Venice 2018 – Architecture exhibitions and news most often cover projects realized by in big cities. But the Arcipelago Italia exhibition at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice invites visitors to embark an architectural journey through some of the most remote corners of the country where architects and artists built brilliant and human-based architectures and landscapes.
“The work of the architect must reclaim a role of social responsibility.” Saysa Mario Cucinella, founder of MCA Architects and curator of the Italian Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2018. “Arcipelago Italia is a manifesto that points to possible ways forward for the revival of the interior territories, to restore value and importance to architecture.”
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Located at the end of Arsenale, the exhibition is divided in two main sections, In the first room, visitors are invited to discover 8 itineraries showcasing 65 innovative projects built from the Alps to Sicily. The second hall focuses on 5 selected projects aiming to relaunch and redeem territories which have been either forgotten or left behind.
Enrico Zilli – editor in chief of Archipanic – selected 4 poetic stories with a human-based, resilient and powerful message.
#1 – The chanting Lake bringing communities together in the Dolomites
By Collettivo OP at the Molveno Lake – Trentino Alto Adige.
Collettivo OP created an immersive installation on the temporarily dried-out bed and shores of a mountain lake in the Dolomites, Northern Italy. In 2016, the city of Molveno partially drained the lake for extraordinary maintenance. The team of creatives designed an immersive soundscape and several installations “aiming to help local communities to overcome the sense of deep discomfort caused by the lack of water”. The proactive intervention turned a “landscape wound, into an opportunity to re-appropriate the natural environment and to rekindle a network of relationships between local communities, tourists and cultural institutions” Says to Archipanic Luca Lagash Saporiti of Collettivo OP.
The project comprised an immersive soundscape composed by Lagash Saporiti, bassist of Italian indie rock band Marlene Kuntz. By the lake-basin a symphony of rarefied sounds inspired by the reverberations of the water blend with verses by poet Alessandro Cremonesi who composed the project’s manifesto. “The seamless, hypnotic and and ‘fluid’ path invited visitors to explore the nude skin of a lake whispering its secrets oozing from its bed and waters”.
Artist Morgana Orsetta Ghini, created a 8m high iron and steel sculptures while a 100 m long table became a convivial meeting point where locals, tourists and influential museums such as MART Rovereto and MUSE dialogued about environmental issues. The project was developed in collaboration with the Associazione Bambini Cadiopatici nel Mondo, a non-profit looking after kids with heart-diseases across the globe. “During a heart surgery blood is drained for safety reasons, likewise the lake drainage effects the core of the lake community“.
#2 – The sensible village embracing beech-tree forests on the Appenines
By diverserighestudio with Ernesto Antonini, Andrea Boeri and Matteo Marsilio – Emilia Romagna-Tuscany.
“Forests must become central again in discussing the revival of this important productive sector” Says Mario Cucinella. Diverse Righe Studio and a team of professionals and students designed mountain settlements composed of multi-purpose buildings located in the beech forests on the Northern Appennines between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany. The Casentinesi Forests project is on show in the Special Projects section of the exhibition.
The buildings combines residential and production functions and tune with the local economy which is linked to the timber supply chain. Multi-purpose buildings optimize limited spaces according with 5 criteria: facilitating the transmission of knowledge, re-proposing the harmony of proportions in religious buildings, allowing coexistence and integration of living and working activities, practicing empathy toward the forest and the surrounding environment through the choice of materials and geometries, offering adaptability over time to provide for eventual expansion or disassembly and relocation of the building.
#3 The tuffaceous village springing from abandoned quarries in Salento
By Fabrizio Bellomo, Apulia.
There are many disused quarries on the heel of Italy, Apulia, which is renown for the soft and precious Salento Stone. Artist Fabrizio Bellomo is working on a project suggesting a new purpose for territories eroded and then abandoned by excavations. Named Cavatrulli – ‘Cava’ means ‘quarry’ while ‘trulli’ are typical Apulian houses with a conic roof – the project envisions a village casted from or carved into abandoned tuffaceous blocks.
Bellomo catalogued how people transformed the bites of the excavation industry into new public spaces. A stepped slope became an ideal point of access to the sea, a grotto was sculpt into a calcareous block to create shelter, a tuff tower became the pedestal of a shack, while other residual excavations created squares or sun-bathing platforms.
What if we could assemble this residual elements into the Cavatrulli village? What if, instead of dealing with the re-use of abandoned quarries, we could design the extraction process with a less shortsighted attitude? “If we consider the excavation process as an architectural process, old quarries could become habitable sculptures instead of a wound into the landscape which is too expensive to cure.” Explains Fabrizio Bellomo to Archipanic.
#4 – The star-inspired theatre by a sculptor-shepard near Agrigento
By Lorenzo Reina, Santo Stefano Quisquina – Sicily.
Lorenzo Reina is a sculptor and a shepherd who transformed a sheep shelter into the opened air ANDROMEDA theatre atop a hill in the province of Agrigento, Sicily. Visitors access the poetic space from a rotating gate. Here, an elliptical stage is inspired by the orbit of the Earth around the sun. In the back, sculptures frame a view on almost infinite rural landscape.
The the auditorium is composed of 108 seats disposed exactly like the stars of the constellation of Andromeda. “I discovered the Art of Sculpture when I was a 19 years old shepherd. I actually had to fight my father who wanted me to work in the grazing lands. But I managed to work on my art in the spared time while I was looking after the flock.”
Images: courtesy of the artists, La Biennale di Venezia and Italy Pavilion.