In a new exhibition at the Italian Cultural Institute in Toronto, the works of two boundary-pushing Italian architects exemplify the tension between the performative and the minimal. “In a country such as Italy, these two global trends have met resistance,” the curators state. “The resistance can be in part be understood as a long tradition of criticism that rejects the reduction of architecture to an instrumental expression of function, technique, or finance. A building is understood as a cultural and artistic artifact.”
The architects in question are Caserta-based Beniamino Servino and Turin’s Stefano Pujatti. The latter heads up Elasticospa+3, a firm that plays with tectonic form in its architecture works situated away from the bustling city, such as Slow Horse and 1301 Inn with their shard-like dormer windows. And in its urban projects, it takes its surroundings into consideration as part of the architecture’s very fabric, as in the Atelier Fleuriste. Beniamino Servino’s work, which includes a house for two carpenter brothers, explores the sense of the monumental in the abandoned structures of his hometown of Caserta.
The two architects are the focus of “Form Matters,” which is just the first instalment of an ambitious architecture series at the ICI, which will run for three years. The full program encompasses two exhibitions; “Form Matters” begins on November 20th, 2015, while the second part of Italy Under Construction begins in the spring of 2016. The spring series will be broader in theme, and show works by various contemporary firms innovating in the realms of public housing, urbanism and the domestic landscapes of the private house. And while the main focus is on contemporary Italian architecture, the series will include both Italian and North American practitioners – using Toronto’s multiculturalism as a starting point.
“Form Matters,” the first exhibition in the series of Italy Under Construction, takes place at the Italian Cultural Institute from November 20, 2015 (the opening event is at 6:30pm) to January 22, 2016. On November 21, at 11am, architects Stefano Pujatti and Beniamino Servino will participate in a talk event at the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design (230 College St., Room 103).