-art sound-proof materials for near-zero noise pollution and minimal visual impact, as well as the stadium’s integration with public transportation systems. AC Milan hopes to move into its new stadium by the beginning of the 2018–19 Series A season.
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Check out these five finalists named in the Mies van der Rohe Awards

Five projects have been short-listed in the 2015 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture—Mies van der Rohe Award. Over the next few weeks, jury members will visit each of the five buildings and a winner will be announced on May 8th at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona. You can take a look at the five finalists below. Danish Maritime Museum Bjarke Ingels Group Helsingør Denmark
From the architects : The new Danish Maritime Museum is the culmination of a fifteen year vision and master plan to transform Helsingør's former centuries old shipbuilding harbor that had in days past employed thousands but had since fallen on hard times into the city's cultural heart celebrating Helsingør's storied maritime history. The 5,000 m2 subterranean museum is within and built around one of the harbor's dry docks adjacent to Kronborg Castle of Hamlet fame, thus the dry dock itself forms the centerpiece of the museum's collection.
Antinori Winery Archea Associati Florence, Italy
From the competition website: A cultured and illuminated customer has made it possible to pursue, through architecture, the enhancement of the landscape and the surroundings as expression of the cultural and social valence of the place where wine is produced.
Ravensburg Art Museum Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei Ravensburg, Germany
From the architects: We formed a structure with largely closed brick facades, for the sake of optimal protection for the art works. By using recycled brickwork we created a connection between the old buildings and the new construction. In this context we are interested in using recycled building materials as part of a sustainable approach. This results in the self-supporting structure of the roof vault. The building is of the first museums ever built in a passive house standard.
Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, London School of Economics O’Donnell + Tuomey London, United Kingdom
From the architects: The proposal was to create an active Student Union, using democratic, everyday, unusual architecture of useful beauty, born out of an understanding of context. The brief was to bring student facilities together under one roof. The multi-functional building includes a venue, pub, learning café, media, prayer, offices, gym, careers, dance studio and social spaces. The brief asked for the “best student building in the UK” and had the aspiration for BREEAM Excellent rating. The design achieved BREEAM Outstanding.
Philarmonic Hall Szczecin Barozzi / Veiga Szczecin, Poland
From the architects: The building houses a symphony hall for 1000 spectators, a hall for chamber music for 200 spectators, a multifunctional space for exhibitions and conferences, and a wide foyer. In its materiality, the building is perceived as a light element: the glass facade, illuminated from inside, allows different perceptions. The exterior austerity and the simple composition of the interior circulation spaces contrast with the expressiveness of the main hall and the concert hall with its gold-leaf covering.
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Bernard Tschumi's First Project in Italy Blocked, Future Remains Uncertain

Bernard Tschumi’s first project in Italy appears to be on hold—if it is not dead altogether. The regional Superintendence for Architecture and Landscape Heritage has blocked plans for the architect's cultural center, called “ANIMA”, which was scheduled to open in Grottammare in 2017. The announcement about the plan’s fate was made the same day a retrospective on Tschumi’s work opened at the Pompidou Center in Paris—a retrospective that includes ANIMA, which stands for arts, nature, music, action. Tschumi’s perfectly square structure is encased in a white concrete facade that has varied, recessed openings to filter in light and serve as entrances. According to the firm, the exterior has a presence that is both simple and striking. Inside the roughly 100,000-square-foot space there are four interior courtyards, which accommodate various cultural programming as hinted by the structure's name. “All the different functional spaces will orbit around a central very large core: the heart of the structure, which will consist of a single ambience able to accommodate 1,500 seats that can be divided and used as a flexible and adaptable space,” explained Tschumi Architects in a statement. For now, however, the building’s future remains uncertain.
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Milan In Review> Interiors & Environments Push the Salone del Mobile Beyond Furniture

