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The Mediterranean is not a Myth. Bernard Rudofsky’s Mediterranean Eutopias

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Andrea Maglio Fabio Mangone Antonio Pizza

IMMAGINARE IL MEDITERRANEO
ARCHITETTURA ARTI FOTOGRAFIA

artstudiopaparo

1
Storia_Progetto_Costruzione
Collana di Architettura
diretta da Fabio Mangone e Giovanni Menna
Volume 4

Andrea Maglio Fabio Mangone Antonio Pizza

IMMAGINARE IL MEDITERRANEO
ARCHITETTURA ARTI FOTOGRAFIA

artstudiopaparo
IMMAGINARE IL MEDITERRANEO
ARCHITETTURA ARTI FOTOGRAFIA

Il presente volume nasce da un programma di ricerca sui temi dell’architettura, delle arti
e dell’immaginario mediterranei promosso dal BAP (Centro interdipartimentale di ri-
cerca per i Beni Architettonici e ambientali e per la Progettazione urbana), dell’Università
degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, e dall’Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Nei giorni
16 e 17 gennaio 2017 si è tenuto a Napoli un convegno internazionale che, fornendo
un’occasione di incontro tra esperti di diverse nazionalità e competenze disciplinari, ha
posto le basi per la curatela e la redazione del volume. Per la giornata di studi è stato
formato un comitato scientifico di cui hanno fatto parte Antonella Basilico, Annunziata
Berrino, Juan Calatrava, Hartmut Frank, Marisa García, Luciano Garella, Aldo Imer,
Mar Loren, Thierry Mandoul, Fabio Mangone, Renata Picone, Antonio Pizza, Dieter
Richter, Francesco Rispoli, Josep M. Rovira, Paola Villani.

I curatori desiderano ringraziare quanti hanno reso possibile la giornata di studi da cui
ha origine questa pubblicazione, e in particolare: Graziano Vazzoler e Eliano Romano
di Molteni & Dada per il generoso contributo; l’Ordine degli Architetti, Pianificatori,
Paesaggisti e Conservatori di Napoli e Provincia, in particolare nelle persone di Ciro
Buono e Renata Picone, per il supporto culturale e finanziario. Un sentito ringraziamento
va a Lucia Miodini e al personale del Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione del-
l’Università degli Studi di Parma, nonché a Salvatore Licitra Ponti, per la proficua col-
laborazione e per la concessione delle immagini, e a Valeria Pagnini per il contributo
decisivo nella fase di editing dei testi del volume.

artstudiopaparo
Storia_Progetto_Costruzione
Collana di Architettura
diretta da Fabio Mangone e Giovanni Menna
Collana scientifica sottoposta a referaggio.
Comitato scientifico internazionale:
Paolo Girardelli, Bogazici University - Istanbul
Michelangelo Sabatino, Illinois Institute of Technology. College of Architecture - Chicago
Marcus Koehler, Technische Universität - Dresden
Antonio Pizza, UPC. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - Barcelona
Volume 4

IMMAGINARE IL MEDITERRANEO
ARCHITETTURA ARTI FOTOGRAFIA
a cura di
Andrea Maglio, Fabio Mangone, Antonio Pizza

Coordinamento redazionale
Valeria Pagnini

Coordinamento editoriale
e progetto grafico
artstudiopaparo

Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II” Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya Ordine degli Architetti P.P.C. di Napoli e Provincia

Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca


per i Beni Architettonici e Ambientali
e per la Progettazione Urbana

© 2017 artstudiopaparo srl - Napoli


www.artstudiopaparo.com
info@artstudiopaparo.com In copertina
Senza titolo (Hotel du Cap, Progetto di bungalows per Eden Roc, Antibes), 1939, © Gio Ponti Archives.
Euro 35,00
In retrocopertina
ISBN 978 88 99130 480 B. Rudofsky, Il Golfo di Napoli, pavimento maiolicato a Villa Oro (composizione di Ugo Rossi).
Sommario

I - La costruzione dell’immaginario

9 Antonio Pizza, Introduzione

13 Alberto Rubio-Garrido, Juan Calduch-Cervera, Arquitectura, ciencia y mito. Goethe en Sicilia

21 Anna Giannetti, Quando il Mediterraneo scompare. Finis terrae tra libertà e inquietudine

31 Giuseppe Pignatelli, Prima del mito. Il viaggio di Pasquale Mattej nelle isole Ponziane

41 Antonio Pizza, “Esperienza e povertà” nel Mediterraneo: Walter Benjamin, Raoul Hausmann, Erwin Broner
nella Ibiza degli anni Trenta

