Architect Carlo Chiappi (1939-2001) was an important figure in Florence during the years that led to the formation of the avant-garde generation of Italian architecture. After getting his diploma in 1967 (at about the same time as A.Branzi, G.Corretti, P.Deganello, C.Greppi, M.Morozzi and A.Natalini, that is, the people who later formed Superstudio and Archizoom) he was part of the Superarchitettura exhibition in Modena (1967) and took part in the competitions for the arrangement of the Fortezza da Basso in Florence (1967) together with Adolfo Natalini, and to the international competition for the Italian Pavilion in Osaka (1968 – Superstudio + Carlo Chiappi).
During the same years Chiappi focused his interest in the educational architecture and together with an irregular group occasionally formed by Adolfo Natalini, Rino Vernuccio and the Gori studio, he took part in competitions for schools in the region of Tuscany.
The three projects shown here follow a slighly less exacerbated version of the technomorphic architecture people like Cristiano Toraldo di Francia were experimenting with in the same years (see his “Holiday Machine in Tropea, Italy“).
The design of these projects follows an idea of openess, flexibility and adaptability specific for the educational program and able to foster a shifting in the way teaching itself is done in these educational complex.
These projects have common methodological syntax and can be read according to some particular models of reading. In an architecture, in fact, it is always possible to identify a series of possible reading channels. One of these may be understood by the fact that architecture always arises as a “spatial object with plastic mechanism”, with all the possible and imaginable phenomenological implications, from the point of view of the communication relationships, that it (the object) engage with the users.
Another reading channel, however, could involve qualitative scaling of the object named “architecture as a service” for the users. Users which, interacting in it, determine a usability index of the object itself. We believe that there is a complementary relationship between all possible ways of reading.
Maybe (sometimes) the work of the architect as creator of spatial objects with plastic or poetic mechanisms is superfluous and it would be honest by him to step back and acknowledge the redundancy of his objects.
However, the architect does not abandon the field. He shifts his commitment to the design of a livable minimum, of a primary structure, aimed only to the satisfaction of elementary and basic needs of the users and in order for them to regain a maximum of freedom.
That means to clear the field from all “unnecessary superstructures” and from any architectural redundancy. The problem of teaching arises today, from the point of view of “architecture as a service”, in terms of a dynamic teaching in the sphere of relations between individuals and groups, at any didactic level.
Operationally, this means planning and identifying an organism which is structurally available to an effective use of mobility. Obviously, it means the rejection of atrophied solutions for effective teaching mobilities, ie. rejection of a rigid functionalism for a versatile functionalism. If read in this double manner the two projects described here can be said to be equivalent. (C. C. – translated from the Italian by Socks)
Competition for a day nursery school in La Spezia
Carlo Chiappi, Adolfo Natalini, Alì Navai, Rino Vernuccio. Fiesole
Contract competition for a secondary school in Florence
Carlo Chiappi, Giuseppe Gori, Rino Vernuccio. Fiesole
Competition for a Technical and Commercial Institute in Prato.
Mario Mugnai, Giancarlo Bertolozzi, Carlo Chiappi, Pierluigi Marcaccini. Florence
Controspazio 6, Nov 1969 “Tre progetti di edifici scolastici” 47-53 (scans from this issue)
Gabriele Mastrigli: Superstudio. Opere 1966-1978
Roberto Gargiani, Beatrice Lampariello: Superstudio
Peter Lang: Superstudio: Life without Objects
Giulia Chiappi: Carlo Chiappi architetto. Misura, qualità e regola nella costruzione del progetto
Fabio Fabbrizzi: Opere e progetti di scuola fiorentina, 1968-2008
Carlo Chiappi: Tipo, progetto, Composizione architettonica
Day Nursery. In Cristiano Toraldo di Francia website
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