Sunday, June 22, 2014

Venice: La Biennale di Venezia - 14th International Architecture Exhibition: Italia Pavilion – Innesti/Graftings


Venice: La Biennale di Venezia - 14th International Architecture Exhibition:  Italia Pavilion – Innesti/Graftings.  In the Italian Pavilion, curated by Cino Zucchi the exhibition Innesti/Graftings. The theme assigned to the national pavilions  - Absorbing Modernity 1914/2014 -  by  Rem Koolhaas is developed by looking not so much for elements of “resisting the new” in the Italian territory, as the particular sense in which the modern condition is interpreted in this country.
Above - the entrance to the Italia Pavilion. The theme of Grafts is addressed by the installation in concrete, physical form.  A large arched portal in oxidized metal dilates the profile of the existing entrance in an anamorphic way.  The affectionate nickname of ‘Archimbuto’ attests to its ambiguous iconicity, at once industrial and monumental, figurative and abstract.

Italia Pavilion – Innesti/Graftings. “Italian architecture since the First World War to today demonstrates an ‘anomalous modernity’, represented by its significant capacity to interpret and incorporate previous states through continuous metamorphosis. Not adaptations of form of the new compared to the existing in retrospect, but rather ‘grafting’ an ability to transfigure the conditions of the context into a new configuration: an attitude that was once viewed by some as nostalgic or a compromise, but which today is admired by Europe and the world as the most original contribution of Italian design culture.", writes Cino Zucchi curator of the Italian pavilion.


Italia Pavilion – Innesti/Graftings. The journey begins with the ‘case’ of Milan which has been used as an example of “laboratory of the modern”, whose architectonic and city planning affairs of the last 100 years, but also several key moments in its past history, demonstrate the particular means employed by projects with a large transformative role compared to the pre-existing urban structure. From historical Milan to the city that will hosts Expo 2015.
Milan: The Fabrica del Duomo – Architecture in Search of a Face. The large gothic mass of the Duomo, and its structure of five cascading naves, has for centuries been a constantly changing construction site.  The many proposals for its façade, which were designed over years, illustrate effectively the mutations of architectural paradigms and the deep conflict between Renaissance and Baroque formal syntax based on the system of classical orders and the existing organism, and the attempts to find compromises or fresh synthesis between them.

Milan: Bombs over Milan – The Modern Reconstruction of the Center. The rather casual location of the destruction generated by the 1943 bombing raids, and the need to quickly find an effective strategy for the reconstruction, generates a series of single interventions or of local urban plans based on the model which is both clear and flexible.  The “double articulation" of building volumes publicized by Piero Bottoni manages to consolidate the existing urban form using a base which follows the perimeter of the plot, while a higher body setback from the street allows for the light and air circulation necessary to modern buildings.

Milan: The Rising City – A Century-Long Debate Over the New Skyline.  From the turn of the last century, Milan’s low horizon has been progressively modified by a number of higher buildings.  The title of the 1911 Futurist painting by Umberto Boccioni, The Rising City, anticipates the continuous dilemma and debate between innovation and permanence.  Milan’s professional culture has managed to produce high-rise buildings of noteworthy urban quality; if works like the Torre Gaffe, the Torre Velasca and the Grattacielo Pirelli show different interpretations of the theme, the latest urban intervention seems to challenge once more the question of the scale of the city in relationship with the existing structure and with the larger territorial network.

Milan: Expo 2015 – A Laboratory for the Environment. The installation shows the great Expo Laboratory, which is starting towards its very ambitious objective.  The urban concept of the entire area, the project for the thematic clusters, the Italian pavilion. It shows various articulations of the idea of a new awareness regarding the environment that will give life to the event, and possible future projections of the metamorphosis of the area after the event.

Italia Pavilion – Innesti/Graftings: A Contemporary Landscape.  The different conditions of the Italian territory and the different economical, programmatic and social contexts founding the processes of transformation cannot be brought back in any way to a single model.  The best design culture of these years is nevertheless animated by a common attitude:  the careful observation of the site, of its constraints, of its potentials, and the capacity to intervene on it with an act of transformation able to absorb them into its body and to turn them into a new inhabited landscape.
Above. Edificio per uffici e centro elaborazione dati – Giussaniarch, Milan. LCV. Law Court offices – C + S Architects, Venezia.

A Contemporary Landscape: Housing Giustiniano Imperatore – ABDR Architetti Ass., Roma

  A Contemporary Landscape:  Ring Road – MoDus Architects, Bressanone a Varna (BZ)

Italia Pavilion – Innesti/Graftings – Cut and Past Environments.  The modern collage technique played an important role in many moments of critical reflection on the fundaments of the discipline and on the autonomy of the architectural phenomena, as in the recent past the ones of the Italian “Tendenza” and of the “Architettura Radicale”.  Today a number of authors seems to have reconnected the broken thread of this research, working on the delicate border between the altered or surreal dimensions allowed to the figurative arts and the utopic prefiguration of design proposals.
Above. Carmelo Baglivo (laN+) – Luogho del Culto, 2013.

Cut and Past Environments: Carmel Baglivo and Beniamino Servino – Sopraelevazione per Analogia, Graffito Blu, 2013

Italia Pavilion – Innesti/Graftings – Inhabited Landscapes - Life adapts to the Spaces Which Adapt to Life.  If the Italian urban spaces and territory appear in turn as an “open air museum” or as the places of environmental neglect, they are also and above all the backdrop of the everyday life of their inhabitants.  A series of videos realized by different authors through a public “open call’ is mounted together to form a large animated landscape, showing different and contradictory sides of the relationship between collective spaces and the life which flows through them, adapts to them, transforms or abandons them.

The Virgins’ Ribbon, winds through the trees in the Giardino delle Vergini, garden at the back of the Italia pavilion.

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