Saturday, April 16, 2011

Show and NOT tell; Architecture Week - Sat...


This is Carlo Scarpa. He is cool, no? Of course he is (er was, because he’s dead now), but the real question’s why was he cool?


Y : Is it the hat?
M: It certainly is a nice hat, but that’s not why.

Y : Is it the slightly haggard and aloof appearance?
M: Stoic and smooth for sure, but no.

Y : *eyeroll*
Y : It’s because he was an architect right?

M: *grinning*
M: He was an architect, who wasn’t an architect.

Carlo Scarpa never sat for the Pro Forma, Italy’s professional examination for architects. So he never obtained a professional license. I don’t know why he never took the exam, but I imagine it’s because he had rebellious tendencies.

I like his work immensely. I think he was highly skilled with all things interstitial, left over, and unlinked. His work is textural, experiential, and human in a way that often escapes the profession these days. The most well known of Scarpa’s works is likely Castle Vecchio, and the Brion Tomb and Sanctuary, and it’s these I’m showcasing today.

Castle Vecchio Museum:

Scarpa’s design hand is visible in the stairways, doorways, and passages of this restoration. I hear it’s challenging to photograph. Some say it’s because Scarpa’s work isn’t very photogenic. I say it’s because his work’s not about standing outside, looking in.

This interstitial space appears fairly random and chaotic from “outside”. No?

It’s small, but dense with awesomeness.

You’ll need to start with the right foot to climb that stair (literally).

Sweet concrete stair!

A convergence of circulation?

That is one sweet stair!

Brion Tomb and Sanctuary:

This project is an addition to an older cemetery. And what is a cemetery but the interstice between life, and whatever follows it?

Foggy awesomeness.

I believe this is the sanctuary.

Great light, awesome details. How could one not like this?!?

The tomb wall I believe.

Crazy skylight.

This is a meditation space. The portals are rimmed with glazed tile - sweet!

Carlo Scarpa died in 1978, at the age of 72. He succumbed to injuries resulting from falling down a flight of concrete stairs. He’s buried in a standing position and wrapped in linen sheets (medieval knights were buried in this manner). His grave is an interstitial space between the new and old cemetery walls of the very project showcased here.


What’s on your list of obscure, interesting architecture? Leave a comment.