Current Issue: Domus 1009

Domus 1009

Cover: graphic interpretation of the drawings by Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu for the regeneration of Wencun Village, Fuyang, China

Editorial: For a theory of design

In our recent editorials we have developed our reflections mainly on the conditions of the world today. We have done so in the conviction that we are living at a turning point in time where it is becoming harder to find our bearings, for nothing seems to be worth what it was before and everything is being called into question again. It is one of those points in time where doubts prevail over certainties, which is beginning to make most of what we do difficult and unsure. Indeed our endeavours seem increasingly incapable of fully responding to the needs of humanity in our times, causing us to doubt even our own actions and driving us towards change.

Álvaro Siza in Italia. Il Grand Tour 1976-2016

The lengthy and deeply felt relationship between this Portuguese maestro and Italy is the subject of a beautiful exhibition dedicated to him by the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca in Rome. We offer our readers Siza’s highly personal account of his love for Italy, especially his two favourite cities, Naples and Venice.

A gift for Rome

At the origins of architecture

The exploration of places hosting examples of excellent architecture is the founding principle of the teaching unit directed by Morell at the ETSAM in madrid, in which work conducted in seminars aims to find the essence of ways of life and work in primordial societies, to counter the models found in today’s technology and commerce-driven society.

Faculty of Architecture and Planning, TU Wien

The Technische Universität in Vienna, one of the oldest polytechnics in the world, preserves a vocation for the maximum degree of openness – there are no enrolment fees and no student entrance exams. Its ambitious goal is to train versatile specialists who are competent in design but who also speak the languages of other professions and sectors.

Column, sculpture, wall

Paying homage to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 30 years after the reconstruction of his Pavilion, the Fundació Mies van der Rohe in Barcelona organised a symposium presenting the latest research on the German master. We publish an extract from a talk by Fritz Neumeyer at the beginning of the study days.

Ever onwards

The famous drawings of the Città Nuova by the Como-born architect Antonio Sant’Elia were forbearers of the modern cities to come. On the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of his death, we remember him with an account by Antonio Longatti, who has been studying his life and works for many years.

In the end: architecture

After having founded and directed the Architekturzentrum Wien for over 20 years, Dietmar Steiner steps down with an exhibition, a conference and a publication covering the most important stages in the career of this internationally acclaimed architect, researcher, critic, publicist and curator, who for 60 years has been a key player in the field.

Italian modernism seen from across the English channel

Disregarded until 1934, when the RIBA held an exhibition in London of the best international works of architecture made in the preceding decade, modern Italian buildings have been discovered and re-evaluated thanks to photography. Here, Valeria Carullo gives an overview of British publications and shows that have lent visibility to rationalism from the 1930s to now.

A mutating museum

While Basel and London have new design museums that are broad in scope, what goes on in Milan? After the 21st Triennale event, we asked Silvana Annicchiarico, founder and director of the TDM since 2007, if the museum’s formula is still valid and what the future holds in store.

A question of form

Starting with a family business strongly rooted in its territory, the Crosettas began provoking the market, bringing design to the unexplored field of radiators. Domus visited them at the Tubes factory in the Veneto region, where they recounted the phases and dynamics of a 25-year course and its new evolutions under the banner of innovation.

Energy Hub, Elephant Park, London, Great Britain

With masterly skill and compositional finesse, these British architects have designed a power plant to function as a community heart for the newly developed neighbourhood at Elephant Park in London. Public services are combined with innovation in sustainable energy as well as in the project’s final form.

Onthology of representation

Reorganisation work in the wake of an environmental disaster requires the identification of operational priorities. Among these, according to Milani, one must not forget the value of memory: not only with regards to the form of a territory but also bearing in mind the lives of the inhabitants. Responsible architecture must consider the aesthetic significance of the constructed landscape.

Regeneration of Wencun Village, Fuyang, China

This project embodies a new approach to the transformation of villages in rural China. The 2012 Pritzker Prize-winning architect Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu attentively studied the layout of a specific hamlet and its traditional type of house with an inner court, and then designed 24 dwellings as variations on that theme.

Wencun Village

Lycée Hôtelier, Lille, France

A masterly piece of work shows how a transformed industrial area can become a new swatch of city. This acclaimed British duo has produced a project of great maturity, illustrating their remarkable ability to enter into a dialogue with shapes, materials and techniques of the past.

Renovation of a school, Hünenberg, Switzerland

This exemplary renewal features strong pragmatism in maintaining the building’s footprint and general structure, and great sensibility in the architectural details and treatment of surfaces. The young Swiss firm that designed it makes a contribution to the currently topical subject of giving old buildings new extensions.

Future wonderland

New production processes, new materials and new ways of using colour are all on display at the important Aisslinger retrospective on at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. Here, this well-known German designer tells us how the key elements in his work are authentic research and production sustainability.

Getting faster without time loss

The old industrial area near the Scalo Farini in Milan, the location of the new Lia Rumma Gallery building, has proven to be a perfect part of the city for the return to Italy of the great German artist, almost 30 years on from his first exhibition in Naples. The tectonic strength of his work fills the three floors of the building, lending a permanent, museum-like aspect to the entire installation.

Richard Blythe’s Melbourne

Elzeviro: A historical-utopian aside

Controversial proposals for social reform that germinated in ancient Athens constitute a view forward to the typical 20th-century problem of giving a stable, dignified and collective structure to the difficult housing conditions of the working class.

Rassegna: Sustainable building