55 Aitor Acilu, Rubén Alcolea, Carlos Labarta, Zweckdienstlichen Form. La arquitectura rural de Ibiza a través
de la Leica de Erwin Heilbronner

67 Luis Ruiz Padrón, Antonio Gámiz Gordo, Imágenes viajeras. Málaga en las tarjetas postales
de Photoglob Zürich hacia 1905

79 Iñaki Bergera, Imágenes junto al mar. Evolución del imaginario mediterráneo en la fotografía española
de la modernidad

91 Antonella Basilico, Tra realtà e idealizzazione: Capri nel linguaggio artistico contemporaneo

101 Maite Méndez Baiges, El estilo del relax y la imagen pop de la Costa del Sol

111 Cristina Arribas, Modernidad Mediterránea. La imagen moderna de España en los años 60 a través
de las postales turísticas

119 Roberto Serino, Sfasamenti… Enigmi decifrati dal mare

II - Progetto e costruzione dell’architettura

129 Fabio Mangone, Introduzione

133 Juan Calatrava, Charles Garnier y la arquitectura mediterránea: de la tradición Beaux-Arts al mito solar moderno

143 Monica Livadiotti, Costruire l’immagine del Dodecaneso tra identità italiana e Oriente immaginifico

157 Fabio Mangone, Aalto e il Mediterraneo

167 Lucia Miodini, Il progetto domestico della casa all’italiana e il dibattito sulle origini mediterranee
dell’abitazione moderna

179 Gemma Belli, IV Congrès d’Architecture Moderne: architetti in viaggio attraverso il Mediterraneo

5
187 Giovanni Menna, Piccola macchina per abitare il Mediterraneo. La Cabina da Spiaggia di Luigi Cosenza
(Napoli-Milano 1936)

197 Ugo Rossi, The Mediterranean is not a Myth. Bernard Rudofsky’s Mediterranean Eutopias

205 Elena Dellapiana, Case e sandali: Bernard Rudofsky dalle isole del Mediterraneo al mito dell’anonimo

215 Barbara Bertoli, Suggestioni mediterranee. Il patrimonio botanico della Mostra d’Oltremare

225 Antonello Monaco, Casa Lezza a Ischia Porto: Reporting from the Mediterranean Front

235 Massimiliano Savorra, Il Mediterraneo per tutti. Georges Candilis e il turismo per il Grande Numero

247 Federica Visconti, Una κοινὴ mediterranea e moderna

255 Cherubino Gambardella, Bum

III - I luoghi del turismo

263 Andrea Maglio, Introduzione

267 Sergio Pace, Il mare d’inverno, e poi anche d’estate. Nizza Marittima, città di villeggiatura
nell’età della Restaurazione sabauda (1815-60)

281 Salvatore Di Liello, Dal refuge all’utopia del modernismo: Procida nel Novecento

293 Ciro Buono, La linea di costa di Pozzuoli. Progetti e trasformazioni nel Novecento

305 Renata Picone, Capri e il Mediterraneo. Architetture e paesaggi da consegnare al futuro

317 Chiara Baglione, Immaginare la “Capri del Nord”. Architetti e architetture all’isola d’Elba

329 Andrea Maglio, L’altra faccia del golfo. Ischia e l’architettura mediterranea

343 Julio Garnica, Cadaqués, isla del Mediterráneo

353 Salvador Guerrero, Maria Cristina García González, Ifach o la ‘invención’ de un paisaje mediterráneo

363 Carolina De Falco, Paesaggi e città della Costiera Amalfitana nell’immaginario iconografico,
culturale e turistico del Novecento

371 Sílvia Musquera i Felip, Costa Brava, la invención de un paisaje

379 Adele Fiadino, Progettare nel Mediterraneo: l’edilizia residenziale sulle coste italiane
nel secondo dopoguerra (1945-1970)

387 Pisana Posocco, L’invenzione dei luoghi turistici. Lo stile “costa Smeralda” tra primitivo e catalano
IMMAGINARE IL MEDITERRANEO
ARCHITETTURA ARTI FOTOGRAFIA

I
La costruzione
dell’immaginario
The Mediterranean is not a Myth.
Bernard Rudofsky’s Mediterranean Eutopias

