“Imagining the Mediterranean house. Italy and Spain in the 50s” at ICO Museum

The exhibition “Imagining the Mediterranean house. Italy and Spain in the 50s” focus the issue of the Mediterranean house in a historic moment in which strong links and exchanges are established between these two countries; relationships focused on overcoming the architectural “failures” of yesteryear, thanks to the recovery of indigenous values, typical of southern latitudes.

 

José Antonio Coderch y Manuel Valls, casa Ugalde, Caldes d’Estrach, 1951 © Fondo F. Català-Roca – Arxiu Històric del Col•legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya

 

The exhibition presents 50s projects, carried out in the Mediterranean environment, by a heterogeneous group of Spanish and foreign architects: Francisco Juan Barba Corsini, Bassó and Gili, Bohigas and Martorell, Antonio Bonet Castellana, Coderch and Valls, Correa and Milá , Luigi Cosenza, Carlos de Miguel, Harnden and Bombelli, Gio Ponti, Josep Pratmarsó, Bernard Rudofsky and Josep M. Sostres.


 

“Imagining the Mediterranean house. Italy and Spain in the 50s”
12 October, 2019 – 12 January, 2020
ICO Foundation Museum
C/ Zorrilla, 3 Madrid
Spain

 


From 1949, in a climate of local obscurantism, the presence of some international figures in Spain was decisive to turn local architecture: the Italian Gio Ponti (1891-1979) and the Italian-Swiss Alberto Sartoris (1901- 1998) – to which we must add the decisive role, from an ideological and existential point of view, of the Austrian Bernard Rudofsky (1905-1988) – not only introduce an air of cultural modernization, but also use Mediterraneanism as the main vehicle of architectural renovation.

 

Dos casitas para Barba Corsini, Cadaqués, 1964-1965 © Fondo F. Català-Roca – Arxiu Històric del Col•legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya

«Maison, à Llafranch: agrandissement: détail» / Joaquin Gil © Acm-EPFL. Alberto Sartoris Fonds

 

These authors will thus become the main transmitters of a peculiar idea of ​​modern architecture -very well received by the Spanish profession-, in which respect for the environmental potential of the site acquires relevance along with an updated recovery of the architectural tradition, configuring The landscape as a project theme.

Finally, in the fifties, the process of reincorporation of Spanish architecture in the international debate will be done in particular through two main paradigms: interest in the popular – outside the canons of picturesqueism – and an unprecedented approach to the “genius” of Gaudí, misunderstood and marginalized for a long time, through a reconsideration process that will be carried out both from Italy and from Spain.

 

Casa Oro 1934 1937 Cosenza y Rudofsky. Archivo Luigi Cosenza, en Archivio di Stato, Pizzofalcone, Nápoles. © Bernard Rudofsky, VEGAP, Madrid, 2019

Casa Oro 1934 1937 Cosenza y Rudofsky Archivo Luigi Cosenza, en Archivio di Stato, Pizzofalcone, Nápoles. © Bernard Rudofsky, VEGAP, Madrid, 2019

 

The Spanish Pavilion in the IX Triennale of Milan (1951) represents a moment of synthesis of these issues, launched already – as visions of a country in the renovation phase – towards full acceptance by the international world. In it, an architectural installation by José Antonio Coderch, curator of the exhibition together with Rafael Santos Torroella, contains a surprising and surreal montage of art from the past, modern art, popular traditions and extraordinary photographs of Joaquim Gomis and Leopoldo Plasencia, who they relate Gaudinian architecture with images of popular Ibizan houses.

The “modern” discovery of popular construction had representative testimonies through other Italian media besides Domus, such as Spazio and Comunità magazines; or it will be reflected in the chronicles and photographic reports made at the same time by another great Italian architect: Luigi Figini.

 

«Maison Garriga Nogués, à Sitges» / Manuel Valls Vergés an © José Antonio Coderch de Sentmenat, VEGAP, Madrid, 2019

Peter G. Harnden y Lanfranco Bombelli, Villa Gloria, Cadaqués, 1959. Vista de la terraza. © © Herederos de Harnden y Bombelli / Fondo Harnden-Bombelli Arquitectos – Arxiu Històric del Col•legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya.
Università Iuav di Venezia – Archivio Progetti, fondo Giorgio Casali.

 

From this moment, José Antonio Coderch becomes an active correspondent, from Spain, of the mythical Italian magazine Domus, directed at that time by Gio Ponti. His teaching, focused on an original production of domestic architecture in the Mediterranean context will influence projects of the coast of great relevance, such as those of Federico Correa and Alfonso Milá, or Peter Harnden and Lanfranco Bombelli, disseminated through the pages of this prestigious magazine Italian

 

Gio Ponti, proyecto de conjunto turístico en Cap d’Antibes, 1939. Vista exterior e interior de casita en el Hotel du Cap © Gio Ponti, proyecto de conjunto turístico en Cap d’Antibes, 1939. Vista exterior e interior de casita en el Hotel du Cap

Gio Ponti, proyecto de hotel en el bosque de San Michele, isla de Capri, 1939. Perspectiva del edificio central. © Gio Ponti Archives

 

Significantly, the exhibition route closes with the last house built by Bernard Rudofsky in Frigiliana (Málaga), whose administrative plans were signed by José Antonio Coderch.

The exhibition shows and contextualizes sketches, drawings, projects, works, magazines and various sources of information, the vast majority unpublished, with emphasis on the photographs of the time. The exhibition itinerary will be accompanied by 7 screens on which videos made in some relevant houses, such as Casa Ugalde and Casa Rovira de Coderch, will be screened.

 

“Imagining the Mediterranean house. Italy and Spain in the 50s” exhibition view © ICO Museum

“Imagining the Mediterranean house. Italy and Spain in the 50s” exhibition view © ICO Museum

“Imagining the Mediterranean house. Italy and Spain in the 50s” exhibition view © ICO Museum

“Imagining the Mediterranean house. Italy and Spain in the 50s” exhibition view © ICO Museum


 

News source: Fundación ICO
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