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What is the first memory that comes to your mind related to the Faculty of Architecture of Pescara?

The adriatic sea and the gallery of the faculty of architecture.

The Adriatic Sea has been our privileged context. The Adriatic city, infinite or generic , as it has been repeatedly defined, has been at the center of our urban studies for many years.

We were in a privileged position to understand the phenomena of dispersion, to practice in the field that integration between urban architecture and landscape that Pescara first inaugurated, in the nineties, with the DAU, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning. We were in a privileged position to engage, across the Adriatic, on the broader question of the Mediterranean, which constituted the other great field of research, and to understand the condition of conflict. We were perhaps among the first to change its definition, from “Mediterranean” to “Mediterranean”, recognizing its different identities and definitively overcoming the unique meaning linked to the Myth.

The gallery of the Faculty of Architecture, and in general the entire 'promenade' of the Polo Pindaro, was our public place. An internal triple-height street, marked by the different color of the stairs (sky blue for the architecture, like the sky and the water), and then red, yellow, green ..

With the light that rained down from the skylights, the same ones that were never obscured, in summer they threw an infernal heat and a blinding brightness on the upper floors. (but we were also fond of

those). Every event, convention, manifestation, collective exams, graduation thesis celebrations, even theatrical performances, video projections, e-days, and international conferences (the first three that come to mind among the many: the 'Adriatic City' in 1994 , Ne.Mo.- neglected modernism in 2000, The Mediterranean Medina in 2006 but also the memorable day in April 2009, in the aftermath of the L'Aquila earthquake, dedicated to a promise of commitment on the field), became an opportunity to 'stage' the energies, ideas and projects of an entire scientific community (including students) towards the city and society.

The gallery punctually struck every guest, especially foreigners, whom we had the opportunity to invite and helped to restore the idea of a cohesive school, identified also spatially, open to the city and to the world.

One of the phenomena that has affected the Faculty of Architecture of Pescara since its origins has been that of TREND. What is TREND? and what did it represent for you?

I would first like to separate the term 'Tendency' from the masters who generated this term. I am thinking first of all of Aldo Rossi, secondly of Giorgio Grassi. Both passed through Pescara, Aldo Rossi around 1966, Giorgi Grassi later on. Both have left testimonies, in their writings (Rossi), or in a work (Grassi): I am referring to the Student House on the Chieti Campus, never finished and recently demolished, without its author being warned.

What we call 'Tendency' has in many cases concerned the epigones and epigonism tends to assume a dogmatic, programmatically uncritical attitude towards a thought that it assumes as its own and of which it promotes itself. Many misunderstandings have been generated, I believe, especially in the construction of the project and in its representation. My generation has experienced a long season of drawings and projects in the manner of Aldo Rossi or Giorgio Grassi in particular. In many cases these have been 'iconic' re-propositions: that is to say that the teaching of the masters has not been assumed as an attitude of thought willing to coherently generate even formal outcomes that are different although authentic, but it has meant the fideistic assumption of its own result, a true 'false' faithful even in the techniques of representation, pleased with a reassuring, recognizable and at the same time recognized belonging.

One of my favorite books is Aldo Rossi's Scientific Autobiography. It is a book that I occasionally reread in some of its memorable passages. It is an intimate and surreal book at the same time. Some pages seem to transcribe that stream of consciousness that flows under the rational cognition of the world and which at the same time becomes vital and necessary lymph.

For example, read what Aldo Rossi from Pescara writes. I am transcribing it all to you because many of my reflections on the Adriatic city, floating and elusive, started from here.

“… .But once you have gone back up the path, these magnificent mobile landscapes that are arranged along the Adriatic every season are still simply: just as when I observed them during my teaching period in Pescara around 1966. We saw them rise with the rising of summer and decay with it: a longer time than the dramatic city of the Seville Fair, a time of holidays, meetings, loves, perhaps even boredom that was repeated every year. And when the great beaches were empty, the winter was still a movable terrain of a temporary city that the waterfront separated from the other city. But the former always remained the city of encounters, like the pier, like everything between earth and water, like between earth and sky…. " (A. Rossi, Scientific Autobiography Pratiche Editrice, 1990, pages 50-51)

What do you think you have left in this faculty?

This is a question that should be asked of those left behind. In any case, my first thoughts go to the students. In about thirty years (I arrived in Pescara in 1985 with a contract), I have helped to 'train' several generations of students. A strong responsibility that I hope I have fulfilled in the best possible way. I hope I have left traces of correct behavior, of a never definitive disciplinary background, of an aptitude for experimentation and rigor at the same time. Architecture is not an exact science; it is a widely interpretable subject.

A lot can be transmitted, from a disciplinary point of view, but not everything. The design workshops have been for me every time surprising journeys made with the students towards the project. Detecting and giving shape to the attitude of each of them was also for me a continuous exercise of verification and questioning of some assumptions. I hope I have communicated to them the passion for a profession that will never cease to surprise us. I hope I have left something of all this, as I believe I have taken and 'learned' too (pass me the pun) continuously, in all the years spent in this Faculty.

In his career he has faced different academic realities. Are there any distinctive features that can be recognized in the various universities? If yes, what are they?

It is true, I have attended many different academic realities for institutional, disciplinary, didactic, research reasons, or for workshops, summerschools, conferences, etc. I continue to do so and to promote a policy of exchanges on the thread of affinities of thought, of cultural policy, of scientific research or more simply of friendship, a very important added value to make that exchange even more fertile. Each school has its own characteristics. In Italy they are often linked to the territorial context to which they belong and to the relevance of the people who lead them. It is important that each school works for its recognition, on the basis of its most authentic attitude, its tradition, but also betting on the capacity for innovation, experimentation and rigor, as was said before for the project. In fact, even the School always needs a project to be pursued and continually updated, a cultural project independent of conditioning, which critically watches over the realities it explores, investigates or governs This concerns in a special way the Schools of Architecture that form Architects. The expectation for all, whatever the identity character of each of them, is that it will train competent architects aware of the responsibility of their role (if they are in the happy position to be able to exercise it!)

If you were to return to teaching in Pescara, what experiences would you try to introduce into the reality of the Department of Architecture?

This is a really difficult question. I can only say in general that, everywhere in Italy, we are in a moment of profound transformation and a decisive generational change. This is being clearly perceived in numerous academic realities.

It is a great opportunity for change for everyone. Of course, past experiences can be a heritage from which to learn and be confident, but you need to look ahead and deal with what you have. The Pescara Department has a lot of energy, especially among the most 'young' teachers (you set the threshold for this 'better youth' because I have lost count). It is necessary to enhance, promote, put to work all the energies that one has and, I repeat, it is necessary to have a shared project. The School is basically a community of people who, despite legitimate differences, all look on the same side.


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