Ugo Rossi

Qu’est-ce que la Mediterranée? modern language, despite the results, was a reaction to
Mille choses à la fois. Non pas un paysage mais d’in- the canonical and stylistic conservatism of Academia, a
nombrables paysages. response that hides behind the screen of science and ma-
Non pas un mer; mais une sucession de mers. Non pas chine or behind the idea of the traditional, the native and
un civilization, mais des civilation entasées les unes sur the wild.
les autres. As recent historiography contributed to show, the
Voyager en Méditerranée, c’est trouver le monde romain
twisted path of historical events, and even more so the
au Liban, la préhistoire en Sardaigne, les villes greques
one of the stylistic ones, in the field of modern architecture,
en Sicile, la presence arabe en Espagne, l’Islam turc en
Yougoslavie. C’est plonger au plus profound des siècles, is defined by the continuous intersection between the
jusqu’aux costruction mégalitiques de Malte ou kind of architecture that conforms to the concept of mod-
jusqu’aux pyramides d’Egypte. ernization, the Avant Garde, and the one that operates in
Fernand Braudel relationship with the past3. The apologetic trust in the lim-
itlessness of industrial progress, the final ‘annihilation’ of
styles, outdone by the machine, by the new building tech-
Introduction niques or by the anonymity of great engineering works
and popular tradition, revealed, since the very beginning,
The temptation to regard Mediterranean architecture the controversial positions within the institutional organ-
like an ordinary and dreamed idea of koinè, that actually izations and the organizational structures that promoted
translates into white walls, flats roofs, balconies, pergolas the Modern. In Europe, in occasion of the first CIAM
and lodges, was, and still is today, very strong. The concept (1928), the discordant positions, expressed in the official
of a kind of architecture defined by the axis, Paris- statements, underlined the pluralist nature and the weak-
Barcelona-Rome-Algiers, put forward in the letter by Le ening of the position of intellectual hegemony of the work-
Corbusier to the mayor of Algiers in 1933, is nothing but ing groups. The definition of the standards prompted by
a provocation aimed to the dominant cultural scene of the the functionalists gets undermined right from its appearing,
time and refers instead to the London-Berlin axis1. while new ways to address a new form of identity, aimed
A reminder of the controversies and the debates of the to the rediscovery of new roots, simultaneously start to
time on the cultural supremacy and roots of modernity2. develop in Austria, Spain, Italy, Egypt and Greece4. In a
Whether the reference made regards mechanisation, con- similar fashion the matter starts to evolve in the United
crete, glass, steel or the purity of volumes, or the relation- States with the opening, in 1932, at New York’s MoMA,
ship with the context, history, climate or the ancestors of the exhibition Modern Architecture curated by Henry-
legacy, both positions are the expression of the complex Russel Hitchcock and Philip Johnson5 and so does the
history of modern architecture in the twentieth and twenty- consideration on the idea of Modern that since 1938 takes
first century. Both stances manifest how the creation of a the museum to the question What Is Modern?6 In 1947,

197
1. B. Rudofsky, Tiled floor of the Oro House's Bar. Detail of the Gulf of Naples (photo by the author, 2012).

the focus moves onto What is happening to Modern Ar- At this point the need for a sort of modernity, aware of
chitecture?7 It is that Lewis Mumford criticizes the abstract the themes regarding tradition, location and origins, be-
modernism attributed to the masters of the exhibition In- comes a constant in time, and more and more we see the
ternational Style and introduces a native and humane form emerging of instances on a different modernity progressing
of modernism, with local roost and a local legacy, the side by side with the development of modern architecture
Bay Region Style8. to the point of becoming inseparable9.

