Some more historical photos of the Casa inhabited
Paolo Portoghesi and the Field Theory

Contemporary to Perugini, Portoghesi has been working on an alternative model for organising space and therefore creating a different kind of architectural expression. Like Perugini, he had a deep interest in Baroque architecture having researched the Baroque architecture of Borromini.

In a time before real computing started to influence and inform the production of architecture both Perugini and Portoghesi played iwht ideas of a computational architecture. In this era of what Roberto Botazzi calls ‘Pretend Computing’ design decisions were not made following traditional compositional rules. They explored an alternative way of proto-parametric design.

Portoghesi explored this in his Field Theory in several projects developing an architecture where the composition leaves room for alternative modes of inhabitation and occupation. The architecture is created using soft tools allowing the form to emerge from a set of different parameters set out in the design process. The field allows for growth, it can reflect diverse changes in the process and almost acts as a framework to hold the ideas together.

‘A further element used as a dialogue tool is given by the conception of concentric circles, which among other things is a bit at the basis of my architectural theory of magnetic fields, according to which the architectural space can be compared to the latter. Therefore, I used these concentric circles to represent, in a certain sense, the multiplicity in unity. The concentric circles, which are then part of the cosmic conception of Islam given by the 7 skies that Mohammed crossed, are precisely at the base of the circle of the dome. As for the general distribution of the volumes, the curvature of these is due, on the one hand, to the magnetic field of the city and on the other hand to the magnetic field typical of Islam, that is, the reference to Mecca. The curvatures in this case are very dampened because the terrain was limited but the concept is the one mentioned above. Physics theorizes the effect from a distance. Similarly, architecture has its own nature that creates an effect a remote distance.’

Part from in interview with Paolo Portoghesi

Paolo Portoghesi: Casa Papanice, Rome 1966-1969


Latest INSTAGRAM images of the Casa

Here are soem of the latest images on Instagram showing the Casa Sperimentale after the quick restauration for the CP company photoshoot. It is unclear to what extend the work has addressed the fabric of the buidling and amde it more secure or if the work has been limited to a covering of the main vandalism related issues.

It seems some of the broken windows have been fixed, the walls mainly painted, a general clean of the graffiti has been undertaken.

CP Company and the Casa Sperimentale

The Italian fashoon company CP company used the Casa Speriemntale as the backdrop to their launch for a new collection in 2020.

For this project the company agreed to ‘restore’ parts of the buidling and paint over most of the grafitti. Soem of the broken windows and doors were restored as well.

LINK to interview with Bianca Felicori who was in charge of locations for this project.

San Germano reconstruction project

In 1955 Perugini worked on a project to reconstruct a village destroyed by an earthquake. This project can be seen as an incubator for ideas later realised in the Casa Sperimentale.

Instead of a plain reconstruction of the town Perugini suggested to leave the destroyed buildings and create a new structure out of trellis beams and inhabitable cubes suspended above the old town.

A modular system would have allowed the different cubes to be combined to respond to different needs for inhabitation- echoing the memories o the lost buildings below.

Still working compositionally with traditional methods like the Golden Section, Perugini saw the design as dynamic structure as a response to the destructive tensions created by the earthquake.

Built out of concrete all elements – the building and the furniture were cast out of the same material.

Cuts in the walls would have allowed light to enter the structure very much in the same way Giuseppe suggested the window slits in the early versions of the design for the Casa Sperimentale. San Germano, in Perugini G., Progetti e Ricerca, p. 38-41

Early sketch showing the idea of the suspended cubes off the concrete mainframes.

Site plan exploring the layout of the added cube inhabitations above the ruins of the town.

Model image of the competition entry.

Fortezza da Basso, Florence

CompetitionCompetition Fortezza da Basso, National Centre for Arts and Crafts, Florence, Italy (1967)

Perugini himself describes the project as:

The Fortezza da Basso has a definitive and objective aspect: “it is a prototype of functionality and formal quality” and not a container to be filled with other objects.
Starting from this objective vision of reality, the project focuses on an anti-object solution or rather on visualization. One of the formative process of the object itself.
Perugini G., Progetti e Ricera, p. 97

Perugini saw the design not just as yet another exhibition design or like many others an empty shed to be filled with the exhibits. He envisioned a space that is three-dimensionally dynamic, able to respond, being recombined to facilitate a variety of functions. The movable elements were meant to respond to different requirements of space. They were controlled by an electronic brain that controlled the sliding and turning elements and moved them with electromagnetic plates.

These ideas have been heavily influenced by Perugini’s own research and interest in a cybernetic architecture, one that can be controlled by a central computer. These ideas reoccur in both the Cybernetic Hospital 1967and the Vienna Competition.

Lucio Passarelli

Lucio Passarelli (1922-2016) was originally an engineer, he was awarded a honorary degree in architecture by Sapienza University in Rome.

During his career he worked with Bruno Zevi and the APAO. With Zevi he founded the INARCh in 1959.

Edificio Polifunzionale, 1965

Studio Link LINK

Artribune LINK

Ludovico Quaroni

Ludovico Quaroni (1911-1987) was an Italian Urbanist, Architect, Essayist, and University Professor.

In 1938 he designed the Piazza imperiale Roma EUR with Saverio Muratori and Luigi Moretti.

 In 1946 he joined the APAO, Association for Organic Architecture, founded by Bruno Zevi.

During his career, he worked on the re-construction of Gibellina and the modernisation of a village near Matera as part of the INA-Casa movement.  

His work is collected in the Olivetti Archive. LINK

Ludovico Quaroni, Project of the new office building of the Chamber of Deputies, Roma 1967

The Ball Church in Gibellina, 1972

Atribune LINK

Architetti LINK

Iginio Cappai

Iginio Cappai (1932-1999), Venice.

The La Serra Complex in Ivrea designed by Iginio Cappai and Pietro Mainardis (1976). It was a social gathering space for Olivetti employees and included a hotel and movie theater.

Antonio Foscari and Iginio Cappai, 1967

LINK NY times

Giancarlo De Carlo

Giancarlo De Carlo (1919-2005) studied architecture in Milan and in Venice.

In 1956 he was involved in the Matera projects by the INA-Casa with numerous other architects at the time. He participated in the CIAM congress from 1952-1960.

In his professional teaching career in 1968, he sought a constructive dialogue with his students and published a series of essays in which he publicized a much more democratic and open participatory architecture.

Giancarlo de Carlo, City Hall, Amsterdam, 1967

Collegio del Colle, Urbino, 1966

University College in Colle dei Cappuccini, 1962-1983