About this talk

Running time: 43 minutes

The late Carlo Scarpa is considered by architects as the great authority on how to intervene creatively in existing structures. His architectural language is entirely of the twentieth century, yet incredibly rich and uniquely interested in surface texture and the minutest detail. He has been called "the jeweller of the small".

Though primarily a museum and exhibition designer, and mainly in existing buildings, he broke with tradition in that he treated every object exhibited as unique, and therefore to be considered for itself in relation to other objects, and to background and light and people.

The architect Richard Murphy, a known authority on Scarpa's work and author of a book about it, has chosen in his talk to examine how Scarpa has understood the nature of Venice, the city of his birth and life, and how he has reproduced in his architecture a contemporary re-interpretation of Venetian phenomena: the presence of water and the potential disaster of its overflowing; the brick palaces lined with exotic and precious materials; the asymmetrical Gothic composition, colour, layering, detail, and so on. Above all, detail and how to draw attention to the very tiniest little things.

Murphy has also spoken in another talk, Transforming Architecture.

Please note that a transcript of this talk is available - please contact us for further details.

Richard Murphy


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