area 119 | gaetano pesce

architect: Gaetano Pesce

year: 2008

Is it not surprising that present-day architectural expression has not yet taken advantage of all that happened in the culture in the Fifties and Sixties of last century? Pop art, Bukowski’s “ordinary” poetry, the Beat Generation, pop and rock music are by now things of the past, they are on the shelves of history where they are beginning to gather dust, without ever having been considered by architecture. On the contrary, it remains Protestant, purist, formal, vaguely totalitarian; a nephew of the Modern Movement, just like its authors it keeps ignoring everything that might have cured it of the anaemia that affects it and that makes it boring, repetitive, ice-cold and loveless. When will architecture be serene, pluralist and capable of telling the story of places and their cultures?
The Portrait House of Ostuni seeks to catch up a little on this delay; without taking itself too seriously, it expresses simple contemporary sentences, both in terms of language and of the techniques and materials used. The former uses images rather than the abstract geometry used by almost all architecture firms in the world. The building method and materials consist of rigid polyurethane sprayed onto volumes in untreated wood. The bathrooms, also in wood, are covered by mirrors, that symbolize personal care and reflect the surrounding countryside with olive groves. As a whole, the house may perhaps be defined as a portrait of the Venetian couple who ordered this project, and aims to remind of their semblances. Gaetano Pesce, June 2008