Ugo La Pietra

Casa per uno Scultore, 1960-1961

In the early 1960s, Ugo La Pietra focused his research on the “synesthesia of the arts.” Sensitive to the experimentation of Viennese architects such as Hans Hollein and Walter Pichler, he worked to break down the separations between forms and disciplines through drawing, painting and architecture. His project, a “House for a Sculptor,” imagined for the Milanese artist Carmelo Cappello, is imposing in the expressionism of its sculpted masses and in its location atop a twelve story building. Culminating at a height of forty meters, as if placed on an enormous pedestal, the house is the expression of a radical rupture with the systematization of the standardized box for housing. Close in style to Carmelo Capello’s aerial and organic works made from cement, this house designed to be built in concrete sprayed onto a metal framework stands out due to its free and flexible forms. In this Architecture-Sculpture project influenced by Frederick Kiesler’s Endless House, La Pietra explores the possibilities of an open space, with few walls and a barely enveloping feel to it. Its brutalist presence makes the codified terms of architecture all the more garish; through the contradiction it establishes with its environment, it seeks to elicit a more critical response toward the city from the individual.

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