The Italian peninsula has an exceptionally long history, especially relative to that found in the American context. This history has created a dynamic and reflective culture that is unique and shows influences from within and without the country; influences partially attributed to the turbulent history of this culture. Checkered with times of internal strife, empire expansion and invasions, Italy has been shaped by times of War and times of Peace. This project, executed in the Fall semester of 2013, explored the depth of this history and calls for the students to articulate a tripartite design scheme. The primary investigation is for that of a Memorial to War and Peace, this symbolic expression of reflection is subsequently flanked by a dual-lobed museum program, a Museum for Peace and a Museum for War. These two disparate elements call for the students to confront the power of architecture to convey a message in a suggestive, phenomenological or symbolic manner and communicate their ideas through the medium of architectural space.
This project was cultivated through a semester long articulation of process that recalls some historic modes of representation from the late 19th and 20th centuries as a methodology, that of the Beaux Arts Analytique and the work of the Italian Futurists. The Analytique method of representation employs a single sheet of paper to communicate the design principles, aesthetic, space, construction and site through an integrated and beautifully crafted drawing. In our process this method also served as a mode of analysis as we employed the Analytique as both a representational technique but also as a means to explore the physical relationships within our own body, a device which we subsequently would use to measure the surrounding environment. These studies of body, building and public space became increasingly important as we moved through the semester and crafted our final design process. Finally, the project called upon the artistic movement of Futurism, a group of artists whose ideals were aggressively political and society as well as aesthetic. This movement, originally started in Italy, became fascinated with technology and speed and believe that the only method for cleansing society was through the occurrence of war, ultimately aligning many in their interest group with Benito Mussolini and the Fascist Movement in Italy prior to World War II. Political leanings aside, though their tendency towards war does play an important role in the selection of program for this project, the Futurists expounded upon some of the graphic sensibilities of the Cubist painters such as Georges Brach and Pablo Picasso. Our project adopts both the Beaux Arts Analytique and Cubist methodology of representation to craft a series of abstract models as allegoric, spatial and methodological inspirations. Ultimately this process breeds a complex narrative structure that is derived from process and an architecture that is both representative, symbolic and responds elegantly to the sensitive themes embedded within the context of this project.