One of the problems faced by contemporary architectural culture, or post-modern to use Lyotard’s term, consists of the loss of preestablished principles or rules that serve as a reference for the construction of a project. The architect is required to rewrite a personal set of rules, case-by-case, considering architecture a hermeneutic activity founded on the concepts of belonging and dialogue. The design of architecture can thus be intended as a “story” added to the many others already present in the environment constructed by man, beginning with a pre-existing “text”, in other words, a physical context comprised of geographic, natural and anthropic components. Context, or “place”, represents the field of a co-presence and relativisation of space and time that marks the beginning of the design phase; this complex system of traces of pre-existing cultures of settlement, of the tangible signs of modifications made over time, constitutes the raw material used by the architect, through an act of interpretation, to reveal once unknown horizons of meaning. In metaphorical terms, this action is analogous to that of the archaeologist who, by digging into the earth, surveying what is on the surface, studying material and immaterial evidence, sheds light on forgotten histories. This is what inspired the title of this issue of the magazine: Architecture as territorial archaeology. It presents a selection of works by architects from the Portuguese, Spanish and Mexican schools, whose research is rooted precisely in the ideative phase, intended as the exploration of strong ties between architecture and the urban and environmental landscape. There is more. The works of architecture produced by these schools are conceived as “archaeological fields” in their own right, open systems, susceptible to new interpretations, as well as the complex existing territorial palimpsest. They become “places of experience”, far from any easy or flaunted iconography that seeks an immediate impact, that seek discovery and interpretation from those who use them. Mono-materiality, solidity, composition by parts, relations between interior-exterior, value assigned to the theme of natural light and connections with the surrounding natural or artificial environment are just some of the characteristics shared by these projects. Each has a strong poetic and evocative strength, obtained using only a few essential formal elements.
INHABITING THE TERRITORY – Pg. 6
TERRITORY AS ARCHAEOLOGY – Pag. 12
The project is located in a residential area, on a site occupied by a now demolished factory. The architect organised the project around a series of patios, reinterpreted as spaces that mediate between the two homes. The need to arrange the apartments around these void spaces was dictated by the desire to reinterpret the site itself. The composition is the result of the subtraction of portions of a one-storey monolithic volume. The project reorganises the experience of a landscape by structuring internal spaces of the project and the articulation of the building establishes a multiple awareness of relationships and connections between open and closed spaces. The irregular form of the lot is confirmed by the abstract, articulated and complex design in which each of the two homes is a system of space looking into courtyards offering a private and changing landscape. Both homes are made of a single material: reinforced concrete. The use of rough wood formwork produced a pattern on the surfaces of this single material, which varies and vibrates under natural light.
The Royal Collections Museum in Madrid is an extension of the podium of Royal Palace. The architects designed a project that respects the open space of Piazza de la Almudena. The Museum brings the archaeological materials and historic layers of the site to life, revisiting, reorienting and opening them up toward the city. The elevation becomes a true narrative motif made of a dense weave of load bearing elements. It is a rhythmic play of granite-clad reinforced concrete columns. These elements define a frame, a structure that informs the exhibition spaces. The columns, and the beams they support, define a strong and rhythmic structure inside the building. The approach adopted by M+T focused on reducing design to a limited number of signs, to give force to a work of architecture centred on the relations between parts and void spaces. All of this takes the form of an urban podium, a landscape: a rhythmic object visible from the city’s historic gardens. The building is simultaneously a podium and a belvedere for the city.
The crater of a volcano on Fogo Island in Cape Verde, 1800 metres above sea level, is home to a village of 1200 illegal occupants of state-owned lands. Situated in this territory-limit, the project confronts an active volcano. The Headquarters for the Parque National do Fogo were conceived like a ribbon that folds back on itself and hosts different functions: an auditorium, a library, a terrace-café and an administrative block of meeting rooms, offices, workshops and technical spaces. Built from panels made of concrete mixed with lava dust, the centre sits in the landscape in the most natural way. Natural ventilation, the use of the roof to collect water and solar panels ensure that the centre is autonomous, sustainable and self-sufficient. A project in a context at the limits of the inhabitable, home to spontaneous appropriations of land, brings a sense of order through the presence of this mysterious, minimal and complex black object.
- Edoardo Tresoldi. Sculture architettoniche tra archeologia e paesaggio – Pag. 106
- Committenza e progettisti per un’architettura di qualità. L’ultima edizione del Premio Internazionale Dedalo Minosse – Pag. 110
- Maidan Tent: una piazza per comunità in transito – Pag. 114
- Il progetto come cura dell’esistente. Riqualificazione di un edificio residenziale a Capo d’Orlando – Pag. 117
- Mediterraneo contemporaneo / Contemporaneo mediterraneo. Criticità e progetto del contesto costiero – Pag. 120
NOTIZIE - Pag. 122
LIBRI - Pag. 126
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