198
The so called Mediterranean question is one of the Toward the Mediterranean
many topic of dialectic consideration, even controver-
sially, within the complex context of historiography and Born into a German speaking family originally from
of the cultural scene of history of modern architecture10. Galicia, Bernard Rudofsky belongs to the Austro-Hun-
Just like the International Style or the Bay Region Style; garian Empire, a multi-cultural and multi-linguistic Empire
considering the matter of Mediterranean architecture as he states himself: «my native country [...] was a pastiche
like one of those stories that intersect with the one of of a dozen nations, each with its separate language and
twentieth century modern architecture it is fair to look the native architecture was just as diversified. Thus I had
at it from a point of view that would consider it an es- the chance to learn at first hand that there is not just one
sential part of it. In these terms the whole work of the way of living that leads to happiness13». Rudofsky’s edu-
Austrian architect Bernard Rudofsky11, odd figure in cation at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna is influ-
the historical context, is emblematic for its relationship enced by the tradition that the school developed since the
with the Mediterranean geographical and cultural scene. end of the nineteenth century14. Very similar to the syl-
Rudofsky does not have references referring to any labuses of a polytechnic, such educational path articulated
facet of the dominant thought. Like Giuseppe Pagano, along a number of disciplines that combined a scientific,
he is sceptic about the Mediterranean concept, about artistic and humanistic education typical of Academia.
the Latin or Greek myths, about the supremacy of an- Even at the Technische Hochschule the practice envisaged
tiquity and the singing of the Latin sea claimed by En- a fundamental step for his apprenticeship, the Grand Tour.
rico Peressutti or José Luis Sert as ancestors of moder- Visiting ruins, cities with a rich artistic and architectural
nity and also as forms of cultural redemption in relation heritage was fundamental to the cultural education of an
to the ostentatious superiority of modernity of the in- architect. Rudofsky is a student attracted by the unusual,
dustrialized countries12. Rudofsky does not even place his study trips are very different from his colleagues’ ones
himself among the ones that glorify the myth of the traditionally devoted to the visit of the most important
machine and technological development, he rather con- landmarks and monuments in the history of western Eu-
sider instead the opportunity of learning from the ropean architecture. In 1925, during a journey along the
Mediterranean grasping the cultural aspect. European Danube, which takes him to Istanbul, he does not register,
culture is in debt with the Mediterranean area despite in his drawing book, the famous architectures situated in
all controversies. Its unquestionable importance resides the big cities that he visited, but he refers to rural, working
in the fact of being the cradle of Western civilization, class, anonymous buildings. Even the following year,
in the fact of being the place of birth and development when he goes to France, the most part of his drawings
of the Aegean and Greek civilizations, and other civi- show his attention for the small churches and landscapes
lizations that have disappeared, such as the Phoenician off the more classic of the beaten tracks. Intolerant to the
and the Etruscan ones or the mythological ones such as studying of the styles of the past, Rudofsky will go to
Atlantis – a place where the ties with the Middle East Sweden to visit the more recent examples of architecture
and far away countries like China, India a maybe also by Asplund and Lewerentz, and to Germany to study plan-
Japan, are very evident. This supremacy goes beyond ning documents by the Neues Bauen. At the first Bauhaus
the geographical borders, beyond the traditions of the exhibition in Weimar, in 1923, he has the opportunity to
single civilizations, and even beyond the controversies see the Am Horn house by Georg Muche and Adolf Meyer.
on architecture as a product of a specific thought, of a The research around the modern at the first Bauhaus Ex-
funding and original concept. «The Mediterranean – hibition leaves Rudofsky disappointed. About that expe-
Rudofsky states – is much, much more». rience, he writes: «one summer, curiosity led me to Weimar

199
where the first Bauhaus exhibition had just opened. This sions of architectural concepts, primacy was given to
was my first premonition of the ill wind that was to blow primitive houses in other regions of the Mediterranean,
over the field of architecture. Weimar, and later Dessau, I such as the Balearic Islands and the Gulf of Naples. Many
found, had all the charm of a reformatory for juveniles»15. considered Mediterranean architecture to be a precursor
That study trip was followed by many other journeys not to modern architecture. Architecture was even considered
aimed thought to the search for model examples of the “modern” only insofar as it was “Mediterranean” archi-
works of modern architects but on the contrary to inves- tecture. Books and magazines offered delightful images
tigate more anonymous forms of architecture. of those naïve structures»17. Rudofsky’s Mediterranean
At the end of his studies, after his youth training trips, is not a myth, a mental space, but rather a real one. His
in 1932 Rudofsky decides to settle down on the island of consideration on the influence of the Mediterranean on
Capri, elected to be the ideal place where to experiment actual life: his design proposal express the possibility of
with his own ideas of architecture. He is attracted to the becoming real ones only within an environment that al-
island by the memories and the tales about a mythical lows a wished for way of living and actually makes it
sea, destination of journeys aimed to reveal the picturesque possible. Rudofsky is in debt towards the Mediterranean,
profiles, described by Goethe in the Italienische Reise, his work is a never ending declaration of love for the re-
characterized by white houses, and the pure volumes stud- lationships between ways of living and places which that
ied and described in the their geo-cultural context by Karl particular climate and that specific environment happily
Friedrich Schinkel, Joseph Maria Olbrich and Josef Hoff- allow. As a matter of fact, his stay in Italy (1932-1938)
mann. The light, the sun, the life on the island, the archi- will not be the only opportunity for Rudofsky to experi-
tecture draw Rudofsky to a place where he can trial the ence the Mediterranean. That was not the only place
ways of living introduced by the Lebensreform, the move- where he will get the opportunity to live and consolidate
ment with which he gets in contact during his time of ap- his Mediterranean experience, he will find it wherever
prenticeship in Berlin, between 1928 and 1930, that was he would spot the link between life and architecture, in
practiced by Berta Doctor, the musicologist met in Ischia harmony with nature, wherever he would find connections
in 1934 who will become his wife. In Capri, Bernard and between the North and the South of the world and be-
Berta, according to the spirit of the Lebensreform, lead a tween the West and the East. In this sense, his youth
life in harmony with nature, seeking physical and mental journeys of apprenticeship are fundamental: «during one
wellbeing. long summer I spent a glorious time in Turkey where the
Rudofsky’s research addresses the reciprocal influence daily life was then quite different from what it is today.
between the actual place, the ways of living and architec- Every day I dined in the company of a dozen men, eating
ture. The planning and design proposals that derive from from a single enormous platter. There were no spoons,
it are not a matter of stylistic assertion, nor of indication no forks, no knives. We picked up the food with the help
of the Mediterranean origins of popular and vernacular of a piece of bread, without soiling our fingers. Needless
modern architecture, or even on the research of Mediter- to say, there was no table, no chairs, no beds. [...] I thus
ranean architecture as the ancestor of the rationalist one. learned through my own experience how custom shapes
They are rather the outcome of the considerations on the domestic architecture, and viceversa. [...] Above all, I
mutual influences between the ways of life and the place16. questioned the things that I call necessities, and that am-
He writes: «in the [First] post-war period, with the first biguous concept that is referred to as comfort [...]. I had
attempts to create a new architecture, interest in the “prim- known a lot about them from books. However, my actual
itives” unleashed a complex discussion about the origins contact with them, my physical experience, made all the
and first examples of modern architecture. [...] In discus- difference»18.

