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Architects have often declared that, dimensionally, buildings originate from the proportions of the human body. Given the London’s current boom of high-rise and high-density architecture, are these contemporary buildings still relating to the human body? Or are we just pasting inhumane building blocks together? This triptych uses three images of large scale buildings to re-form an out-of-scale human body (Corpus Album - Human CONTINUUM)
Dedalous designed and built a labyrinth to hold the Minotaur. His building was so cunningly made that he could barely escape it after he built it (Loop CONTINUUM). Sometimes we build complex mazes (ArchiLabyrinths) which prevent us from seeing what we think we are unable to solve. However this complexity is just the output of repeated simplicity which can be dismantled at any time if we choose to. This set is formed by four shots of the same monolithic concrete bench.
Tensile architecture buildings feature seamless skins stretched into a surface CONTINUUM. The roof of a bus terminal in Stratford inspired this triptych which I interpret as a representation a frozen sea (Mare Immobilis) with static waves rising and breaking according to the change of the viewpoint. This last piece of London is the backdrop of my last walk in town before heading back to Tuscany and it raises questions on how de-contextualised architecture can be truthfully evocative.
Centuriation was a method of land measurement used by the Romans. It was characterised by the regular layout of a square grid which formed plots allocated to the veterans in a new colony. In modern cities the process of centuriation has adopted a tridimensional connotation (see the rising number of skyscrapers in London) and the grid is projecting upwards (Space CONTINUUM) into an unstoppable colonisation of the sky for today’s veterans.
Tube structures in their tridimensional folding and unfolding form a closed network of communicating ducts (Flow CONTINUUM) similar to the system of the smallest blood vessels (Capillaris) in the human body. This macro-micro parallel between man-made and nature-made works of engineering, shows how the apparently intricate and tangled complexity is governed by one simple function: channelling a loading to the ground or pumping blood through the human body.
Occasionally architecture borrows shapes from the natural world as in the aesthetic organic architecture by some of our contemporary “star” architects. The Flower Pavilion at the Festival of Architecture is here shown in detail, capturing the ever living petals (Foliae Aeternae) abstracted into a new geometry (Geometrical CONTINUUM). Is it always justifiable to borrow shapes from nature or is this sometimes just another gratuitous form of aesthetic abstractism?
African and Asian vernacular architecture uses natural materials such as mud and timber to form buildings which are a true extension of the ground (Extensio Terrae). Contemporary architecture is increasingly decontextualised and detached from nature albeit marketed as sustainable and allegedly based on the use of natural materials. However are our buildings a legitimate extension of the Earth?
The church rooftops of Mykonos inspired this triptych about religious architecture. In the Middle Ages, Romanesque churches were built in the shape of fortified buildings in order to defend the Faith. However in this work the re-combined domes show an impenetrable building (Impenetrabilis) closed onto itself without windows or doors. Are these walls still defending the Faith or are they just obsolete screens? (Isolated CONTINUUM)
Often in harbours and dockyards, built structures which are hidden under the water level and exposed only during the low tide. The wide-spread use of green walls in contemporary architecture artificially attempts to reconnect man-made structures to nature in the shape of gravity-defying compositions. This set shows how nature genuinely takes ownership of the hard surfaces with a living and breathing layer (Stratum Vivum) of vegetation exposed by the low tide (Living CONTINUUM).
Metamorphosis ad infinitum
This composition is part of the “Rorschach test images” series. This mirrored photograph shows the reflection of buildings on the surface of Jeff Koons’s Flower Sculpture. Similarly to some other popular sculptures with mirror-like surfaces, when the viewer moves around the object, the architecture bends and stretches in an endless metamorphosis (Methamorphosis ad infinitum). Our townscapes may appear oppressingly unmovable but is perhaps our perception of architecture excessively static?
This composition is part of the “Rorschach test images” series. During a solar eclipse the sunlight (Light CONTINUUM) is partly screened off. Its colour and intensity change and our visual perception is altered. Jean Nouvel’s pavilion featured red translucent panels. Inside this structure everything and everybody was tinted red in a man-made solar eclipse (Red Eclipse) which exploited nature and modified the perception of the space modelled around us.
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