The theme of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition, Common Ground, seems particularly apposite in describing the sense of rapport and relationship that is one of Italy’s primary characteristics in the development of cultural research and inquiry. This relationship has always been attained through reference to and an exchange between not only the purview of the contemporary, but also the past and our always compellingly tangible history.
From Maddalena Ragni: The Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities has taken this opportunity as a basis for comparison in selecting the curatorial project to be presented at the Italian Pavilion. Indeed, this year the MiBAC, through the Director General for landscape, fine arts, and contemporary art and architecture, decided to appoint the curator of the Italian Pavilion by organising a comparative invitational competition where candidates were asked to present a project that they considered would best represent current Italian architectural research and inquiry.
The Ministry thus invited candidates who, in the context of contemporary Italian architecture, were working in the multiple and complementary fields of research and inquiry, and who were therefore able to represent various points of view on the complex panorama of the current state of architecture in Italy. Particular attention was paid to the demands of social and economic development, as well as to the younger generations, who are the bedrock of our future research and development.
To this end, the Ministry determined specific areas of activity, including criticism, historical research, design, and journalism. The Ministry also established thematic lines that embody the Ministry’s main areas of institutional activity in terms of the contemporary, and that is the city and urban policy, sustainability, the changing landscape, the community’s own territorial proposals, our cultural heritage, and contemporary approaches to architectural recovery and upgrading.
The winning project, submitted by the architect Luca Zevi, has interpreted the intentions of the Ministry by proposing a reading of the contemporary through recourse to specific, significant experiences of our recent past. One such example, that of Adriano Olivetti, is still one of the most advanced experiments at an international level of the relationship between enlightened business, technological innovation, and architectural and artistic inquiry, all working together to afford quality of work and quality of life. The end result is not only an organisational and practical model, but also an example of our cultural heritage that must be preserved.
One of the centrals part of the curatorial project is its focus on emerging themes and the challenges of the near future, including energy and food production, and this, in turn, provides a link with that other important international event to be held in Italy – Expo 2015, which be held in Milan, and to which the Pavilion will dedicate a specific section.