Giancarlo De Carlo’s unpublished sketches at Triennale di Milano

A sentimental exhibition of architecture and a small tribute to a lesser-known, more private side of Giancarlo De Carlo.


Giancarlo De Carlo’s controversial, critical and political approach to architecture is probably one the most international, famous and critically-acclaimed face of Italy’s twentieth-century architectural practice. However, there is another side to De Carlo’s practice: a lesser known, more private design process. Through different-scale drawings and sketches and multimedia installations, Triennale di Milano is offering a new view on the Italian architect’s relationship with landscape, territory, the city, private life and the public eye  -offering an interesting insight on De Carlo’s thoughts and actions.


Giancarlo De Carlo "Schizzi inediti" Ⓒ Triennale di Milano

Giancarlo De Carlo “Schizzi inediti” Ⓒ Triennale di Milano


Lasting from December 19 to January 11, 2015, the exhibition will be open to the public at the Triennale’s main building in Viale Alemagna  in Milan.


Text by curators Anna De Carlo and Giacomo Polin:


The work of Giancarlo De Carlo, the twentieth-century architect, urban planner, polemicist and passionate man of culture, is too well known for us to retrace it here. From the IUAV in Venice to the ILAUD in Urbino, through to Team X in Terni, Harvard, Mazzorbo and Spazio e Società in Catania, the work of De Carlo is now a matter for case studies and the historical vision of a constant, profound commitment that is both professional and “political” in nature.

 Less well known is the “private” aspect of his commitment, his love of Greece as a place of the mind and inspiration for many reflections, and his passion for freehand sketching, sometimes with a descriptive vein for planning purposes, sometimes purely creative and almost involuntary. The collection of these sketches, mainly from the latter part of his life, is now preserved by his daughter Anna, forming what is in a sense the private part of his archive – the “historic” holdings of which are partly at the IUAV in Venice and partly at MAXXI in Rome and at the Beaubourg in Paris.

 These sketches, most of which have never been displayed before, on show at La Triennale for the tenth anniversary of De Carlo’s death, have nothing to do with the so-called “paper architectures”, since they came from an entirely personal research, in the form of suggestions and ideas, or simply for amusement.

These small drawings are like conceptual and formal diagrams, the incompleteness of which appears to suggest a space left to the imagination: a tentative approach that alludes to something greater.

 This small but exquisite exhibition aims to illustrate the quality and originality of the sketches (which are of very different sizes, ranging from notebook pages to large sheets of drawing paper), revealing the connections that, depending on the situation, may link them to an idea, to the face of a friend, to a decorative detail or to a building.

 Drawing on particularly significant texts as well as some scale models and interviews on film, the objective is to understand as closely as possible the entirety and organic nature of De Carlo’s thoughts and actions, forever in search of an overall coherence and a degree of harmony that goes beyond the purely aesthetic.

 This is a sentimental memory as well as an exhibition of architecture, and a small tribute to a lesser-known, more private side of Giancarlo De Carlo.


Text by curators Anna De Carlo and Giacomo Polin.

All information and images via Triennale di Milano.