5th course on the architecture of Scarpa
Carlo Scarpa. Tectonics and construction
Vicenza, palazzo Barbarano. 21 - 25 October 2005
by Wolf Tegethoff and Vitale Zanchettin


The seminar is organized under the Joint Committee for the knowledge and valorization of the cultural patrimony linked to Carlo Scarpa and his presence in the Veneto, instituited in 2002 by the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività culturali and the Regione del Veneto.

Carlo Scarpa’s sensitivity in staging art exhibitions was always accompanied by the intention to also express the technical dimensions of the process. Many of his most famous works were actually dictated by the desire to highlight the structural function of the architecture.

This relationship between structure and form has its roots in the oldest traditions of European architecture, and since the beginning of the nineteenth century has been defined with the term tectonic: the theme is linked to the possibilities of seeing architecture as a representation of a precise structural conception.

The aim of the course is to look for the sources of such tectonic conception in Scarpa’s work, in order to understand the degree to which different ideas of structure influenced the form of his architecture.

The programme is divided into three sections. The first is dedicated to studying the influence of Viennese architectural culture in Scarpa’s work, starting from the theoretical work of Gottfried Semper (1803-79) and continuing on to the experiences of the early twentieth century. The second consists of a visit to several of Scarpa works built between the 1930s and ‘70s. The concluding section will be dedicated to an analysis of the planning process through the study of some of Scarpa’s original drawings, in order to understand the origin of some of the more famous ‘structural nodes’ in his work, such as the ceiling transepts in the Museo di Castelvecchio and the beams in the Casa Gallo. Finally, thanks to the site drawings recently purchased by the Regione Veneto, it will be possible to compare the ‘tectonics and movement’ theme through the study of the moveable mechanisms that frequently appear in Scarpa’s architecture.