The Marriage Of Past & Present
Paolo Portoghesi


Paolo Portoghesi

©Monica Pidgeon

I am born in Rome very close to the dome of the Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza, the famous church of Borromini; and also the house of my grandfather was just behind the Oratorio dei Filippini, this fantastic building which is at the same time a palace and a church, and is not really a palace and not really a church. This problem of architecture I have discovered in the first years of my life, I remember that I have chosen to become an architect in connection with this special fascination, the buildings of Borromini. When I was in the university, the words that my professor said to me were so poor in comparison with the Borromini buildings that were so full of messages for me, that I decided to reject my real living master and to choose as a master a dead man but so live in my mind. I have discovered in the years of university the importance of modern tradition and I have remarked that in Rome the modern tradition was present and inaffective, with some examples without special quality. I have searched outside the quality of modern architecture, visiting buildings especially of Le Corbusier. But in Italy I found some important examples of a research that I consider very important till now, to have a connection with historical tradition and the tradition of the new, especially the works of Albini, Ridolfi and Gardella, the works of the '5O's, a big importance in the formation of my taste. So the first works I have made are in the spirit of the research typical of the masters of Italian architecture of the '50's.


Student Project

©Paolo Portoghesi

The first slide of the series is a project I've made during the years of the university, a project important for my research because it's an enclosed space, it's a square. The research of modern architecture in terms of the space of the city was generally to create open space without a limit against symmetry and so on. This space is closed, it's in the way of a perspective theory, it's a space with a church in the axis, it's a reaction against the idea of the city, like a composition of volumes and of light like Le Corbusier sustained.

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