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Architecture That Creates Relations

Antonio Iascone

Architecture That Creates Relations
By Valerio Paolo Mosco -

A conversation with Antonio Iascone centered around the sort of architecture encountered many times on our “Journey to Italy”: architecture that was once dubbed – often disparagingly – “professionalism”, in other words, architecture that was prepared to adapt to the prevailing requirements of market supply and demand.

This sort of architecture had its heyday from the 1960s through to the end of the 1970s. It brings to mind publications of the time: Italy Builds by Kidder Smith, and Carlo Pagani’s Architettura italiana oggi. Looking through these old books, one is astounded at how many buildings of those years not only met the market needs of the time but also raised the bar of quality architecture. The picture we get is of an optimistic Italy, light years away from the tragedy of the war and the destruction it had wreaked. Photos of sunny balconies, exuberant tile cladding, extensive glazed surfaces and spacious light-filled interiors accurately sum up what Paolo Portoghesi defined as the stile cordiale of the time. It was architecture whose warmth and openness had a summer seaside feel about it, and captured perfectly the values and lifestyle of an upwardly mobile middle class.

The best examples of architectural professionalism deserve the adjective “true”. What sort of architecture belongs to the class of true professionalism today? Especially architecture based on solid technological know-how, meaning the ability to narrow as much as possible the gap between the abstract representation of architecture and its concrete realization. True professionalism equates with a very precise architectural narrative that can be summed up as sober modernity, a clear understanding of architecture’s potential, and the deft yet uninhibited application of the lessons of the masters learned at university in order to create a shared language understood by all. The result is...

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