Frames of landscape - ISPLORA

Trailer Frames of landscape

If “Landscape means a territory that expresses an identity, whose character derives from the action of natural and human factors and their interrelationships”1, then the landscape action of an architectural intervention as a “contemporary act” on the “natural and man-made” context requires deep and careful reflection, capable of regulating interrelationships between the two parts.

It was 1973 when Ettore Sottsass, with a few natural elements, took the photo of the Door to Enter into Darkness. A metaphor, a gesture, emphasized by what was illuminated by the sun. Two vertical elements and a horizontal one, summarily linked together, generated an opening onto the world, a glimpse of the context. Thus, with Officine Architetti and Morana+Rao Architetti, we question whether it is architecture that frames the landscape or, conversely, the landscape that frames architecture.

The lesson intends to explore the thin line between man and nature, architecture and landscape, crossing Naples and its Gulf on the one hand, Noto, Siracusa and the Hyblaean plateau on the other one. Two firms, two approaches, two realities, two methodologies that offer contemporary solutions, between volumetric and monolithic grafts and domestic, almost intimate relationships that observe the natural context they are immersed in. 

Naples, a landscape in constant movement, a millennial culture suspended in time, made of ferment and innovation. A beating heart of exchange and knowledge, a place of heritage and inspiration. A laboratory of ideas, an open-air workshop. Officine Architetti, a Campania-based reality operating within the Bourbon city, moves its work through a continuous tension towards harmony and balance. An interpretative research, a journey of synthesis between thinking and doing, places and memories, for the understanding of the territory and its physical and immaterial dimensions.

The landscape becomes the protagonist in a bond that almost becomes the driving force of the project itself, tuning the domestic interior and its intimate space in full harmony with what is outside. The projects Posillipo 80, Casa Grifeo, and Capri 01 are some of the works that intrinsically express the nature of this relationship. The creation of a frame on the landscape, on its metamorphoses and colors becomes part of the design proposal, investigating material and color combinations and reinterpreting tradition.

The lesson explores the continuous dialogue between old and new, between what was and what will be, investigating Officine Architetti’s attention to perception, the emotional aspect given by the choice of every detail.
In parallel, the lesson turns to Noto, Siracusa, and the territories of the Hyblaean plateau, with Morana+Rao Architetti.

“On these shores the footprints of many heroes were impressed, these are the Hyblaean  mountains sung by poets, and there is no force of war or earthquake nor will of tyrant that can erase the prestige of memories or mute the voice of centuries”2.

A place made of layers, of complex interrelationships. Morana+Rao’s approach reveals spatial and formal clarity. A landscape interpretation that occurs by suggesting pure and contemporary grafts that stand as new landmarks

Thus, the Casa sull’altopiano Ibleo represents an element of experimentation that reinterprets the typology of the courtyard farmhouse, turning inwards and outwards at once; the Wine Cellar lies overhanging the slope of its vineyard, relating intrinsically to it; a linear monolith is “leaned” in front of the Bourbon Arch in Noto, defining a new way of inhabiting the urban landscape, a UNESCO heritage site since 2002, between yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Landscape as resource and restriction, as an object of protection. Architectural action as a response, as a way of “taking care”, as an act of enhancement, as vibration.

1 art. 131, Code of the Cultural and Landscape Heritage, Legislative Decree n. 42/2004.
2 Rivista contemporanea nazionale italiana, Volumes 26-27, 1861, p. 66.

Learning objectives:

  • Investigate the issue of landscape restrictions under the Code of the Cultural and Landscape Heritage, Legislative Decree n. 42/2004, as well as the relationship with UNESCO heritage urban fabrics to explore practical solutions in which the relationship between landscape and contemporary architecture becomes fundamental;
  • Highlight possible responses to working on the existing heritage, reinterpreting architecture in the rural and Mediterranean landscape from a contemporary perspective, as well as the renovation of historical buildings in the urbanized fabric, proposing strategies for renovation or new construction that focus on architectural design as an element of reconnection;
  • Clarify the issue of the relationship with the spatial, historical and cultural context in which the firms are set and operate, showing different spatial cross-sections and approaches to the profession, as well as the careful approach to the settlement issue of new interventions within the landscape;
  • Propose possible innovative technological, spatial and material solutions that stem from the reinterpretation of places and archetypes, showing how “traditional housing forms” can be reinterpreted in a contemporary way.

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