Ada Louise Huxtable once described him as “a poet who happens to be an architect.” Italian architect Aldo Rossi (1931-1997) was known for his drawings, urban theory, and for winning the Pritzker Prize (in 1990). Rossi also directed the Venice Biennale in 1985 and 1986 – one of only two who have served as director twice.
Earlier this year San Rocco, recipients of the inaugural Icon Award for Emerging Architectural Practice of the Year in 2013, published a limited single-edition run of a new publication: the San Rocco Book of Copies. Within five volumes of 4120 pages lies what they describe as “a database comprised of images that may be copied in order to produce architecture; a receptacle of a collective form of knowledge that we can provisionally call ‘architecture’.”
San Rocco is a very particular architecture magazine, described by its creators as something that “does not solve problems. It is not a useful magazine […] is neither serious nor friendly”, a curated selection of writings around particular topics related to the current state of architectural thinking and criticism. San Rocco has a five year plan, a limited time frame where 20 editions will be published with topics that range from “Scary Architects” and “Collaborations”, to “What’s wrong with the primitive hut” or “Houses for billionaires”.
During the 13th Venice Biennale, San Rocco was present in two exhibits at the Arsenale, including the launch of their project “Book of Copies” at the “Museum of Copying” exhibit curated by FAT. ”Books of Copies” is an online database comprised of images that can be copied in order to produce architecture. As such, “Books of Copies” are receptacles of a collective form of knowledge that we can provisionally call “architecture”. During the Biennale, visitors can photocopy and remix their own magazines.
The Museum of Copying, curated by British architect’s FAT, was one of my favorite exhibitions at the Venice Biennale. The subject of copy in architecture has always interested me, in relation to how the series of copies in the form of iterations are what make architecture evolve. The concept is explored in this exhibit with three installations, starting with Villa Rotunda Redux, the iconic Palladio building copied (or reinterpreted?) through history now digitally fabricated and casted.
More about the Museum of Copying from the architects after the break.