It's easy to get overwhelmed at the Salone del Mobile and the dozens of related events during Milan Design Week. Luckily there are plenty of visual palate cleansers in form of immersive environments, from new showrooms by Pritzker Prize–winning architects to dazzling installations by up-and-coming designers. There is more to Milan Design Week than just great looking furniture! At the Triennale design museum, for instance, Paris-based DGT architects created a light-catching installation for Citizen watches called Light is Time (above), featuring space dividing curtains made of tens of thousands of watch plates. For the Swedish textile company Kinnasand, a division of Kvadrat, Toyo Ito designed a luminous new showroom to display the company's fabrics, many of which feature diaphanous qualities. Ito covered the walls in frosted glass, which gives them a shimmering quality as downlights tucked into the edge of the ceiling filter through the panels. The ceiling itself is paneled in reflective metal. Draped fabrics are displayed on curved metal rods suspended from the ceiling. Cassina tapped the rising Japanese star Sou Fujimoto to design a "floating forest" for their booth at the fairgrounds, arguably the most innovative display at the Salone. Fujimoto hung mirrored metal planters from the rafters, which held green Japanese maples. Canned bird noises added to the atmosphere, which felt both natural and surreal within the tradeshow hall. The reflective surfaces forced visitors to slow down within the booth, giving them more time to look at Cassina's classic and contemporary furnishings. Also at the fairgrounds, an invited group of architects—Shigeru Ban, Mario Bellini, David Chipperfield, Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, Zaha Hadid, Marcio Kogan, Daniel Libeskind, and Studio Mumbai—riffed on themes of domesticity with conceptual installations called, Where Architects Live. As far as installations like these at a furniture fair go, the installations were largely devoid of the trappings of daily life. Libeskind, for example, sliced deep voids into the walls, inset with screens showing videos about his personal history and architectural projects. Chipperfield showed of his German side, with photos of deliciously drab Berlin and clanging music underscoring the seriousness of the project.
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Pier Carlo Bontempi and Ruan Yisan accept Driehaus awards for classicist architecture and preservation

Italian architect Pier Carlo Bontempi and Chinese preservationist Ruan Yisan last weekend received the highest honors in the world of classicist design—a school of though that AN previously examined alongside the more widely known Pritzker Prize. The 2014 Richard H. Driehaus Prize went to Bontempi, an architect from Parma, Italy whose work includes a block recovery plan for that city’s historic center, as well as the Place de Toscane and the “Quartier du Lac” resort in Val d’Europe near Paris. In a WTTW documentary made for the occasion of the award, Bontempi likened traditional and classical design to well-made salami and other local delicacies—modernists, Bontempi said, cut through the whole sausage, while those with an eye to the past are more careful in their preparation. He told the crowd gathered at the award ceremony Saturday in Chicago that he considered it a great compliment when a Dutch couple confused one of his buildings with a string of historic structures along the road to Rome, wondering why it wasn’t included in their guide. Administered since 2003 by the school of architecture at the University of Notre Dame, the $200,000 Driehaus Prize “is awarded to a living architect whose work embodies the highest ideals of traditional and classical architecture in contemporary society, and creates a positive cultural, environmental, and artistic impact,” according to its website. Ruan Yisan received the $50,000 Henry Hope Reed Prize, which is “given to an individual working outside the practice of architecture who has supported the cultivation of the traditional city, its architecture and art through writing, planning or promotion.” Yisan, a historic preservationist and professor of architecture at Shanghai’s Tongji University, has helped catalogue and preserve numerous cities and cultural sites around China. He supervised the Yangtze River Water Towns preservation project, and won protection for the Pingjiang Historic District in his native Suzhou—both sites have since landed on UNESCO's World Heritage list. The professor, who turns 80 this year, told the award audience Saturday that the American remittance of funds paid after China's 1900 Boxer Rebellion helped educate a generation of architects and designers who would sustain the nation’s architectural preservation movement through the 20th century. “It’s good karma,” he said through a translator. (Somewhat ironically, American designers and universities are also helping reshape contemporary China in a fashion decidedly more modern than that honored by the Driehaus Awards.)
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Pier Carlo Bontempi Named 2014 Driehaus Laureate

