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Complesso per uffici “The Corner”

The Significance of restyling

Atelier(s) Alfonso Femia / AF517*

Europa | Milano

An issue of Casabella during the 1930s carries an article on what at the time was called “building reconfiguration”. We are shown several buildings, for the most part small 19th Century town houses, stripped of their brick façades and given a modern-style facelift: stark white cladding devoid of moldings, and horizontal openings that just stopped short of being strip windows. Unintentionally, the article heralds a theme that would become a key tenet of post-modern architecture. But let us take things in order. In the second half of the 1960s, Robert Venturi published his book Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, which would revolutionize architectural thinking. Venturi’s thesis was based on a logical sequence, which at the time appeared faultless: modern architecture had failed because it had not taken into account two paradigms, which, if one...

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