Into the Historic Fabric
Architectural Insertions: Building into the Historic Fabric _ Angelos Psilopoulos
Building into the historic fabric has largely become one of the principal challenges of contemporary architecture. Unshackled from the messianic promises of Modernism and its large-scale programs of substitution of the “old” with a cleansed a-chronic “new”, societies and architects alike stand emancipated against their own built legacy. Since the 90s, the same applies to the preservationist fixations that see heritage in the terms of artifacts maintained as lifeless testaments of their past.
In itself, the idea of heritage brings forth one of the most fundamental aspects in mankind’s endeavor for self-preservation and evolution, namely to preserve human values and memory. In these terms, safeguarding heritage becomes an act of responsibility involving equally an ethical stance, normative policy, and technical expertise. Nevertheless “cultural heritage” is hardly exhausted as a mere catalog of artifacts that show “outstanding universal value”, mainly because culture itself is embedded and evolving in the fabric of everyday practices and the living memory of the community.
We Live in the Wood(s)
We Live in the Wood(s) _ Diego Terna
Past issues of the magazine have presented projects in which wood served as both building material and protagonist, evoking a history of building technologies, types of spaces, international scale economies. Perhaps influenced by ecological research, architects today tend to prefer wood as a characteristic element of an innovative approach, less for consumerist motives and more so out of regard for the natural balance of the Earth.
This return to wood, however, is transformed, in some cases, into research aimed toward a new conception of nature: In this sense the projects presented here seem to find in their immersion into the landscape their reason for being, with the wood becoming a sort of pretext for pushing the buildings toward a conquest of the wilderness.
In this sense the writings of Henry D. Thoreau will be the starting point in describing this journey into the wild, a journey that will tell of an open architecture in which wood is a metaphor for this symbiosis between built and natural territory. The projects of Ettore Sottsass and Junya Ishigami create a link between spatial experimentation and the extreme approach that Thoreau sought to induce in his disciples, including Chris McCandless, whose stories are told in the film Into the Wild.
We will find such experimentation in the homes analyzed here, in which wild nature enters fully into the life of the inhabitants, and in which one may scarcely distinguish between living in wood, or in the woods.
Resonating with Nature
Marco Casagrande, the Principal of the Casagrande Laboratory is a Finnish architect, environmental artist, and social theorist. From the early stages of his career, he started to mix architecture with other disciplines related to art and science. Starting from 1999, he has created 65 cross-disciplinary, original and radical works.
His works and teaching are moving freely in-between architecture, landscape, environmental art, urban and environmental design and science adding up into cross-over architectural thinking, a broad vision of built human environment.
C3 has interviewed Marco Casagrande to hear more stories about his work and thoughts on “Nature”, “Locality”, “Regeneration”, “Method of Work”, “Role of Architect and Realm of Architecture”.