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The whole over the Parts, Atmosphere over expressivity

Alvisi Kirimoto

The whole over the Parts, Atmosphere over expressivity
By Valerio Paolo Mosco -

There is no such thing as an Italian, or the Italian race. Italians are not an original strain but rather accidents of history that brought together - often violently - many different peoples. Italy saw the arrival of Germanic tribes, Arabs, Swabians, Spaniards and French, to name but a few. Thrown together, this disparate medley was gradually refined into a more or less cohesive entity. This Italian specificity is very evident in our modern architecture. Right from the days of journalist and librettist Arrigo Boito, the impetus of modernity came to Italy from outside. Yet the invasion was immediately followed by the imported product being taken up and reinterpreted. It was the same with Art Nouveau and Jugendstil that morphed into Liberty in Italy, while the approach of Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus were molded into Italian Rationalism. There is one exception, however: Futurism. Chronologically the first of the avant-garde movements, Futurism would seem to be our invention. But once again, if you take a close look at Sant’Elia, the first and only truly Futurist architect, it becomes evident that his architecture was an amalgam of several imported trends, which he ably put together to give the impression of original products of his own invention. It is impossible to fathom the eclecticism that is still the hallmark of our architecture today unless we take our particular history into consideration. Nor can we grasp another remarkable characteristic of this eclecticism: its continuity. Italian eclecticism has always been in some way a continuation of what went before. The approach might change but it is always in reference to something previous. Take, for example, Massimiliano Fuksas, perhaps the quintessential eclectic architect. His work is not a product of invention but rather of etymons and forms imported from abroad. And his reinterpretation of these imported concepts, his genius for metamorphosing them would have been inconceivable without the lessons...

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