Hipo G / Where Architecture and Art meet

Adriana De Angelis, Roma, Italy, January 2010

“In its simplest form architecture is rooted in entirely functional considerations, but it can reach up through all degrees of value to the highest sphere of spiritual existence into the realm of pure art”. In one simple sentence Mies van der Rohe summarized his entire approach to design, which found in the Farnsworth House its most consistent 

A sort of temple that dominates a pastoral landscape, the Farnsworth House was chosen by the Dutch architect/artist duo Bik van der Pol to become part of the project  named: 
“Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?”, inspired by a quote from Escher. Hundreds of colorful butterflies find a natural habitat within an architectural structure freely based on van der Rohe’s masterpiece, causing people to think about the relationship existing between human beings and nature.      
“The works of Bike van der Pol are systematically connected with the creation of new architectural forms, often making use of temporary constructions that offer new spaces of public interaction. Their projects bear witness to reflection, with a lasting impact on the host communities. This long-term effect amplifies the importance of the artistic interventions, turning them into a true resource that stimulates the collective imagination and critical reflection in the society” said Hou Hanru, chair and director of exhibitions and public programs at the Art Institute in San Francisco, speaking on the installation.

Serving as a perfect introduction to the new permanent wing of the MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome), officially inaugurated last December 4, 2010, this butterfly house also reflects the ideals that inspired French architect Odile Decq in designing the museum. An original space able to dialog with the pre-existing scenario and crowned by an enormous landscape-terrace where citizens, away from the town chaos, will feel at ease and enjoy staying. A new form of “piazza”, a vital work of art in itself and an echo of Roman terraces and fountains, which favors change and stimulates pondering, dreaming and socializing. 

Could that be the future both of the museum and of the city where people, surrounded by art and nature, will find again the pleasure of being together, sharing a common place in the perfect respect of themselves and their environment?

Cohen, J.-L., Ludwig Mies van del Rohe, Bari, 2007
Mies van der Rohe, L., Vanderberg M., Farnsworth House. Architecture in detail, London, 2003
Scalise, M. I., Odile Decq, in La Repubblica, 8th August 2010, Rome
Enel Press release on Enel Contemporanea Award, 2010 edition, Rome, March 2010
De Angelis, A., Apertura Maxxi e Macro a Roma, ArsLife, May 2010 

eNE Cáscaras de huevo

La obra de arquitectura como contenedor artístico debe ser concebida en una relación simbiótica con el mismo. Si el fin del objeto construido es la contemplación de lo que contiene, nos llevará al error de considerarlo un mero contenedor formal. Por el contrario, si la cáscara es lo que lleva implícito la forma artística podemos caer en la tentación de estar construyendo iconos para el turismo que eviten la necesaria relación natural entre el arte y la sociedad.

 Kayzad Shroff: Builtness

The article obliquely draws parallels to Rem Koolhass’s essay on Bigness in S,M,L,XL. Building upon the argument put forth by Rem, negating the modernist idiom of “form follows function” within large buildings, extending its logic, not only to modestly sized structures, but questioning the very basis of functional considerations. The piece brings to question the emergence of paradigm shift within architectural pedagogy


Distinction between art and architecture was always vague. We often tend to see the most gifted architects as artists, even though many of them (especially when we consider modernity) insisted on approaching their work as based on purely functional or even scientific considerations. Although the artistic element in architectural creation seems to be indispensable, architects should be very humble in their attempts of implementing it in their work. Unfortunately, most of us don’t 
have Mies van der Rohe’s talent.

Seve: New Dichotom
A second thought from the reading comes from the understanding of the 
dichotomy existing between the natural–exterior and the artificial–interior that 
ruled the world before the industrial era. For Philippe Rahm the world today is 
in an unsolved paradox with both exterior and interior being artificialized. He 
suggests a reinterpretation of a new natural interior to restore the balance.