This piece used a Jailbroken iPad and heavily modified Prezi presentation software.

Prezi and automated hacking tools to morph the consumer software into an installation platform

Hundreds of HQ scans and video “borrowed” from the NYPLibrary via a pocket scanner over a 3-month period. 

Curated by Maria Antonella Pelizzari and with the help of curatorial assistants, Peripheral Visions: Italian Photography in Context, 1950s-Present, is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with writing by the curator and researchers and published by Charta Editions, Milan and distributed by D.A.P. globally.

Media and Framework Used for installation (LINK)

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

Giuseppe Pagano (1896–1945)

Image and text: Casabella continuità 265, July 1962“[Pictured]: Looking through one of two penetration tunnels inside [the] courts [of the INA-Casa and INCIS Quarter, Via Cavedone, Bologna].”

Images and text: Casabella continuità, April-May 1957“The buildings near Palermo for a ceramic factory consist, apart from the factory itself, of a group of factory houses for the factory employees and of a house for the manager, which is now being erected… Below: A North view of the factory and the group of the workers’ houses seen from the factory.”

Image and text: Casabella continuità, December 1962

“Since those held in Rome, the meetings and congresses of the National Institute of Town-Planning (INU) have assumed a precise institutional role: they provide the occasion for… high-level discussion and collaboration between town-planners and lawyers, economists, politicians, and lawmakers.”

Image and text: U.S. Economic Cooperation Administration (Documentation of Marshall Plan Activities), ca. 1948-ca. 1955“Matera, Italy: Italy’s government and America’s Economic Cooperation Administration cooperate to build a new housing project for the people of Matera. Note the Marshall Plan shield on the hoarding.”

Casabella & Domus History

Cover, Domus 205, January 1946

No problem is solved if it does not at once respond to utility, morals, and aesthetics.

A house is no house if it is not warm in winter, cool in summer, serene in every season, receiving the family in harmonious spaces. A house is no house if it does not contain a corner for reading poetry, an alcove, a bathtub, a kitchen. This is the house of man. And a man is no man if he does not possess such a house. Does this house exist? Did it ever exist?…

A magazine can be an instrument, a filter for establishing the criterion of choice…It is a matter of forming a style, a technique, a morality as terms of a single function. It is a matter of building a society…Let us all help each other to find the harmony between the human measure and divine proportion.

(Ernesto N. Rogers, “Program: Domus, the House of Man”)

Interventions in southern Italy were fueled in part by the sassi of Matera. Frequently referred to as “the shame of Italy,” this district consisted of ancient cliffside dwellings with few hygienic amenities. Perhaps most shocking to the Italian public, many residents of the stassi brought their farm animals inside at night, sleeping side by side with cows or sheep in order to prevent their theft. Although Matera became a rallying point for intervention in the South, the entire region was economically underdeveloped and deeply impoverished, due in large part to residual effects from Fascist zoning policies. Town-planning and the arrival of factories contributed to the region’s turnaround.

Image and text: Domus 483, February 1970“The visual continuity between the interior and exterior spaces through the transparent… walls puts the predominant structural feature in evidence: the “U” shaped section of the roof slab.”

Images: Casabella continuità, December 1953-January 1954

Viale Etiopia’s eight residential towers make prominent use of efficient reinforced-concrete piers and standardized construction elements, while “regional” details–such as majolica tiling and wrought iron balconies–lend the design a broader aesthetic appeal.

The 1949 Fanfani Plan addressed Italy’s postwar housing crisis only secondarily; intended to create jobs by stimulating the construction industry, the legislation provided for a government-sponsored mass housing program, which was to be overseen by the newly formed public agency INA-Casa.

Early INA-Casa projects commonly followed an “enclosed quarter” model. Many peripheral districts lacked easy access to basic services, prompting progressive architects to design public housing estates equipped with schools, recreation centers, shops, and clinics, among other facilities. However, such projects often remained incomplete, with later phases of construction delayed or canceled as a result of bureaucratic inefficiency and the uncertain availability of government funding.

