The architects collective Baukuh was founded in 2004 and is based in Milan. In the following conversation, Tamburelli presents the idea behind the video “Demolishing Genoa” which is now shown at Pinskummer in Genoa (Italy). An excerpt of the video will be published on radicate.eu in the next few hours; the video plays with the economical superstition of considering houses solid and tangible economic assets.
Other members of the architects collective are Paolo Carpi, Silvia Lupi, Vittorio Pizzigoni, Giacomo Summa and Andrea Zanderigo. They consider themselves a quite traditional office of architecture, but they also happen to propose experimental ways to understand the contemporary city.
On the occasion of the exhibition at the Pinksummer contemporary art gallery which opened last Saturday February 2nd, 2013, and will close on March 23rd, they also presented the publication “Panorama” which includes a collection of drawings done in the recent years. These drawings describe different cities combining various forms of representation.
A conversation with Pier Paolo Tamburelli about the economical superstition of considering houses solid and tangible economic assets (February 2013)
Conversation transcription below
Baukuh is now located in Milan but it used to be in Genoa. This is why we have this special link to the city. The project we are presenting is based on a simple fact: Genoa lost almost 1 fourth of its population in the past 25 years. At the same time, due to the phenomenal growth of the city in the 50s and 60s, Genoa is facing dramatic hydrologic problems (see for example the dramatic flood occurred in the city in 2011), and a lack of public spaces and green spaces.
These two aspects can be combined. The fact that the city lost population and that the average age in the city is particularly high should not be dramatized but can simply be seen as a condition. Having less people in a city and, at the same time, an overabundance of buildings, provides a possibility to erase something and create new green and open spaces. In our proposal this is developed in a very reasonable way; we do not propose drastic measures. We are playing a bit with the radicalism of the title of our project, which is “Demolishing Genoa” and the delicacy and super-reduced type of intervention. The proposal is indeed to to get rid of 1 percent of the city, which means a little building here and a garage there. These surgical interventions into the city could help generating new sequences of public spaces and improving the hydrologic condition of particular areas where, for examples, some buildings have been built on top of little rivers.
At the gallery we are presenting two big axonometric drawings of one meter by four, both depicting the same fragment of Genoa. One represents the selected area as it is right now, the other, presented next to it, includes the proposed demolitions. There are only very little differences between the two drawings; from a distance they look basically the same, and this is because of the surgical precision of our interventions.
Of course this proposal means to destroy economical assets. And here the issue starts to be really interesting, given that we automatically see an house as an economical asset, given that the house is something that by definition seems to have a stable and tangible economical value. In a specific cultural context such as the Italian one, everybody trusts the value of owning a house. But maybe, the houses we are dealing with in this case do not have so much value anymore. Many apartments, especially those in these specific hydrogeological contexts, do not really have a real value. It is very difficult to imagine someone who is interested in buying them. The owners keep perceiving them as safe assets, but it is probably just an illusion. It is time to discuss this Italian economical superstition that is a strange combination of traditionalism and neoliberalism.
Additional information: Baukuh won international architecture (Amsterdam 2003, Budapest 2003, Italy 2006, Genoa 2009, Milan, 2011), designed plans (2004-08 Amsterdam, Venice, 2007), designed and built public buildings (Brugnato 2007, Milan 2011 – in progress) and residences (Tirana 2007-09). Baukuh has exhibited the Rotterdam Biennale (2007 and 2012) and the Venice Biennale (2008, 2011) and was nominated for the Chernikov award (2006, 2008, 2010) and the Ordos Prize (2009).