The celebrated Villa Malaparte at Capri establishing a dialogue with the lodge in the Dolomites by the young DEMOGO architects; the university colleges in Urbino by Giancarlo De Carlo with the Sugar Hill development by David Adjaye in Harlem, Casa Baldi by Paolo Portoghesi in Rome with the “space age” house by Zaha Hadid in Russia, the Bosco Verticale by Stefano Boeri in Milan with the Moryama House in Tokyo, the house in the film Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto by Francesco Berarducci in Rome with a building designed in Johannesburg by Jo Noero.
“AT HOME. Designs for contemporary living”
17 April, 2019 – 17 April, 2020
MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts
Via Guido Reni 4A , Roma
These are just a few of the duets in AT HOME. Designs for contemporary living, the new presentation of the museum’s architecture collection that recounts the evolution of the concept of habitation from the post-war years to the present day, analysed through the works of the great 20th century masters and those of the new figures emerging on the international architectural scene, at MAXXI from 17 April to April 2020.
“Between past and present – says Margherita Guccione – this reflection on habitation is an opportunity to highlight the centrality if the theme in both the works of the masters of the past and the latest projects by contemporary Italian and international architects that enrich the museum with extraordinary designs by the likes of Demogo,Adjae, Noero and Pezo Von Elkrichshausen among others. Today, as in the past, what emerges is the capacity of design to look forwards and prefigure the new models of contemporary housing.”
Singolare-Collettivo explores the scales and social dimensions of habitation: from the individual to the collective, from the single-family dwelling to the high-density urban quarter. It is in the single-family dwellings that the greatest degree of experimentation is seen, as in Casa Baldi in Rome, the first work by Paolo Portoghesi, designed in 1959 and exhibited with the Capital Hill Residence, the “space age” home designed by Zaha Hadid Architects for the Russian billionaire Vladislav Doronin and completed in 2018, which rises above a forest near Moscow.
The exhibition then goes on to look at the intermediate dimension of collective habitation with a survey of the material in the Giulio Gra and Monaco Luccichenti archives, among the most celebrated designers of residential buildings in Rome between the 1930s and 1950s. Among them was the Villino in via Colli della Farnesina by Francesco Berarducci in the remarkable spaces of which roamed a disturbing Gian Maria Volontè in the film by Elio Petri Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto, which here establishes a dialogue with the Johannesburg building designed by Jo Noero. The works on show (drawings, models, photographs, videos, documents) reflect on both the forms and materials of architecture, in a close relationship with the natural environment or with the requests for identity expressed by the clients, through to a number of the most interesting examples of diffuse high quality expressed by the Roman residential buildings.
A broader urban sector, constituted by an entire quarter is investigated through the successful INA Casa project in the reconstruction of Italy and the process of urbanization in the Fifties and Sixities, for example the quarters designed by Enrico Del Debbio (the Ponticelli quarter in Naples), Michele Valori (Tiburtino quarter in Rome), Mario Pancione and Giulio Pediconi (Valco San Paolo quarter in Rome).
The exhibition concludes with the experience of the urban and social mega-workshop represented by Mario Fiorentino’s Corviale, revisited in the light of the new projects for its regeneration. The show therefore offers an opportunity to think about the confines between individual experience of habitation and its position in the collective dimension.
Works by architectural masters and member of the latest generations of architects are exhibited: projects that while distant in temporal and spatial terms have similarities and points in common in terms of applied methodology, the context in which they are located or their formal research, are placed in direct visual relation in order to offer a further stimulus for debate in a daring “couples game”. The lodge in the Dolomites by the young architects of DEMOGO, placed in relation to Casa Malaparte by Adalberto Libera on the sheer cliff of Capri may trigger reflection about the weight of the natural elements in conditioning design decisions.
The manifesto dwellings constructed for themselves by two great visionary architects such as the spaceship-house by Luigi Pellegrin on the Via Aurelia, at the gates of Rome and the tree-house by Giuseppe Perugini at Fregene, which in the diversity of their results present the utopias and imaginations of a particular generation of Italian architects whose DNA contained a dose of fearless innovation. Carlo Scarpa’s attention to the choice of materials and their skilful application can also be seen in the obsessive material and spatial detailing of the houses by Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo. Finally, attention to the collective dimension of a community of students expressed by Giancarlo De Carlo at Urbino may establish a dialogue with a building constructed by David Adjaye for a community of residents in Harlem, New York, characterised by a rich range of common spaces available to the inhabitants.
The exhibition project also discusses architecture through the physical and immersive experience of the visitor with a series of life-size installations and site specific pavilions realised by Italian and international architects. Home sweet Rome/No man is an Insula for example, the two-storey wooden house by Rintala Eggertsson that occupies the full width of the gallery with visitors invited to enter and climb up to the first floor for an overview of the exhibition, a kind of “condominium with many houses, or rather a great bookshelf of stacked lives, with diverse stories: a theatre of life”, at the architects describe it.
Or the pavilion with the two houses designed in Chile by Pezo Von Ellrichshausen, which dialogue with original drawings and photographs of the celebrated Villa del Gombo in the Parco San Rossore, the presidential residence designed by Monaco Luccichenti for the President of the Republic Giovanni Gronchi in the late 1950s.
The exhibition also features a sequence of auteur photographs such as those by Gabriele Basilico (Palazzina del Girasole by Luigi Moretti) and Iwan Baan, (Vanke Tulou Housing, China, by URBANUS Architects). Videos, models, original drawings, interviews and books complete the polyphonic jigsaw that assigns to each project its ideal expository language.