Writing in July 1961, Aldo Rossi asserted that the INA-Casa quarters were “no more than islands of poverty cut off from any organic relationship with the city.” In December 1962, Giuseppe Samonà made a similar assertion: “Of course, the times of naively revolutionary ideological choices have passed, and the social experiments in quarters of the city… have palled.” These assessments reflect the impact of “the new dimension,” a model for urban growth that treats the city as a series of interrelated parts, with particular attention given to socioeconomic circumstances. In the pages of Casabella continuità, attention shifted from mass housing estates to “directional centers,” infrastructural buildings or roadways designed to link isolated neighborhoods with much-needed services located in alternative city centers.

In a June 1943 article for Costruzioni-Casabella, editor Giuseppe Pagano looked ahead to postwar Italy, calling for a reconstruction plan that would fully resolve “the problem of human habitation” before attending to the restoration of historical monuments. Guided by a reformist agenda throughout his tenure, Pagano had previously drawn attention to overcrowding and structural deficiencies in the low-income housing of Milan’s Corso Garibaldi quarter. He envisioned alternative residences shaped according to the practical concerns of “the people”; stripped of adornment, these cost-efficient designs promoted physical and spiritual wellbeing with modern hygienic amenities and ready access shared outdoor spaces. In his extended analysis of public housing, Pagano anticipated many of the questions that would drive architectural discourse following the war.

After a brief stint as editor of Domus magazine, Ernesto Nathan Rogers took charge of the newly revived and retitled Casabella continuità in December 1953; he treated the magazine as a forum for the investigation of socially responsible architecture and urban planning practices; and as Pagano had done before him, he defended the relevance of traditional and vernacular forms to modernist building design. Appearing in the inaugural issue of Casabella continuità, Mario Ridolfi and Wolfgang Frankl’s Viale Etiopia quarter (1948–1954), represents an effective assimilation of modernist and popular design vocabularies.

As the 1950s came to a close, progressive Italian architects began to look beyond questions of form in order to embrace the discipline of urban planning. Although Rogers remained in his official leadership role at Casabella continuità until 1964, younger colleagues Aldo Rossi and Francesco Tentori became increasingly influential; promoted to editorial positions in 1961, this next generation of architects took up the investigation of Italy’s urban peripheries.

Modern & Vernacular

Images: Casabella continuità, April-May 1957

Construction of a House: INA-Casa (Tula, Italy) ca. 1950

Italy’s economic miracle (ca. 1957-1963) represented a moment of spectacular industrial growth as the economy shifted from an agrarian to a manufacturing base. The promise of employment in Italy’s large northern cities–particularly Milan, Turin, and Genoa–prompted a mass migration of rural and southern Italians. The swelling urban population strained infrastructures, creating housing shortages and promoting the development of economically and socially disenfranchised districts on the urban periphery.

Urban Peripheries

Images and text: Domus 483, February 1970“This recent work of Vittoriano Viganò’s–[the Attiva Plant] in the plain between Novi Ligure and Alessandria–stresses the coherence of his architectural language. See the dynamic relationship of the structure with the site: the horizontal development of the architecture underlines the wide flat landscape, while creating a definite image recognizable from afar. See the staggered progress of the low boundary walls and the green areas filtrating between the buildings.”

Italy’s economic miracle (ca. 1957-1963) represented a moment of spectacular industrial growth as the economy shifted from an agrarian to a manufacturing base. The promise of employment in Italy’s large northern cities–particularly Milan, Turin, and Genoa–prompted a mass migration of rural and southern Italians. The swelling urban population strained infrastructures, creating housing shortages and promoting the development of economically and socially disenfranchised districts on the urban periphery.

Images and text: Casabella continuità 253, July 1961“The face of the contemporary city is for the most part represented by the outskirts: a large part of humanity is born, grows up, and lives on the outskirts of cities, that is, in those huge zones which rose rapidly around the old centers and now together with all the signs and scars of too rapid a growth, show a new and more intense vitality.”(Aldo Rossi, “The City and the Outskirts”)

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Images and text: Casabella continuità, December 1953-January 1954

“View of the buildings completed and inhabited. There are shops on the ground floor. The other buildings are not yet completed.”

