Archipelago: Forgotten Architecture

Project

Archipelago by Forgotten Architecture is an experiment in new modes of dissemination of knowledge in the architectural discipline which takes advantage of the dynamism and interactivity of a social platform as facebook to recover projects of unknown architects, works of the masters which have been left on the sidelines whilst also exploring “minor figures”. 

Forgotten is a virtual world populated by more than 11,000 people, coming from different professional backgrounds, architect-students, architect-professionals, architects-journalists. Here social barriers are cancelled human beings are users on the loose who ponder upon questions as: Why is it forgotten? From whom has it been forgotten? We are building a narrative through the union of brains,a project which would be impossible to think of without the use of social media.

A gigantic Hi-Fi system designed by Robin Cruikshank and  Ringo Starr (ex Beatle), for ROR/Hi-Fi of London,The unit was commissioned by the Sultan of Oman, London, 1975. Photo credits:  Domus archive
A gigantic Hi-Fi system designed by Robin Cruikshank and Ringo Starr (ex Beatle), for ROR/Hi-Fi of London,The unit was commissioned by the Sultan of Oman, London, 1975. Photo credits: Domus archive
The Space Electronic Club, 9999 group, Florence, 1969. Photo credits: Carlo Caldini, Archivio 9999
The Space Electronic Club, 9999 group, Florence, 1969. Photo credits: Carlo Caldini, Archivio 9999
Umlauftank, Ludwig Leo, Berlin,1974. Photo credits: Philip Lohöfener
Umlauftank, Ludwig Leo, Berlin,1974. Photo credits: Philip Lohöfener
Municipio di Sesto San Giovanni, Piero Bottoni, 1961-1971, Sesto San Giovanni (MI). Photo credits: Stefano Suriano
Municipio di Sesto San Giovanni, Piero Bottoni, 1961-1971, Sesto San Giovanni (MI). Photo credits: Stefano Suriano
Cypress Hills Playground, Charles Forberg,Brooklyn, New York, 1967. Photo credits: Kinchin J., O'Connor A., Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000, Museum of Modern Art, 2012.
Cypress Hills Playground, Charles Forberg,Brooklyn, New York, 1967. Photo credits: Kinchin J., O'Connor A., Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000, Museum of Modern Art, 2012.
Michele De Lucchi, La Portatina, raduno internazionale Cavart “Homo Sapiens”, Morello (FI), 1976, foto Jacopo De Lucchi
Michele De Lucchi, La Portatina, raduno internazionale Cavart “Homo Sapiens”, Morello (FI), 1976, foto Jacopo De Lucchi
"T-matic", una toilette pubblica progettata da Marco Zanuso e da Fabio Fratti, Milano, 1983. Photo credits: archivio Domus
Dog cemetery, Hideo Yasui with Makoto Araki ,Tokyo, 1989. Photo credits: archivio Domus
Dog cemetery, Hideo Yasui with Makoto Araki ,Tokyo, 1989. Photo credits: archivio Domus
San Giovanni Bono, Church, Arrigo Arrighetti, Milano, 1966. Photo credits: Filippo Ferrarese
San Giovanni Bono, Church, Arrigo Arrighetti, Milano, 1966. Photo credits: Filippo Ferrarese
Costas Machlouzarides, Great Refuge Temple, Harlem, New York,1966. Photo credits: Mark Wickens
Costas Machlouzarides, Great Refuge Temple, Harlem, New York,1966. Photo credits: Mark Wickens

Interview

What prompted the project?

  1. For starters, Forgotten Architecture was born to feed my desire to discover new things in the field of architecture. Therefore, I would say curiosity is the trigger behind this project.
    Its concept is fairly simple, to discover projects by forgotten architects or the minor works of the big masters.
    It serves as a meeting point for all the different academic discourses in History of Architecture in order to mix and match our (the members) educational paths.

The real innovation here is the communicative platform. We use the power of digital tools such as facebook and other social networks, by not only offering a window on beautiful projects without giving you the time to digest the visual stimuli, rather we crowd source through a group in order to create a collective experience.

What is for you the power of the image within architectural discourse?

  1. In my case, images are used to support the topic of discussion. It’s the means through which the individual user relates to others and the tool to get involved and to start a conversation. A bit like “look here, this is what I found”.

From the extremely tangible to the ephemeral realm of the digital, where do you source your references?

  1. My references come from real life. From my studies, the books, the library or school. Sometimes it comes from a song, visiting an exhibition or discovering a new artist I wasn’t aware of.

Surely I was lucky enough to be born in a family that gave me a cultural education in the arts and architecture.
However, I decided which path to follow on my own later in life.
In regards to Forgotten Architecture, my main source of inspiration is, undoubtedly, the Domus archive. That’s where I started my career collaborating with the research center and spending entire afternoons browsing through the archive.

How do you collect and organize these?

  1. Now that I am no longer working in their editorial office, I use Domus’ digital archive.

I spend hours looking for new projects. I also compulsively buy books.
I am covered in books. My always father reminds me how fast and dynamic the life of a person my age is, and how I will have to move from home to home with “all that paper”.

I focus most of my research on magazines in the libraries I am able to consult here in Milan. From the one at Triennale to the Politecnico’s.

What I look into the most is Domus, Casabella and Modo. I recently discovered Modo, after Alessandro Mendini passed away. It’s extremely underestimated.

How and to what extent do your references influence and impact the way you operate as a creative?

  1. As Facebookis  the platform used for the project, I had to put my face on it – hence Forgotten Architecture has become the reflection of who I am, both as a person and in my profession.
    How you may ask? Well I can no longer be separated from the title of “administrator”.. maybe the line between me and my digital persona was blurred a bit too much.

Would you call yourself a collector?

  1. Absolutely! I collect forgotten architectural projects, and its unsolved cases.
    I collect new discoveries.

This can be achieved thanks to the people who help me expand this mesmerizing archive daily, slowly building it together.

Could you pick the one reference/drawing that was key to your (creative) journey?

  1. Discovering Marcello D’Olivo’s practice changed my life. My family comes from Friuli Venezia Giulia, a region in the North of Italy on the border with Slovenia.

As a child, I used to go to the beach in Grado, where D’Olivo built a holiday residential complex named “Zipser” in 1960.

Upon enrolling University, I began to study his work on my own time and I discovered the magical world of his organic (?) architecture. He referenced sinusoidal mathematic shapes and he was very fond of mathematic science.

Then, I had the chance to meet the publisher Luca Sossella, whom had worked with D’Olivo in the past.
One day he showed me an old article titled “D’Olivo, the Forgotten Architect” published on La Repubblica the day of his death. That’s where it all started.

How do you envision this research developing?

I have many projects in the pipeline as well as an incredible amount of ideas. Stay tuned!
In my opinion, the important most important thing to do is to follow endeavors that make us happy and excited. Beautiful things.. and that’s it!

#Interviews