200
Certain consonances, certain physical similarities of foreign origin. Without these borrowings we would still
the places, help Rudofsky to understand a number of cul- be barbarians. Without keeping in touch with the world,
tural analogies. Like that he can go further in order to we simply become stagnant»21.
conceive the architectural transpositions and translations
of other places: «certain resemblances exist between the Lessons From The Mediterranean
Japanese people and the Italian one that even though are
probably just fortuitous are nonetheless less impressive. Me, Utopia, called in Antiquity,
[...] In topographical terms Japan and Italy are alike under void of haunt and harbor.
many aspects. [...] One day in August, walking along the Now I am like to Plato’s city,
shores of the Internal Sea through narrow passages lined Whose fame flies the world through.
Yea like, or rather more likely,
by walls made of bare stone, among fig, loquats trees
Plato’s plot to excel and pass.
(which are originally from Japan), olive trees and white
For what Plato’s pen has plotted briefly,
and pink oleander, one does surrender to the illusion of In naked words, as in a glass,
being somewhere in Sorrento. The optical illusion is The same have I performed fully,
aided by the acoustic one. Through the milky mist that With laws, with men, and treasure fitly.
hides the quiet sea come the long calls of the fishermen, Wherefore not Utopia, but rather rightly,
which sound just like the ones of their colleagues in My name is Eutopie: a place of felicity.
Mergellina»19; but also to trace distant formal analogies, Thomas More
of time and place, converging into common results: «two
striking coincidences [between a Pompeian picture and In order to understand fully the role that the Mediter-
a Japanese one other], to demonstrate that some problems ranean plays in the work of Rudofsky, it is necessary con-
are universal. It is not possible to imagine the existence sidering some of his works, shedding some light on the
of relationships or cultural contacts between ancient Rome translation work between the crossovers and cultural con-
and ancient Japan. This coincidence cannot be superfi- fluence for which the Mediterranean is the place of actual
cially considered as a fortuity meeting. Not only architects realization.
share a spiritual kinship but even the authors of these But if the works of Rudofsky in Italy may be mistak-
two images reveal a touching sensibility that is wide- enly interpreted as a derivation of the Italian architecture
spread over the media of expression. All this proves that of the 30s, when the Mediterranean myth is functional to
the human fatigues and aspirations flow into universal the affirmation of a modern Italian architecture or as an
results»20. antidote to the academic classicism of the regime, or even,
Pushing even further the analogies and the Mediter- as an affirmation of original modernity, his work put in
ranean influences of the ancient world extend into a con- evidence a different point of view: the Mediterranean is
tinuous dialogue, establishing deep cultural exchanges: hired for its climatic characteristics and cultural hub.
«has it ever occurred to you that practically all the ingre- Rudofsky’s consideration on architecture investi-
dients of Western civilisation – all except architecture – gates the cultures of modernity. If on one side it sheds
were imported from the Orient, and I don’t mean tea and light on the aporias and the controversies of modernity
coffee but the fundamentals on which it is based. We use and addresses its criticisms – published on «Domus»
Arabic numerals and Roman letters. Our philosophy magazine – towards clothes, footwear and the western
comes from Greece; even our religions are not European way of life, on the other it elaborates a vocabulary in
but were borrowed from the near Orient. The very words order to get pass the uniformity of the solutions of in-
algebra, chemistry, philosophy, psychology betray their ternationalist and mechanized modernism22.

