The bad schooltenant

December 31, 2010

Each urban reality has what it deserves, is whato one could say, when an article like this pops up on Il Giornale dell’Architettura (look for yourself: on page 21 of issue 90, December 2010-January 2011). And if the amazing ambition of Bari can reach the absurd to apply for candidacy as European Capital of Culture for 2019 (for the skeptics: here, with lots of glossy pictures) with, at the moment, not a museum of international level, then we can not even be surprised that Nicola Signorile – known (and only as well) architectural journalist (sic) of the city -, or whoever, has had a brillant idea of letting this precious gem appear on the national magazine.
Now: that the intent of the article is sarcastic, it is obvioulsly clear. What leaves me seriously puzzled, however, is the fact that such an article actually exists.
In other words, what happened to the new Faculty of Architecture is a self-evident scandal. Not only the oxymoron between the massive prefabrication and the absolutely unacceptable building time (equal for the construction of the Maxxi) is absolutely glaring, but there is more than some questioning about the project as a whole, where the neo-classical-nauseating forms are just the tip of an iceberg of embarrassing lack of quality. The two elephantine carcasses, each hovering around 50×50 m in plan for an area that, in a rough calculation, will exceed 15,000 square meters, do not contain more than cstunted lassrooms, while the exhibition halls are derived from residual disjointed spaces, devoid of any identity. All for a sensational architectural shallowness, just where the artistic education and perception of students starts (should start). Students who, of course, can only welcome the novelty with bland satisfaction, used to the only possible alternative to this mess: nothing. And this is even when, from the first step, it is clear that the structure is finished, so to say, modestly – naturally: any available funding would be dematerialized after a decade of building site! – and lacks even the most obvious equipment to make it usable by the students, from electrical outlets for laptops.
For these reasons, Signorile’s irony, in this case, is not worth that much more than a complete submission to the regime of Claudio D’Amato, whose name should never appear on anything entitled “Profession & Training”, since he actually has little to do with one thing and the other, being basically unable to draft a plan that does not exceed 5 times the available budget, or just one that respects the cultural-aesthetic canons with which he constantly insists on limiting the imagination of his unfortunate pupils.
Then, when the reportage of the situation of Bari, depicts with delicate colors a tragedy shown gently – and with a certain satisfaction with his own sharp wit – in front of the nation as if it were the angle of the self-styled cynical “expert” in the neighborhood magazine, we have the duty to scandalize and not to accept any position other than a cry of anger or, if nothing else, the dignity of a more intelligent silence.

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