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carlo scarpa, architect: gipsoteca del canova, extension of the canova museum in possagno, italy 1955-1957. exterior.

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posted by alias seier+seier on Saturday 22nd of June 2013 12:46:55 AM

gipsoteca del canova, canova plaster cast gallery extension, possagno 1955-57. architect: carlo scarpa 1906-1978 with valeriano pastor. to understand the scale, you must know that the woman to the right is the tiniest italian guide, I have ever seen. on its own, the museum is a small building, and size along with thoughtful articulation is an obvious part of its attraction. there was something else on my mind during my visit, though, and perhaps the american architects can see it from here; a number of qualities to this buildings that relate specifically to the U.S. and no, it is not scarpa's preoccupation with frank lloyd wright which is not all that outspoken here anyway, unless we consider this a particularly playful take on unity temple. no, it is something else, found in the shifted grids of the plan, in the sudden and machine-like symmetry of parts, in those determined corner windows that take a piece off the roof too, in the layered composition of spaces and walls, and in those highly idiosyncratic tectonics. if this is not the beginning of morphosis, of thom mayne, rotondi and those related, it is certainly an important influence that helped deliver them from post-modernism and into a revived modernism. they have come a long way since then, but those corner windows are hard to forget. and they were not alone. scarpa's impact in america in the 1990's was far greater than in europe where his influence was probably mostly on exhibition design. lessons from scarpa were important to the works of tod williams and billie tsien, the steven holl of st. ignatius and even, as we saw the other day, rural studio. or perhaps you can produce a more reasonable list of names? the scarpa set.

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