201
In 1934, Rudofsky develops the planning for a house fishermen. The hotel San Michele, on the island of Capri
in Procida in which he exposes all of theoretical contents (1938, with Gio Ponti) is the result of the elaboration of
that later will be the expression of his entire design and the houses and the ways of living learnt in Greece during
planning thought that followed. What sets Rudofsky’s the time he was doing his Ph.D., and proposed as an Hotel
architecture apart is the relationship that each room es- spread throughout the site, which provides a different way
tablishes with the different ways of living and which of life, immersed in the Capri milieu24.
ways of living he adopts for that house, a house with a Those design plans are thought and built on geograph-
yard in which the patio is a room without roof. Rejecting ically specific places of the Mediterranean: Procida, Posi-
conventional furniture he favours a household custom tano, Naples, Capri; Rudofsky’s design reflection does
that imposes the absence of the bed which is replaced not change when in 1938 he abandons Italy to Latin Amer-
by a floor of mattresses delimitated by a curtain like in ica first – Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo
Japan; to chairs and tables he prefers rugs to keep the (1939-41) – and then settling down in the United States –
floor clear and he proposed benches and stools, a tri- New York –, after.
clinium, to eat he prefers one’s hands to cutlery. Food, In São Paulo, Rudofsky builds two houses (Arnstein
chopped, peeped and seasoned in the kitchen, will be and Frontini) in which the yard is the central element and
served through a collective and convivial rite on a single expresses the way of living. Casa Arnstein (1939-41),
large plate and, like in Turkey and the Middle East, with its gardens, shaded porches, and a vegetation selected
during the last supper, laying on the floor. To the west- to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, is made of rooms
ern bathroom he favours the Japanese one or the one and open spaces of the same dimensions. All of them, the
used in ancient Rome, a bathtub dug into the floor, the living room, the bedrooms, the servants room, arranged
bathroom fixtures then, have to be placed in a different to have each its own garden, open air replicas of the room
room because the bath basin is not to be used to wash itself with oleanders, bamboo, orchids, camellias, garde-
but simply to bathe. nias, vines, ferns and cactuses. It is built on the dialectic
The compositional elements and the cultural relation- relationship between indoors and outdoors, through the
ships involved give form to the design of houses which, budding of the garden-room principle to achieve the hoped
each one in a different way, will embody the evocation of for continuity of the garden that enters the house finds its
the ways of life of the different Mediterranean civilizations. fulfilment. The elementary constants of his vocabulary
So the planning design for the house in Positano (1936, are to be identified in the walls, the trellises, the windows,
with Luigi Cosenza) is the metaphor of the building of the niches and the fireplaces. Here the design priority
the modern man. A man surrounded by a friendly nature, seems to measure up to the idea of the “garden-house”
master of the landscape, dressed in simple clothes and that Rudofsky calls “Outdoor Conditioned Room”. In
barefoot, in an environment in which outdoors and indoors Casa Frontini the central patio is repetition of the concept
correspond, so much so that the only closed rooms are that associates to the idea of the house. The yard is fur-
the bedroom in the upper floor and the small bathroom nished like the living room with a rug, a low coffee table
on the ground floor. The outdoor kitchen is a simple work and chairs arranged near the fireplace.
top opposite the fire. The place where to wash is inserted These houses are published in a number of maga-
into an outdoor niche, or, like suggested by the images on zines and are positively welcomed by the critics25, then
«Domus»: the sea. Zurück zur Natur!23 again, the idea of the central yard house and the refer-
Casa Oro in Posillipo (1934-37, with Luigi Cosenza) ence to Mediterranean culture is well known in Brazil.
sees the light from the study and the bond with the island Imported in the sixteenth century by the Portuguese
houses, anonymous and popular occupied by Procida’s and Spanish Conquistadores, that typology is by now

