The Italian city of Genoa is getting a new park district at the site of last year’s deadly bridge collapse, as Parco del Polcevera will be located under the new Renzo Piano-designed replacement bridge set to open April of next year. The Italian architect donated the new bridge to his home city after the original Riccardo Morandi bridge collapsed last August, tragically killing 43 people. The design team for the accompanying urban renewal project consists of Italian architecture firms Stefano Boeri Architetti (SBA) and Metrogramma, as well as Dutch landscape architects Inside Outside. The design features a 5,150-foot-long red steel ring that will bisect Piano’s bridge, providing an elevated walking and cycling path through the valley area. A red wind turbine tower will punctuate the landscape at nearly 400 feet tall and provide the adjacent area with a source of renewable energy. At ground level, the park will consist of several parallel, typographically distinct zones that reflect the rich and diverse plant life of Genoa, along with recreational facilities, riverfront promenades, and industrial, office, and retail spaces. The project is as much about the urban green space as it is revitalizing the city’s economy. “The Parco del Polcevera will become a new centre," described SBA in a statement. "All around it, the district will be reborn, understood as a community of life, relationships and exchanges. The BIC buildings in the Green Factory area, the New Forts and the ex Mercato Ovaivicolo become new hubs of productivity and innovation, essential ingredients for a sustainable rebirth also from the economic-financial point of view as studied in depth by H&A Associati.” The Morandi Bridge was an important transportation link for the city, connecting Genoa to the northern cities of Milan and Turin and beyond to southern France. The urban renewal park project offers to revitalize an industrial area badly hurt by the collapse, which left 600 people homeless and isolated an entire neighborhood. Parco del Polcevera is meant to be a catalyst for growth and sustainable innovation in the still-recovering city as well as a memorial to the victims of the Morandi bridge collapse. At the park’s center will be the installation Genova in the Woods by artist Luca Vitone, dedicated to the lives lost in the accident. “A welcome to the world that crosses it and reaches Genoa from a network of infrastructure that stretches from east to west connecting Italy to Europe, parks perched on vertical walls, workers and noblewomen, singers-poets and naval engineers. A Superb City, even though it is afflicted by poignant melancholy; beautiful, even if in the harshness of its everlasting contradictions. A city of steel and sea, sculpted by wind and tragedy, but always able to stand tall,” said SBA founder Stefano Boeri.
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La Triennale di Milano came back after a 20-year hiatus just two years ago and already it’s getting a revamp. The Triennale, which takes place in the museum of the same name within Milan’s Palazzo dell’Arte, has just elected architect and urban planner Stefano Boeri as its president with a plan to return to the festival's roots that date back 85 years. Boeri’s stated goal is to return the Triennale to its position at the center of the “international dialogue between culture, economics, society, arts, and industry…When governments and political systems are no longer a reference point for progress, we look to other places, such as creative institutions, to facilitate that dialogue." Not limiting these updates to just the theoretical or curatorial realm, the changes are also going to be quite physical—the Giovanni Muzio–designed Palazzo dell’Arte will be restored to its original 1930s rationalist condition. Boeri has previously held positions as the artistic director of MI/ARCH, another international architecture festival in Milan, and as Milan’s Head of Culture, Design, and Fashion, The coming 2019 Triennale is titled Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival and was organized by MoMA curator Paola Antonelli. Broken Nature confronts the relationship between humanity and the environment around us through the lens of “restorative design.”
The day started with a marathon session involving all participants in the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Hans-Ulrich Obrist, celebrated curator at the Serpentine gallery in London, together with Sarah Herda, director of the Graham Foundation, and architect Joseph Grima, both Chicago Biennial directors, asked 99 architects one simple question: What is urgent? Every participant had 15 seconds to speak, followed by impromptu questions by the curators. The responses were billed as "Telegrams to the World." As Obrist explained, this format turns a boring conference model into something of a non-conference. The ideas and information are not announced and then delivered. They simply happen informally and as the conversations goes. One of the first participants was architect Andrés Jacque with his call that architecture needs to be more political. Fake Industries Architectural Agonism replied with the message that there should be more open competitions for architects. There were other calls for urgencies, such as achieving gender equality in architecture and using uninhabited housing stock in Greece to house refugees instead of building camps, as well as calling for more order in architecture by Ben Aranda. Some who were not present in Chicago in person, or architects who were putting last touches on their installations in the Biennial's main exhibition space left notes that were read aloud. For example, a mischievous note by Italian architect Stefano Boeri was read in his absentia: "Nothing serious can be said about architecture in 15 seconds." There were some other notes of dissent to the topic of urgency such as "Nothing is urgent" and "Deadlines are urgent more than anything". In redux, those statements offered a cross-section of architects thinking practically about their daily practices and challenges. The event went for a while and was meant to be a place where one comes and goes as one wishes, somewhat similar to a radio program performed in situ.
