Humble Architecture with Franco Tagliabue
An article by Mara Bragagnolo
In his lesson, the architect underscored the notion that the spaces we create no longer solely belong to us. It's a common perception that spaces often appear to be more of a reflection of the architects themselves than of the individuals who interact with these spaces on a daily basis.
As architects, we must be willing to relinquish control and allow these spaces to evolve beyond our initial designs, nurturing the meaningful relationships they can create.
Particularly when we adopt an inclusive approach, it's crucial to recognize the limitations of our own experiences. If we genuinely aim to design for a diverse range of people and identities, we should shift the focus away from our personal vision and instead allow the multitude of voices and experiences to shape the design.
The concept of co-design becomes indispensable in ensuring the authenticity of this process. Actively involving the individuals we are designing for in the design process is fundamental. This approach was exemplified in the architect's work on the Centro Civico Noivoiloro, where they engaged young people with disabilities from the center in the design process. The studio organized a workshop, enabling these individuals to conceptualize the integration of lamps on the building's facade. Using pins, string, and various materials, they created their own interpretation of the outdoor illumination's electric grid, which was then implemented on the facade. This not only incorporated their unique perspectives but also made them an integral part of the construction process.
Another humble yet transformative aspect of this project was the architect's decision to work with highly affordable materials, in order to align with the project's stringent budget. Rather than viewing this limitation as an impediment, the architect saw it as an opportunity to harness the often underestimated potential of these materials. Due to budget constraints, some areas remained un-plastered and were simply painted over. This approach not only showcases the project's authenticity but also highlights the beauty that can emerge from resourcefulness.
The Centro Civico Noivoiloro has evolved into a cultural focal point, not exclusively for the local disabled community but for everyone. It has become a space for local festivals, weddings, and even funerals, catering to a diverse array of people within the local community. This project perfectly exemplifies Tagliabue's architectural philosophy of relinquishing ownership of the space and allowing it to cultivate its own connections and narratives. This approach truly embodies inclusivity, as the space is authentically shaped by the people who use it, fostering a sense of ownership and shared identity among its users.