MUSSOLINI AND THE TOMB OF AUGUSTUS IN THE SPRING OF 1935

John David Rhodes

Vittorio Morpurgo, Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 1936, DM 2666 IN SET

Sventrare means to open the guts, to rip them out. This word, a term more commonly used in reference to the slaughter of animals, became the governing metaphor for an impressive set of practices that unmade Rome in the interwar period. The Roman forum, the area around the Coliseum, as well as the area that lay between it and the Piazza Venezia, the area between the latter and the Theatre of Marcellus, the neighbourhood around the Mausoleum of Augustus: these and many other sites were where the Fascist pickaxe (il piccone) fell. These are the charnel houses of Fascist urban planning—the sventramenti, the disembowellings of central Rome. Removing the guts of the city was undertaken in order to gratify the Fascist eye in its sovereign gaze at the past, or what it wanted the past to be, and to mean. Read on →

On gutted London: Change Alley

LINA BO BARDI: PUBLIC PLAZA AND MUSEUM OF ART SÃO PAOLO

Helen Thomas

Lina Bo Bardi, Study for Stage Props on Trianon Terrace, MASP, 1965 IN SET

This seemingly naïve and colourful drawing depicts a generous open plaza spread out in perspective in front of the north elevation of the Museum of Art São Paolo (MASP) designed by Lina Bo Bardi. One of her two best-known buildings in São Paolo, the other being the sesc-Pompéia sport and cultural centre, MASP occupies an important site in the city, which was originally a belvedere or terrace belonging to the gardens of Trianon Park opposite. It is located half way along the Avenida Paulista, which was at that time the financial heart of the city and an area lacking in public space, and so the design endeavours to maintain the open ground. Read on →

On imagining public 'landspace': Florian Beigel and Kisa Kawakami

TO DRAW IS TO BUILD

Irene Pérez and Jaume Mayol, TEd’A Arquitectes

TEd'A Arquitectes, Working sketches, Can Jaume i n'Isabelle, 2013

The drawing questions the nature of the brick; it starts to play with the bricks, to place them side by side, to pile them, to stack them. The pencil ferrets into the space between them and defines how they join; the pencil thinks and defines; the pencil decides what kind of joint the project wants: overlapped, flush or recessed. The line is interrupted and it makes an opening, and with the opening a lintel is discovered. Beyond lie a beam and a pillar, a jamb and a sill, a paving and a plinth. The pencil reaches all the corners of the work. The pencil insinuates into all the work’s processes and moments of change. Read on →

On building through drawing: The Black Drawings of Marie-José Van Hee

COMMONPLACE – THE URBANITY OF WILLIAM BUTTERFIELD

Nicholas Olsberg

Bury Street photo IN SET

In fact, these terraces were so rigorously simplified that most modern eyes, if they notice at all, have been disappointed in their plainness. But Butterfield was as fierce a polemicist on the ground as Viollet was on paper; not least in taking such a different approach between the new front for a public building that must be fussy enough on a nondescript street to announce its purpose and ecclesiastical temper, and a set of  dwellings, where he was ruthlessly straightforward, simply making the structure and divisions emphatic – the eyebrows, brick headers and string courses – without breaking the plane, and letting that underlining serve as all the ornament. One can read both domestic ensembles – one for the rarefied atmosphere of St James’ and the other for the bustle of Paddington – as persuasive propositions. Read on →

On façades: Caruso St John Architects

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