Stefano Boeri—the talented architect, politician, and former editor of Domus—was summarily dismissed this week from his position as Councillor for Culture, Fashion, and Design for the city of Milan. Boeri, who for several years has tried to bring architecture and design into official decision making process, has apparently butted heads with Milan's Mayor Giuliano Pisapia and has been pushed out the door. He has, according to one observer of Italian politics, clashed with the mayor "over how much he spent on an exhibition," who may be using the country's budget woes as an excuse to sack a potential political opponent. Boeri was coordinating the upcoming Milan Year of Culture and is not gong without a fight. A petition signed by host of major architects, artists, and cultural workers is being distributed to the press to put pressure on the mayor to bring Boeri back into government.
Dear Mayor Pisapia, It is with regret and disappointment that we learn that Stefano Boeri was dismissed from his position as Councillor for Culture, Fashion and Design for the city of Milan. Thanks to the energy and commitment of Boeri, and despite the deepening of the gravest crisis to have faced Italy since the postwar years, since 2011 Milan has succeded in projecting an image of renewed cultural vibrancy and dynamism onto the international stage. Thanks to Boeri's many initiatives—citywide events such as Book City and Piano City, or international exhibitions of internationally renowned artists such as the Marina Abramovic, Picasso, Bramantino, Alberto Garutti and Jeff Wall—Milan had finally succeeded in reaffirming itself forcefully on the international stage as an epicentre of art, design, fashion and culture. This unmotivated dismissal deprives Milan of one of its greatest assets—an individual who possesses the intelligence, energy, motivation and global network of relationships needed to make Milan an unrivaled protagonist of the European cultural scene of the 21st century. Stefano Boeri is one of Italy's foremost cultural exponents: he has taught in universities in Italy and abroad, curated exhibitions, designed buildings and written books that have been translated into many languages. As such, this unmotivated dismissal seems to us inexplicable. In this moment of grave crisis, we urge you to put personal differences aside and, for the good of the city, reconsider your decision. Yours sincerely, Marina Abramović - Artist, New York Iwan Baan - Photographer, Amsterdam Tatiana Bilbao - Architect, Tatiana Bilbao Architects, Ciudad de Mexico Daniel Birnbaum – Director, Moderna Museet, Stockholm Petra Blaisse - Landscape Architect, Inside Outside, Rotterdam Erica Bolton and Jane Quinn - Directors, Bolton Quinn, London Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec - Designers, Paris Maurizio Cattelan - Artist, Milan Yung Ho Chang, MIT, Head of the Department of Architecture, Cambridge Teddy Cruz - Architect, Teddy Cruz Architects, San Diego Chris Dercon – Director, Tate Modern, London Elizabeth Diller - Architect, New York Jimmie Durham - Artist, Berlin Okwui Enwezor - Curator, Munich Amos Gitai - Film Director, Tel Aviv - Paris Joseph Grima - Editor in chief, Domus, Milan Zaha Hadid - Architect, Zaha Hadid Architects, London Nikolaus Hirsch - Dean, Städelschule Frankfurt Li Hu - Architect, Beijing Bjarke Ingles - Architect, Bjarke Ingels Group Architects, Copenhagen Rem Koolhaas - Architect, Rotterdam Koyo Kouoh - Art Editor, Dakar Armin Linke - Photographer, Berlin Ross Lovegrove - Designer, London Qingyun Ma - Architect, Shanghai Michael Maltzan - Architect, Michael Maltzan Architecture, Los Angeles Giancarlo Mazzanti - Architect, Mazzanti Arquitectos, Bogotà Shelley McNamara & Yvonne Farrell - Architects, Grafton Architects, Dublin Mohsen Mostafavi – Dean, GSD Harvard, Cambridge Alexei Muratov - Journalist, Moscow Jean Nouvel - Architect, Paris Hans Ulrich Obrist - Co-director, Serpentine Gallery, London Julia Peyton Jones - Director Serpentine Gallery, London Bas Princen - Photographer, Amsterdam Edi Rama – Artist and politician, Tirana Anri Sala - Artist, Paris Tomas Saraceno - Artist, Berlin Milica Topalovic - Architect, Zurich