ARW and site-specific architecture as design model - ISPLORA

Site-Specific Architecture


Interactions and relationships, practices and research, through etymology and art, to get to the project starting from the place

Site-specific as a way of interacting with and relating to the surrounding environment, as a practice and research to apply to different disciplines, from art to architecture.
Site-specific architecture as the design method proposed by the firm ARW, starting from a place, dialoguing and working on it, weaving existing relationships and building new ones to transform space. A way of creating and conceiving architecture proposed by architects Camillo Botticini and Matteo Facchinelli that is made of connections with the context. A wide context, not only physical and morphological, but also social and economic, reinterpreted through the use of similitudes or, on the contrary, of difference.

The restricted etymology

In the research of the origin of the term, etymology brings us back to the Latin situs, "place, position", derived from sinere, "to leave". A term that over time has taken on meanings and senses that have a  different weight and conformation, moving from "site" as "position and situation" to the more recent "place and location", a use that has entered official narratives and everyday uses: from "UNESCO site" to "WEB site".
Over time, therefore, there has been a definition and limitation of the term and place, a characterization deriving from the migration of the word into other disciplinary fields, from political-geographical to scientific jargon, with particular uses in molecular biology and IT.
The addition of specific to the term site seems to cut out an even more defined, precise and punctual semantic space.

The enlargement of art

Looking for the definition of "site-specific" today we find: "created, designed, or selected for a specific site", thus identifying a series of design and operational actions within a defined, specific perimeter. A term used in the field of art to indicate an intervention conceived and inserted in a specific place, where the work relates to the space around it, be it a museum or a public space, more or less conventional places.
Precisely this point, the idea of "environmental art", then "relational art", broadens the meaning of the "scientific" term which has entered daily use. It is thus possible to read and interpret the works, installations and research of important contemporary artists such as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Gordon Matta-Clark, Daniel Buren and Anish Kapoor.
Veils and grids, mirrors and telescopes, frames on the landscape and actions on what already exists.

A "relational" architecture

Architecture, starting from the perspective of art, seems to have understood this "relational" meaning of site-specific, a relationship with the place and its interpretation structured according to the distinctive aspects of the profession: constructive and economic, compositional and functional ones.
The works and investigation carried out by ARW could be therefore placed in this context made of a continuous exchange and dialogue with the surrounding context, tensions and requests, attempts to read and interpret, experiments and transformations of space, in a given place.


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