202
part of the architectural heritage of Latin America, from actually a proper house, with its fireplace – an actual
Argentina to Mexico and further on to California, the chimney, not a barbeque, but an open air kitchen – around
name of the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco do which, at the weekends, the Nivolas welcome their nu-
not hide their origins. merous friends27.
It will be much more difficult for Rudofsky to introduce In the review of Community and privacy28 Rudofsky
his design thought to the United States, a nation that highlights that the focal points to develop are a kind
moves on its positive trust in capitalism and through the of architecture made for mankind, intimacy and the
possibility of distributing a form of welfare derived from separation between public and private space. Rudofsky
industrial products and the circulation of goods. notices that Chermayeff and Alexander maintain this
Like Lisa Ponti writes, Rudofsky’s idea of the Mediter- separation only by restoring certain conditions of pri-
ranean, based on the patio and on the wall, was the exam- vacy, and he states that the architectonic solution one
ple of a feasible kind of happy architecture and its fate achieves is nothing but the old house with the yard29:
was to teach Americans this idea26. Rudofsky, however, «the type of dwelling that we find along the shores of
will only have three opportunities in this sense. The re- the Mediterranean, from Portugal to Greece; on the
furbishing of Casa Nivola garden in Long Island (1949- north African coast; in the near Middle and Far East.
50), the building of the house-garden in Detroit, for James The “court-house” is not new even in terms of modern
Carmel, an admirer and friend (1962-64) and the exhibi- architecture. It is found in Latin America, and in the
tion Architecture Without Architects submitted by Rudof- Latin countries in Europe, where the weather allows
sky in 1941, initially rejected, and then opened in 1964 at to live in the yard. In the United States it does arrive
MoMA in New York. through Japan where, until a few years ago, it was the
Rudofsky tries to introduce a way of living alien to only civil dwelling solution»30. Rudofsky identifies
American society. The idea that the luxury of a house is the “Eutopia” vocation of the Mediterranean, as the
not to be expressed by its electric appliances and its air real place where to live a happy life. The place of sed-
conditioning system but with the intimacy of patio, in the imentation, of intersection, of diversity – unique escape
opportunity to live with the same ease both the inside and route from ethnocentric homologation and standardi-
the outside environments like in the Mediterranean houses, zation – the place to search for and being curious about
does not find a correspondence in the American ideal. other civilisations and other architectures – those un-
Rudofsky conceives for Tino Nivola and James Carmel known architectures that ‘build’ Architecture Without
proper houses to live outdoors, built with trellises and Architects – where to learn that the “Eutopia”, the
pergola, benches, walls and trees. Nivola’s house-garden, place of happiness, can be everywhere but only under
the one that was meant to be a garden refurbishment, is precise circumstances and conditions.

4
Notes See: Alberto FERLENGA, Architetti senza ar- Russel Hitchcock, Philip Johnson and Lewis
chitettura. Architettura popolare e rifon- Mumford (eds.), MoMA, New York 1932.
1 6
LE CORBUSIER, La Ville Radieuse, Paris 1933. dazione culturale, in Tradizione e modernità. The museum develops the question in
2
Luciano PATETTA, L’Architettura in Italia 1919- L’influsso dell’architettura ordinaria nel What Is Modern Architecture? (1938,
1943. Le polemiche, Clup, Milano 1972. moderno, Ugo Rossi (editor) Lettera22, Sir- 1962), What Is Modern Painting? (1943);
3
See: Michelangelo SABATINO, Jean-Fran- acusa 2015, pp. 19-29. What Is Modern Photography? (1950),
5
çois LEJEUNE (editors), Modern Architecture Modern Architecture: International Exhibi- What Is Modern Design? (1950), What Is
and the Mediterranean, Routledge, London- tion (MoMA Exh. #15, February 9 - March Modern Interior Design? (1953) and What
New York 2010. 23, 1932); Exhibition catalogues by Henry- Is Modern Sculpture? (1942, 1969). See

