Published on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011
Maurizio Oddo, promoter and curator of the event, calls it "a miracle." And certainly the presence of Alvaro Siza (Motosinhos (Portugal), 1933) in a small town such as Enna is, device as umbilicus Siciliae, and not accustomed to mountain’s "heights " - indeed it is. Keynote lecture at the University Kore, round table in the background of the mythical Pergusa Lake, exhibition of works and projects in the halls of the noble Palazzo Militello. Immersion in the Siza universe, like a breath of air in the rich rooms too long kept behind closed doors. "I am me and my circumstances" – quotes Francesco Dal Co from Ortega y Gasset, by introducing a sense of Siza's work as an open deal with the ever-changing circumstances. His project as an interpretation, a tidy appearance of the afterlife, which brings out the hidden, what is not immediately given.
An ability to uncover and realize what the evidence, even the genius loci, hides and masks. Architecture as hermeneutics, one would rightly think. Interpretation and revelation. Even in regard to the persistence of past and history.
The latest project for the new reception of the Granada’s area, which Siza chooses for his keynote address, illustrates the process. From first sketches to the many technical surveys up to the implementation. The whole process carried out without silencing the doubts, the hesitations, the anxieties and the difficulties. But also the excitement and charm for that delicate balance between nature and architecture of that time, even by transforming it, never cancelled it.
Siza frequents the place for a long time. He plays with slowness as an indispensable core value of a modus operandi, like in the devastated Belize of the 80s - remembering Roberto Collovà - where he remained for over a month among people by impressing them. Looking for a foothold to which he would anchor the right answer. Questioning the landscape, the human history and the time passing by. And it is the very articulation of continuity and discontinuity in the transition from Nasrid architecture to the Spanish Reconquista that suggested him for the Alhambra the design register for a non inhibitory continuity with the past (the dialogue with the past, Gadamer says, is "neither return nor arbitrary plundering "- is looking for origins that produce a completely new present). Able to recover the deep meaning of that landscape architecture made of shadow and light from above, water and trees, in a vital and simple contemporary language, functional to the "cure” of new demands dealing with a growing volume of visitors.
"Architecture is a service. It must always respond to a function" - Siza will confirm the next day talking with Chiara Baglioni (responsible for Casabella which, after Gregotti, publicised him in Italy). "Often what is perceived as a function is often to be connected with an unclean issue that has nothing to do with the purity of form and space. Instead it is the basis for everything. And the correct form is nothing but the right answer to the featured request. "Economy, accuracy, appropriateness. The line of the modern movement is very clear, from Le Corbusier to Loos and above all to Aalto, but also Oud - especially for housing projects under the Saal program, to the fall of dictatorship in '74 Portugal, from Bouca to Malagueira (both featured in the show). An experience in real dialogue with the people that makes him say: "Architecture is no activity that can be isolated without becoming impoverished. It must be shared. In a progressive distancing from the ego, it is the revelation of the hazily latent collective desire". At other times, it also suggests, then perhaps with a touch of saudade - remembering together with Collovà "the anarchic explosion, full of enthusiasm and exchange of political thought" that greeted him in the occupied faculties of a Palermo in the ‘70s.
Enthusiasm. That "section of joy," that Siza strongly feels for example in Korea (where he has several sites with Carlos Castanheira) and he likes "despite the defective respect for human rights / ... / the smell of a life project, even if crooked." A resisting optimism (will this be the "utopian thinking" mentioned by Rikwert?). Prehensile as its continuous, an agile design (the presence of the sketches in the exhibition uncovers the human dimension and dynamic of his building mode). The horizon of happiness, where life and architecture come to be one thing: "Architecture requires the perfection of detail until the dissolution of the detail. / ... / An addition of perfect things stays an addition and is not perfection. It is It’s not happiness. Perfection must be sought, but then get rid from the dictatorship of perfection. Going towards happiness. It must be like an explosion at the end ... feeling good, the happiness of being in space. "
curated by cinzia farina
Álvaro Siza, exhibited works and projects, curated by Maurizio Oddo
July, 15th and 16th, 2011
July 15th, 2011 Time: 10,00 – Auditorium di Ingegneria e Architettura dell'Università degli Studi di Enna Kore – Lectio Magistralis di Alvaro Siza, introduction by Francesco Dal Co
July 16th, 2011 Time: 10,00 – Tribune dell'Autodromo di Pergusa, round table with Alvaro Siza, Maurizio Oddo, Carlos Castanheira, Roberto Collovà, Chiara Baglione
July 16th, 2011 Time 5 p.m., Palazzo Militello, Enna, Exhibition Inauguration
Exhibition at Palazzo Militello, Piazza S. Francesco, Enna
From July 16th to September 16th, 2011
everyday from 10,30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. - free entrance