1964-1974

Early Works

Genoa, Italy
1964-1974

Early Works

Genoa, Italy
1964-1974

Early Works

Genoa, Italy
1964-1974

Early Works

Genoa, Italy
1964-1974

Early Works

Genoa, Italy
1964-1974

Early Works

Genoa, Italy
1964-1974

Early Works

Genoa, Italy

These were projects that experimented with different materials and construction methods, that reflected on the flexibility of space, and that sought transparency and lightness; the early years were a journey, a process of learning about the complexity of architecture through real hands-on experience of the step by step basics of construction on site. These projects were also an opportunity to further consider the relationship between structure and function.

More Info

One area of study was investigating how best to use new and non-traditional construction materials – such as polyester and its derived products, including fibreglass. The physical properties of materials were studied and experimented with – lightness, strength, flexibility, facility of fabrication and assembly. This research would not only determine how these materials might be used most appropriately, but also enabled the development of new structural forms that exploited the material’s characteristics.

Another important area of research at this time focussed on the concept of the “open-plan” space. A single space without partition walls could be modulated to fit a variety of uses and to suit changing needs. The basic premise of the open plan offered an extraordinarily wide range of applications: in light, modular structures (such as the Italian Industry Pavilion for the Osaka Expo in 1970); office spaces (as for B&B Italia, Novedrate, 1971); residential spaces (for example the experimental free-plan houses in Garrone and in Cusago); right through to the Centre Georges Pompidou, which was conceived entirely according to an open plan (the equipment rooms and public services are on the outside, the interior space is totally modular). Linked to this was the idea of designing a building that was highly adaptable to changing needs: the sulphur extraction plant in Pomezia, consisted of a lightweight, modular structure that moved around the excavation site.

The use of zenithal light was also researched. This involved looking at how a building might make maximum advantage of filtered diffused light. The very first proposition was a modular structure comprised of translucent, reinforced polyester pyramids. Also analysed was the potential of rigid shell structures, which achieved a great rigidity while using thin, lightweight materials.

While this research was often highly technical and theoretical, it yielded discoveries of huge potential for future projects: new architectural forms made from lightweight structures, the use of new materials, and the development of modular spaces. All of this laid the ground for the projects that were to follow.

Credits

Reinforced Polyester Space Frames
Genoa, Italy
1964–65
Studio Piano

Prestressed Steel and Reinforced-Polyester Structure
Genoa, Italy
1966
Client: IPE
Studio Piano, architects
Design team: F. Marano
Contractor: Impresa E. Piano

Italian Industry Pavilion at the 1970 Osaka Expo
Osaka, Japan
1969
Client: Italpublic
Studio Piano, architects
Design team: F. Marano, G. Fascioli, G. Queirolo, T. Ferrari
Consultant: Sertec (structure)
Contractor: Impresa E. Piano

Mobile Structure for Sulfur Extraction
Pomezia (Rome), Italy
1966
Studio Piano, architects
Contractor: Impresa E. Piano

Studio Piano
Genoa, Italy
1968-69
Client: R. Piano
Studio Piano, architects
Design team: F. Marano, O. Celadon, T. Ferrari
Contractor: Impresa E. Piano

Free-Plan Houses
Cusago (Milan), Italy
1970–74
Client: Luci, Giannotti, Simi, Pepe
Studio Piano & Rogers, architects
Design team: C. Brullmann, R. Luccardini, G. Fascioli
with R. & S. Lucci
Consultant: F. Marano (structure)

Shell structural system for the 14th Milan Triennale
Milan, Italy
1967
Client: Milan Triennale
Studio Piano, architects
Design team: F. Marano, O. Celadon, G. Fascioli

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