BACK HOMEPAGE ARCHITECTURE PAINTING FOUNDATION

B.1.5.1

ATHENA

projects for Athens
by
VITTORIO MAZZUCCONI



Vittorio Mazzucconi's encounter with Greece has provided many fruits. After the aurora-like experience of the Dawning City and, above all, after the obscurity of the Descent to Hades which influenced his painting as well as his architecture, there now follows a ray of bright light. This must not only be interpreted in a spiritual sense, but also in a Mediterranean way.

If, for Florence, there is no other possibility to shake the creative powers of the now mummified city and bring them back to life if not by searching for the remote origins of the city, for her foundation, what could possibly be done for Athens? Apart from the Acropolis, there are no other visible remains of its past in Athens nor are there significant exemples of modern architecture. So, when the architect is required to design a modern commercial structure, in his mind such a theme is blended with the nostalgia for the vanished past and with the ideal image of Greece, which has very little in common with the Greece of our day.

Agora, Project, which was designed by Vittorio Mazzucconi for Athens, reflects this very thought: on one side, it consists in planning a modern office complex, together with a commercial centre. On the other, its dream is that of the ancient Agora, with its porticos, its temple, its marble-paved square...This dream and this contradiction have been brought to life, and not just in the Agora, Project, but in the Polis Centre and in many other projects destined to Athens. Their contribution was that of re-awakening the city's awareness for its classical architectural culture that, quite often, seems to be blinded by an international type of modernity.

It is also very important to notice, in these projects, the instinctive union felt by Mazzucconi between an architectural expression and the deep identity of a city. The architect always lives and experiments this identity as a general underlying theme, though respecting the limits imposed by the specific project and its dimensions. That is why some ordinary office blocks, ordinary by nature, can be transformed into urban themes of great importance, as if they were nuclei of an ideal city's re-foundation.

Another radical connection to Mazzucconi's poetry is conveyed by the sense given to a religious presence, which seems to permeate these works. No city could be conceived without the centrality of the temple. In the same sense or even as un human being is based upon his own soul, so , every one of Mazzucconi's projects is based on the central idea of the temple. If one thinks about the post-modern fashion for false temple-like facadres, which has, alas, occurred simultaneously or just after these projects, he must sincerely regret that Mazzucconi's profound search for a religious expression risks being taken too for a futile fashion. In order to get a clearer understanding of the architect's approach, it would be sufficient to observe the way in which the temple of the Agora was conceived. Not only you can read read its image from the facade (were it not for the fact that it has been misinterpreted by a wrong realisation ), but also from the rest of the building, which rigorously follows the canons of proportion used for the ancient temple itself. Inside the building, you feel to be in an authentic temple, although it is..... upside-down. The symbolic meaning for this is that today, due to our ignorance, our religeous experiences are unfortunately reversed, and we therefore live our lives with our heads down!