203
Jennifer TOBIAS, The Museum of Modern Bernard and Bertha will permanently settle Lecture #2, March 3, 1975, (Rudofsky
Art’s What is Modern? Series, Disserta- down. Regarding the works and thought of Papers, Getty), p. 7.
22
tion, City University of New York, 2012. Bernard Rudofsky see: Ugo ROSSI, Bernard Rudofky publishes on «Domus» these articles:
7
What is Happening to Modem Architecture: Rudofsky Architect, Clean, Napoli 2016. Scoperta di un’isola, n. 123, marzo 1938,
12
A Symposium at the Museum of Modern Art, Enrico PERESSUTTI, Architettura Medìter- pp. 2-5; Non ci vuole un nuovo modo di
in «Museum of Modem Art Bulletin», n. 3, ranea, in «Quadrante», n. 21, gennaio 1935, costruire ci vuole un nuovo modo di vivere,
1948. p. 40; José Luis SERT, Raices Mediterraneas n. 123, marzo 1938, pp. 6-15; Panorama
8
Lewis MUMFORD, The Sky Line, in «The New de la arquitectura moderna, in «AC», n. 18, negativo, n. 124, aprile 1938, pp. 2-3; La
Yorker», October 11, 1947, pp. 106-109. 1935, pp. 31-36. moda: abito disumano, n. 124, aprile 1938,
9 13
ROSSI, Tradizione e modernità, cit. Bernard RUDOFSKY, Back to kindergarten, pp. 10-13; Variazioni, n. 124, aprile 1938,
10
PATETTA, L’Architettura in Italia 1919-1943, April 8, 1975, Lectures Copenhagen (Rud- pp. 14-15; Origine dell’abitazione, n. 124,
cit.; Silvia DANESI, Aporie dell’architettura ofsky Papers, Getty), pp. 2-3. aprile 1938, pp. 16-19; Fine della città, n.
14
italiana in periodo fascista - mediterraneità Christopher LONG, An Alternative Path, 124, aprile 1938, pp. 20-21.
23
e purismo, in Silvia Danesi, Luciano Patetta in «Journal of Architectural Education», Gio PONTI, Una casa per Positano e per…
(editors), Razionalismo e l’Architettura Ital- n. 55, 2001, pp. 21-30; Marco POZZETTO, altri lidi, in «Domus», n. 109, gennaio 1937,
iana durante il fascismo, La Biennale di Karl König e gli architetti del Politecnico, pp. 11-17.
24
Venezia, Venezia 1976. in Maurizio Calvesi (a cura di), Le arti a Bernard RUDOFSKY, Eine primitive Beton-
11
Bernard Rudofsky (1905-1988) was born Vienna dalla secessione alla caduta del- bauweise auf den südlichen Kykladen, Tech-
in Zauchtl (Suchdol nad Odrou), the current l’impero asburgico, Catalogo della mostra nische Hochshule, Wien 1931.
25
Czech Republic. In 1906, he moves to Vi- (Palazzo Grassi di Venezia, 20 maggio-16 Published in Nuestra Arquitectura (Buenos
enna where he completes his primary and settembre 1984), Edizioni La Biennale - Aires), October 1944, pp. 330-335; The Ar-
secondary education and where, in 1928, he Nuove Edizioni Gabriele Mazzotta, chitectural Review, June 1944, pp. 157-161
earns an engineering and architecture Venezia 1984, pp. 361-362. and November 1944, pp. 135-138, which
15
diploma at the Technische Hochschule. After Unpublished conference by Rudofsky held are particularly praised in the book by Philip
his formative period, that is marked by a se- at the Walker Art Center di Minneapolis, L. GOODWIN, Brazil Builds. Architecture
ries of trips to Eastern Europe, Greece, 1981 (The Bernard Rudofsky Estate Vienna). New and Old, 1652-1942, MoMA, New
16
Turkey and the Middle East, in 1932 he set- See: Ugo ROSSI, The Discovery of the Site, York 1943, pp. 99-100; 170-175.
26
tles down in Italy: Capri, Naples, Ischia, Bernard Rudofsky: Mediterranean Archi- Lisa PONTI, Bernard Rudofsky, in «Juliet»,
where in 1934 he meets Berta Doctor. Dur- tecture, in Eleonora Mantese (editor), House n. 36, aprile-maggio 1988, p. 24.
27
ing the time in Italy, Rudofsky works with and Site, Firenze University Press, Firenze Gordon ALASTAIR, Weekend Utopia. Mod-
Luigi Cosenza and Gio Ponti, with whom 2014, pp. 53-114. ern Living in the Hamptons, Princeton Uni-
17
he has a professional collaboration at «Do- Bernard RUDOFSKY, Origine dell’abitazione, versity Press, NY 2001, pp. 53-55.
28
mus» magazine. He works in Italy until in «Domus», n. 124, aprile 1938, p. 18. Serge CHERMAYEFF, Christopher ALEXAN-
18
1938, when due to the fascist racial laws Bernard RUDOFSKY, Lectures Copenhagen, DER, Community and privacy. Toward a new
and the Austrian Anschluss to the Third Re- Lecture #1, April 17 1975, (Rudofsky Papers, architecture of humanism, Doubleday, New
ich, he runs from Europe and takes refuge Getty), pp. 3-4. York 1964.
19 29
first in Argentina and then in Brazil. Here Bernard RUDOFSKY, Introduzione al Gi- In the book «court house».
30
he builds two villas and that, together with appone, in «Domus» n. 330, giugno 1957, Bernard RUDOFSKY, Nuovi libri. Serge Cher-
the award received for a contest, will supply p. 37. mayeff: i mali, i pericoli e la possibile
20
the opportunity, in 1941, to come into con- Bernard RUDOFSKY, Rapporti, in «Domus» salvezza, del moderno abitare urbano, in
tact with the Museum of Modern Art and to n. 122, febbraio 1938, p. 4. «Domus», n. 410, gennaio 1964, pp. 45-46.
21
go to New York. This is the city where Bernard RUDOFSKY, Lectures Copenhagen,

204

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