Architecture as the Art and Technique of Transformation: Themes and Figures from Italian Experience

By Francesco Cianfarani.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

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Today, patterns and tools of architectural design are still based on the idea of architecture as a pure, ex-nihilo creation. However, architecture is first of all art of transformation and formalization of existing materials in a new order and through contemporary values. In fact, the analysis of the most significant historical architectures survived through the past tells us that buildings are more durable if their structures and their meanings are not exempt from the change. In Italy, where the most important occasions of working are constituted mainly by projects on existing buildings, there are many theoretical and practical experiences that have led designers to a redefinition of categories and paradigms of contemporary design. New tools and skills characterize Italian design culture, which still gives attention to the historical understanding in architecture but also to different theories of reuse and reinterpretation taken from art and philosophy. Despite the importance of this theme, the international architectural culture is still fragmentary and insufficient. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to reorder, through three emblematic projects taken from the Italian experience of the last thirty years, a set of methods and critical instruments useful to the design of existing buildings.

Keywords: Architecture, Design, Architectural Transformation, History of Architecture, Ruin, Italian Architecture, Conservation, Giorgio Grassi, Massimo Carmassi, Francesco Venezia, Ernesto Nathan Rogers. Cesare Brandi, Lacuna

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.67-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.098MB).

Dr. Francesco Cianfarani

PhD Candidate, Department “Architettura e progetto Diap”, Faculty of Architecture Valle Giulia, University of Study “Sapienza” Rome, Rome, Italy

Dr. Cianfarani was born in Sora, Italy in 1982. He received his degree with honors and special mention in Architecture, from the School of Architecture Valle Giulia, Sapienza University of Rome, in 2008. He has a PhD in Architectural and Urban Composition from the School of Architecture, DIAP Department, Sapienza University of Rome, which he received in 2012. He is the author of articles on various topics related to architectural design, history of architecture and urban transformation. Mostly his research activity is divided between analysis of existing building transformations and studies concerning architectural design theory. He is the winner of several workshops and competitions as first designer on the theme of design and redevelopment of housing and social environment.