Constructing 'the School of the Ticino': the historiography of a new Swiss architecture, 1975-1990
- Journal Article
Architecture in Ticino, Switzerland's southernmost, Italian-speaking canton, became the subject of fervent historiographic debates in the mid 1970s. With the exhibition 'Tendenzen: Neuere Architektur im Tessin', Northern Swiss critic Martin Steinmann placed recent architectural production in the theoretical framework of realism and autonomy. The exhibition and its catalogue attracted national and international attention, leading to the extensive coverage of Ticinese architecture in archithese, A+U, and L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui. In 1978, Kenneth Frampton subsumed this built production under a nominal 'Ticino School'; he later used it to illustrate the notion of critical regionalism as 'an architecture of resistance'. This article argues that such theoretical framings gradually detached the architecture of Ticino from its local context, leading to the paradoxical divergence of its historiography from its history. The resulting historiography entwined four distinct narratives. Their analysis outlines the misalignment of theoretical readings and situated knowledge. Statements of local witnesses, such as those of historian Virgilio Gilardoni and architect Paolo Fumagalli, are newly integrated into the discourse as a corrective to the admittedly better known external projections. The historiography of the 'new' Ticinese architecture played a dual role. Not only did it frame a 'myth' for international consumption throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but it also constructed a methodological blueprint for Swiss architecture in the 1990s and beyond. Show more
Journal / seriesThe Journal of Architecture
Pages / Article No.
PublisherTaylor & Francis
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