The Italian classicist architect Pier Carlo Bontempi has been named the 2014 Driehaus Laureate.  A native of Parma, Bontempi's work in Italy and France re-imagines the traditional city with projects like a master-planned block in Parma and the Quartier du Lac outside Paris. "His buildings, seamlessly woven into their urban environments, demonstrate principles of the new classicism and urbanism," said Michael Lykoudis, dean of the school of architecture at the University of Notre Dame, in a statement. "Their durable construction, adaptive interior spaces and sensitive siting make them exemplars of architecture as an art of conservation and investment as opposed to consumption and waste." The $200,000 Driehaus prize, underwritten by the Chicago-based Richard Driehaus Foundation, is administered by the school of architecture at the University of Notre Dame. It recognizes "a living architect whose work embodies the highest ideals of traditional and classical architecture in contemporary society, and creates a positive cultural, environmental, and artistic impact." Previous winners include Robert A.M. Stern, Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Leon Krier, and Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil. While the purse is twice that of the Pritzker Prize, the Driehaus is still somewhat confined within the worlds or classicism, new urbanism, and historic preservation, as AN previously pointed out in a report of the overlapping world of the honorees and jurors. Along with the Driehaus prize, the foundation and school also award the $50,000 Henry Hope Reed prize, for individuals working outside of architecture to promote traditional city making. Ruan Yisan, a professor of urban planning and Director of the National Research Center of the Historic City at Tonji University, is this year's Henry Hope Reed Laureate.
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Review> LOT-EK Designs the Exhibition, Erasmus Effect, On the Past and Future of Italian Architecture

The Erasmus Effect: Italian Architect's Abroad MAXXI Museum Rome, Italy Through April 6, 2014 The architecture and urbanism of Italy has long been an inspiration to architects from other parts of the world. From the grand tours of Lord Burlington and Thomas Jefferson to the establishment of the American, French, and British Academies, Robert Venturi's lessons learned from Rome, and the enormous influence of Manfredo Tafuri, Italy has been important to how we view architecture and livable cities. But now an exhibition, The Erasmus Effect: Italian Architect's Abroad, opening today at Rome's MAXXI Museum details how the world is enriched when Italian born and educated architects emigrate and find success abroad. The exhibit, curated by Pippo Ciorra, the Maxxi's thoughtful and prolific architecture curator (see his Energy: Oil and Post Oil Architecture Grids.) documents the " journeys, experiences, and stories of the many Italian architects to have found success abroad." This out-bound emigration by Italian architects is, of course, not new, and the exhibit documents the 20th century figures who left the country like Lina Bo Bardi, Paolo Soleri, Romaldo Giurgola, and Pietro Belluschi. The title, Erasmus Effect, is taken from the 1987 European communities exchange program that allowed students on the content to travel to other countries to study. But the exhibit's theme also documents the more troubling issue for the country: the inability of its young architects to have a career in the economically troubled nation. It also questions the problems of trying to actually create architecture in contemporary Italy, and what this means for the country's "brain drain" and future. Erasmus Effect includes projects by contemporary Italian expats: Architecture and Vision, Atelier Manferdini, Alessandra Cianchetta, Delugan Meissl, Djuric-Tardio Architectes, Durisch + Nolli Architetti, Barozzi / Veiga, ecoLogicStudio, Benedetta Tagliabue, gravalosdimontearquitectos, Vittorio Garatti, KUEHN MALVEZZI, LAN Architecture, Marpillero Pollak Architects, MORQ*, Paritzki Liani Architects, simone solinas, ssa | solinasserra architects, 3GATTI. The Maxxi installation is brilliantly conceived by New York City–based Italian architectural firm LOT-EK, who's signature shipping container architecture perfectly suits the "movement" theme underlying the show. Erasmus Effect opened December 6 and continues through April 6, 2014.
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On View> "UNESCOitalia: Italy’s World Heritage Sites" Opens December 6th in San Francisco

UNESCOitalia: Italy’s World Heritage Sites in the Works of 14 Photographers Mueso Italo Americano Fort Mason Center, Building C San Francisco December 6 to January 26, 2014 In celebration of 2013: The Year of Italian Culture in the United States, the Museo Italo Americano, in partnership with the Italian Cultural Institute and the Consulate General of Italy in San Francisco, will be showcasing a collection of images of Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage sites as seen through the lenses of 14 prominent Italian photographers. To be proclaimed a World Heritage site, a number of criteria must be met, and the site must hold outstanding universal value by means of exceptional design or cultural significance to a group or civilization. As of June 2013, Italy has 49 UNESCO World Heritage sites, which is more than any other single country in the world. The traveling show will be on display at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco from December 6, 2013, to January 26, 2014. Ambassador of Italy to the United States, Claudio Bisogniero, describes the exhibition as, “A journey in pictures, bringing the Italian wonders to the United States. Fine art photography for a fascinating exhibition: a visual adventure across the length and breadth of our country.”