Editorial

Napoli

Super Modern

2020

In the famous essay by Walter Benjamin written together with Asia Lacis in 1925, Naples is immediately framed as the antithesis of the cities of northern Europe. It is a contrast founded not only on anthropological difference and daily habits, but also on a formal level: "Because for those who do not understand the forms, there is little to see here".

Curated by

LAN AND LABORATOIRE R.A.A.R

Authors

UMBERTO NAPOLITANO
ANDREA MAGLIO
MANUEL ORAZI
GIANLUIGI FREDA

Photographs

CYRILLE WEINER

Editors

PARK BOOKS (ENGLISH EDITION)
QUODLIBET (ITALIAN EDITION)

Number of pages

281

Graphic design

PUPILLA GRAPHIK

The complex stratification of Naples makes it difficult to read what clearly recognizes the phases of its growth but which allows for "transversal" analyzes capable of identifying certain permanence and particularities. The hypothesis of this study is that a latent trace can be identified in Neapolitan architecture, and specifically in that of contemporary times: the renouncement of defining abstract and idealizing models and the ability, if not the need, to measure the project with the physical, historical, social and landscape context. There are very few examples of Neapolitan buildings that can be isolated from their context and considered independently. In the vast majority of cases, the context is not only an element which enters into the definition of the project, but it is the decisive, essential and explicit starting point of the idea of design. The Villa Savoye in Naples could never have been built.

Lan Napoli 5
Lan Napoli 6
Lan Napoli 8
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Lan Napoli 2
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Lan Napoli 3

There are two criteria behind the selection of the works that make up this study. The first is historical: all the buildings selected were built in Naples between 1930 and 1960, or during a specific period in the history of Italian architecture that included both fascism and the post-war reconstruction. The second is critical: at a time in which we are collectively expressing the desire for an urban renewal, one that aspires to a more ecological, egalitarian and inclusive city, re-examining this heritage today allows us to challenge many certainties acquired thus far. This project of renewal calls upon our acumen in “city making” and for the need to reinvent the context in which the project itself operates.

Architecture today is called upon to respond to both global phenomena and local needs, and to forge a harmony with its territory that is not only material but also social and political. The project that is unable to manage such divergent complexities results in a building with little relation to the site in which it operates.

The experiments by Cosenza, Canino, Vaccaro, Rudofsky, and Filo Speziale, among others, bear witness to a specificity which can be described neither as stylistic, linguistic nor typological, and even less as symbolic or revealing of an identity. The common trait among all of these works lies in the definition of a hierarchy of content and of the discriminating elements of the project—that which renders the city, or the context, the element of reference.

The city, as form, language, ecosystem, economy or as history, is in each case considered as the frame of reference. It is the first rule of writing. It steers the system; it prevails over everything.

Manfredo Tafuri explains that architecture is “determined by its own traditions, by the objects that it analyzes, by the methods it adopts; it determines its own transformations and the reality that it deconstructs.” The studied body of works tells a story of the extension of architecture into the city and the interiorization of the city in architecture. The various buildings make legible this reciprocal transformation, revealing the figures, forms, and devices that belong to architecture and which can be understood, described and transmitted as such.

Lan Napoli Drawing 8
Lan Napoli Drawing 10
Lan Napoli Drawing 7
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Lan Napoli Drawing 3
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Lan Napoli Drawing 4
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Lan Napoli Drawing 2
Lan Napoli Drawing 1
Lan Napoli Drawing 6
Lan Napoli Drawing 5

The book is scheduled to be released in october 2020.