Andrea Grimaldi

«Architecture imposes perfection in detail, to the point of dissolving detail».
In how many ways can we interpret the role of detail in contemporary
architectural design? How relevant is this theme, today? Why should we speak about
detail, whereas contemporary problems are instead vast and complex? Discussions
on this theme might seem an act of refusal, almost an act of fear toward
contemporary congeries; instead, I think that it represents one of the most sensible
ways of dealing with it, in an attempt to unravel its intricate tangle of constitutive
issues and problems from the small scale, that is the dimension human beings can
best master and understand. As stated by Bruno Munari2, the Cartesian method is
particularly suitable to discuss the complex, contemporary world. Indeed, it consists
in dividing every problem into smaller and smaller parts, which can be dealt with and
solved more easily. This methodology will be used here to outline a new
interpretation of architectural detail according to its articulations, focusing on two
aspects: on one hand, the construction of architectural form; on the other, its
perception. Some of the following essays will provide a deeper insight into aspects
that are only mentioned here.

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