Images and text: Casabella 391, July 1974

“Here are two subsidized buildings specifically designed for the Gallaratese quarter, Milan, where for some time now the inhabitants have been clamoring for houses and social services.”

Southern Transformation

Public Housing Projects

Image and text: Casabella continuità 199, December 1953-January 1954“The true conscience of the Modern Movement lies in its continual transcendence: in its never-ending conquest of itself with every form acquired… [T]hus when I talk of continuity, I am talking of a dynamic continuity, which is to say, of a continuos sense of tradition, well beyond the coarse nominalistic meaning of the word.” (Ernesto N. Rogers, “Continuità”)

“When painting, the cinema, and literature deal with the city, they reflect this aspect in which everything is in itself rich with new motifs: the man of the metropolis is now the man of the suburbs, the most typical feelings of our time are attributed to the residents of this zone.”

(Aldo Rossi, “The City and the Outskirts,” Casabella continuità 253, July 1961)

Image: Casabella continuità, December 1962

Introduced in 1959, the term la nuova dimensione–”the new dimension”–refers to a model for urban growth in which the city is treated as a series of interrelated parts, including center, periphery, and socioeconomic foundation. In practical terms, “the new dimension” extended the purview of architecture from questions of form and style to the realm of urban planning.

“Houses for Workers (Meolo, Italy),” Foto Giacomelli, Venice, 1950

Images: Casabella continuità 270, December 1962

Giuseppe Pagano promoted an architecture based on the simple functionality of rural peasant dwellings; designed to support the routine activities of daily life, these structures were efficient in cost and construction and expressed pride in an “authentic” Italian vernacular tradition. Still, Pagano was deeply invested in the notion of modernity; he embraced engineering and technology, calling for expanded infrastructure for the delivery of running water, electricity, and telephone lines–and highlighting the need to promote hygienic living spaces with adequate light and fresh air for all Italians.

Rogers also championed regional and vernacular styles, citing the importance of “continuità”–continuity–or integration of the new into the existing urban environment. English critic Reyner Banham famously accused Rogers of supporting an “infantile regression” in Italian architecture, prompting a heated exchange between the two in a series of magazine editorials. Rogers’ Torre Velasca, Milan (1958) became a symbol of this negotiation between old and new forms, drawing harsh criticism from many of Europe’s avant-garde architects. By contrast, Gio Ponti’s Torre Pirelli, Milan (1960) was widely celebrated as a sign of Italian economic progress, with its sleek soaring lines emulating an American skyscraper.

In the wake of global political upheaval, architectural style became a hotly contested matter; classicism was dismissed as the language of oppressive Fascist monuments, while pure modernism seemed to express a naive faith in technological progress—and a willful ignorance of the devastation wrought by war machinery. The vernacular inflections of many INA-Casa projects, by contrast, signaled the arrival of a democratic Italy committed to fulfilling the material and psychological needs of “the people.”

Images and text: Casabella continuità 253, July 1961

“[Pictured]: Works in progress for the new quick traffic roads through Milan. The too late development of quick traffic roads in and out of the city…seem rather poor as compared with the actual city size expanding over wider areas already thickly built…”

Building Reform & Politics

Industrial Buildings

Ernesto Nathan Rogers (1909–1969)

Aldo Rossi (1931-1997)

Image and text: Casabella continuità 270, December 1962

“This issue on the city and region is dedicated to Adriano Olivetti, who was the first in Italy to grasp the historical and instrumental importance of their relationship and their interdependence.”

(Ernesto N. Rogers, “Unity Throughout Adriano Olivetti’s Life”)

Image and text: U.S. Economic Cooperation Administration (Documentation of Marshall Plan Activities), ca. 1948-ca. 1955

“The picture shows Larderello in the background with refrigerators and plant buildings. At left [are] some of the new apartment houses which have been built for employees.”