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She was the director of the First Biennial of Architecture in 1980. With the "Road Novissima" opened a debate of great vitality on the Postmodern, becoming an international symbol. He had the opportunity to collaborate with Venturi and with other big names of the time. What is the first memory that comes to your mind of that period?

PP - I've always had a good understanding with Robert Venturi. The beginning of our relationship, of great complicity, took place during a meeting in America for the Strada Novissima, the suggestive via delle Corderie of the Venice Arsenal, built on the occasion of the first edition of the Architecture Biennale directed by me. For this exhibition, which is so important in the international debate on architecture, I felt the need to make every effort to obtain the participation of Robert Venturi. It was my intention to bring together the strongest personalities and the most current demands of those years in Venice. Initially his participation was not certain, but he himself reserved some perplexities, perplexities vanished thanks to the great affinities that unite us. That Biennale represented an experience with architecture and not with architecture, and the Strada Novissima reflects the idea of ​​his analysis of the typical characteristics of the American, radically commercialized and identified with “Main Street”. It can be argued that the theory of redefining the tasks of architecture - starting from a sociological interpretation of American visual communication - comes precisely from the Venetian experience.

We met several times in Maryland, he gave me many books and gave me a strong sense of fraternity. I can call him an older brother. This is my memory of the time.

What do you think of when Venturi sarcastically declares that the postmodernist front, "PoMo", is a clot of different tendencies and attitudes, and that it cannot be considered a movement as the Modern Movement had been?

PP - The modern Post represents a departure from orthodoxy, to then take a thousand other directions. The center was represented precisely by modern orthodoxy and then there were several trends. In the beginning it seemed to prevail the one that favored the interest in history, an interest which quickly decayed and defined as a simple fashion. Robert Venturi had built his ideas so that they weren't just a fad. Unfortunately, even the great must accept that history does not always crown their hopes.

What are the characteristics of the modern movement that you condemn defining them as "the modern star-system" and that you recognize in the great masters such as Gropius, Le Corbusier, Mies and Wright?

PP - Undoubtedly the Modern Movement has created absolute masterpieces of architecture, but it has not been able to create the city. The pieces of the city created in the footsteps of the Modern Movement are uninhabitable abstractions. Such as Le Corbusier's Plan Voisin.

Robert Venturi realized that this type of architecture was conceived to bring together and to please a limited group of people, completely forgetting the people that the gospel defines as “poor in spirit”.

Referring to Venturi's book "complexity and contradictions in architecture" How do you consider contemporary architecture, a unitary architecture, complex or full of compromises? Is inflection still a current method of operating?

PP - Contemporary architecture is the architecture of a historical period characterized by efficiency and wealth. A historical period now over, which is defined as "contemporary" but which actually represents an outdated architecture. I believe that today we can no longer spend hundreds of millions to build buildings and public works. Today beautiful projects can be conceived, but this is no longer the task of architecture. There is a need to rediscover the sense of an architecture that is for everyone, at this moment it is important to review the city in a critical way. It is no longer possible to build from scratch… this is no longer the attitude that we should carry on.

We have many spaces, we can rethink the city and its inhabitants. However, this is not our job… now it's your turn!

© Studio Portoghesi

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