At Home. Projects for contemporary housing from MAXXI archives

A selection of materials, including drawings and photographs, presents designs by famous Italian architects alongside works by the new generation of international designers.

“At Home. Projects for contemporary housing from the MAXXI Architecture collection” is an exhibition that touches on the most interesting, topical and open themes of contemporary architecture; from social housing to grand urban workshops, sustainability and co-housing. To do so, the curators Marcherita Guaccione and Pippo Ciorra have selected very special materials from the prestigious archives of the MAXXI, presenting projects, drawings, documents, photographs and films.

The exhibition, which can boast the achievement of having brought an archive to life and transform it into an area of active and proactive research, presents designs by famous Italian architects alongside works by the new generation of international designers. Thus, for example, an icon such as Villa Malaparte in Capri dialogues with the refuge in the Dolomites by the young firm DEMOGO; the University halls of Urbino by Giancarlo De Carlo come up against Sugar Hill by David Adjaye in Harlem. Casa Baldi by Paolo Portoghesi in Rome is placed alongside the “space-age” house by Zaha Hadid in Russia, while Stefano Boeri’s Vertical Forest in Milan is presented in relation to the Moryama House in Tokyo.

Luigi Pellegrin, Villa sull’Aurelia (Rome), 1964
Luigi Pellegrin, Villa sull’Aurelia (Rome), 1964. Courtesy Archivio Luigi Pellegrin

The entire exhibition is a dialogue, not only between the pairs of architects that Guccione and Ciorra have brought together for affinity, points and counterpoints, but also with the visitors and between the world of design practised in the field and the theory presented in Universities.

The exhibition presents rare and interesting period material from famous architects such as Adalberto Libera, Pierluigi Nervi, Carlo Scarpa, Mario Fiorentino, Aldo Rossi and Paolo Portoghesi, and case histories such as the INA Casa project are shown alongside designs and styles from the 21st century. The itinerary is full of surprises and unusual combinations, such as for example that between Casa Veritti by Carlo Scarpa and La Casa a Modica by Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo. The latter is Sicilian, while Scarpa was born in Venice, and as the curators explain, they share a zen-like and almost Japanese rigour, an interest in art, for small scale, and for the materials carefully chosen and studied.

Zaha Hadid Architects, The Capital Hill Residence, Moscow, 2018
Zaha Hadid Architects, The Capital Hill Residence, Moscow, 2018. Photo credit OKO Group images

Not to be missed is the cue for reflection that brings together two extraordinary examples of contemporary design; the Vertical Forest in Milan and the Moryama House in Tokyo by Ryue Nisshizawa. The affinity is based on dialogue with the surrounding context, and on the relationship between interior and exterior, architecture and nature.

On a much greater scale, Boeri presents a vertical development of the idea of collective housing, transforming residential towers into a series of overlapping villas, each with its garden providing the equivalent of two hectares of forest. “More than a residential tower, Boeri’s building aims to be a stack of villas, each with its own garden”, write the curators. “These are the stacked villas imagined in the past by Le Corbusier and here translated into a Milanese and ecological icon”.

In a dimension based instead on a single home, Nisshizawa explodes private space in a series of areas that dialogue horizontally with the urban and natural setting. At Home continues with an itinerary and public programme that considers the archetype of housing in all its complex and fascinating forms.

At Home. Projects for contemporary housing from the MAXXI Architecture collection
Margherita Guccione and Pippo Ciorra
Opening dates:
17 April 2019-22 March 2020

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