The First International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale curated by Paolo Portoghesi opened on 27 July 1980, and was entitled La Presenza del Passato [The Presence of the Past]. During this Biennale, Paolo Portoghesi proposed the exhibition La Strada Novissima, that involved 20 international architects who created 20 life-size facades to activate a reflection on the theme of the road and create a concrete image of a different way of thinking about architecture.
“Dentro La Strada Novissima”
7 December, 2018 – 28 April, 2019
MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts
Via Guido Reni 4A , Roma
Today the MAXXI, after almost forty years, returns to reflect on this theme with the great exhibition The Street. Where the world is made, and the same Portoghesi curates DENTRO LA STRADA NOVISSIMA an in-depth focus on this crucial moment in the history of twentieth century architecture, which started the international discussion on postmodernism. The Focus will be held at the Architecture Archive Centre from 7 December 2018 to 28 April 2019.
As a whole, La Strada Novissima proposed a real 70-metre path and 10 life-size facades per side designed by Ricardo Bofill, Costantino Dardi, Frank O. Gehry, Michael Graves, GRAU, Allan Greenberg, Hans Hollein, Arata Isozaki, Josef Paul Kleihues, Rem Koolhaas, Léon Krier, Charles W. Moore, Paolo Portoghesi with Francesco Cellini and Claudio D’Amato, Franco Purini and Laura Thermes, Massimo Scolari, Thomas Gordon Smith, Robert A. M. Stern, Stanley Tigerman, Osvald Mathias Ungers, and Robert Venturi-Denis Scott Brown-John Rauch. Each facade, 9 meters high and 7 metres wide, was an expression of the artist’s style and research, and all together, in their diversity, composed an urban path to cross, expression of a plurality of voices, a plurality of readings, and ways of appropriating of the past.
The Strada Novissima proposed a return to the idea of the street, appealing to the communicative power of architecture and at the same time giving it back an ironic dimension. An iconic image of the Post Modern in architecture, in Strada Novissima ferments, visions, and research until then hardly decipherable but certainly no longer negligible on the world’s architecture scene are condensed. The exhibition had its first replica in Paris, in the former Salpetriere Hospital, in 1981, and the second in San Francisco in the port Arsenal, in 1983, thus deserving to be defined “The Street that crossed the Ocean”.
Among archive documents, photographs, project drawings and direct testimonies, the focus DENTRO LA STRADA NOVISSIMA offers a physical as well as a historical journey that allows you to find yourself inside the 1980 exhibition: an operation aimed at reconsidering those ferments and visions. Accompanied once again by the guide of Paolo Portoghesi, we reconstruct a historical itinerary among the documents that tell, in stages, the definition of one of the most extraordinary experiences of Italian architecture of the twentieth century and a physical journey within the projects that actually designed the Strada Novissima.