Architecture’s Many Circumstances | The Plan
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Architecture’s Many Circumstances

Cecchetto&Associati

The Italian landscape is so variegated that variation is a key feature of our landscape. Completely contrasting situations can be found cheek by jowl, as befits our country’s small, at times domestic, scale. The physical variability is matched by a cultural diversity that can be striking. This is also true of architecture. In simplified terms, in the same city we can have a clash between the monumental prescriptive concept of Alberti, on the one hand, and on the other the empirical, technical approach of Brunelleschi. Closer to our day, this same conflict is visible between Aldo Rossi and Giancarlo De Carlo. Alberto Cecchetto follows in the wake of De Carlo, who described his work saying: “We believed in the heteronomy of architecture, in its dependence on the circumstances that produce it, on the intrinsic need for architecture to be in synchrony with history, with the lives and expectation of individuals and social groups, and with the ancient signs and rhythms of nature”. De Carlo’s is essentially an anti-Platonic stance, a rejection of a priori ideas. He sides with empiricism, a fairly new arrival onto the Italian cultural scene, whose harbingers can be traced back to the Risorgimento period, Boito and De Sanctis, who in turn influenced Benedetto Croce. Empiricism was especially expressed by those who were part of the Resistance against fascism, the “Justice and Freedom” movement. After the war, it would be Bruno Zevi who would embody organic reformist architecture without a priori models. This is where De Carlo started, as can be clearly seen if you go to Urbino to see one of the best examples of the genre of architecture intended as a statement that Italy had finally rid itself of its ghosts and launched into a future without rhetoric or shallow futurisms. A pupil of De Carlo, Alberto Cecchetto has for years followed the same underlying principles. Strolling with him through his native Venice, he talks of the...

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