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carlo scarpa, architect: biennale sculpture garden, giardino delle sculture, venice 1950-1952

covered courtyard for the exhibition of sculptures,

central biennale pavilion, venice 1950-1952.

architect: carlo scarpa, 1906-1978.


with spaces like this at the biennale, who can spend time looking at yet another load of renderings and photoshop collages?


a courtyard covered with a sail-like structure is entirely appropriate in italy and beautifully translated into concrete by scarpa.


here is his old love, frank lloyd wright, quoted in the column/planter which covered in foliage stops short of the very roof it is meant to support. here is the crude postwar concrete made attractive by le corbusier but strung out in curves handled with an elegance we have since learnt to associate with brazilian architecture rather than italian.


the 1950's were great years in architecture and what a moment for scarpa to come into his own. and how typical and strangely fearless of him to keep the buildings and architects and artworks that influenced him clearly visible in his own finished works.


when you stand there, though, the place is all about the manipulation of light.


the roof-sail-canopy cuts out direct sun light and instead the light bounced off the reddish-orange brick walls permeates the space, its warmth contrasted only by the reflections from shallow pools of water animated by little fountains.


I don't know who else could get away with that in 1952, post-war reconstruction and all, except possibly wright. but he was a million years old, at which age you can get away with murder.


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the scarpa set.

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Taken on October 27, 2008