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Architecture That Speaks

gambardellarchitetti

Architecture That Speaks
By Valerio Paolo Mosco -
Knauf, Ragno have participated in the project

Born in Naples, Cherubino Gambardella is a full professor of Architectural Design. He combines academic investigation with research into architectural design for projects ranging from individual buildings to neighborhood masterplans, and from renovation and restoration to urban constructions. He has won acknowledgment in international competitions and awards, and was a finalist for the 2003, 2006 and 2009 Triennale di Milano’s Medaglia d’Oro Award for Italian Architecture. Selected several times for the Venice Biennale, his photo of the Torre dello Ziro was adjudicated the best image of the 2010 edition. Gambardella’s projects have been shown in international museums and foundations, and published in major specialist journals.
Architecture is beset by a crucial question: whether or not it is a language. By language, we mean a system whose grammar and syntax convey messages, for to exist at all, a language must have codes recognized and shared by its speakers. Music critic and philosopher Theodor W. Adorno considered music to be “half” a language since it communicated to some people but not to everyone. For him, music was a language that remained in part arcane and inaccessible, being conceived to communicate only to itself. The question of whether architecture is a language has once again become a topical – and pertinent – issue in connection with the hackneyed phrase “iconic building”. 
We talk of iconic in the sense of a building whose image, or venustas, outweighs the two other Vitruvian categories: firmitas and utilitas. As a general rule, there are two classes of iconic building. The first could be called “laconic”; its forms are conventional and stylized, almost incomplete, even to the point of seeming bare. This family, we now understand, was the radical reaction to deconstructivist overdesign where architectural form became the mere support for increasingly complex and...

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