Centro sociale NOIVOILORO Erba 2004-10

© Andrea Martiradonna

Gio Ponti states that modern architecture cannot avoid taking into consideration solutions to socially-committed themes; certainly the Ifdesign project relating to the new NOIVOILORO cooperative site fully responds to this founding assumption, conducted from “the bottom up” as out-and-out voluntary work.

The first modern architecture – in reply to the rapid evolution of the new social needs – sought for the “typical” solution, by emphasising the general features of the building and often taking into account the location and the circumstances like mere “accidents”. Ida Origgi and Franco Tagliabue work in the opposite direction: beginning with the particular requirements requested by the commissioning client and from the constraints of a specific location, they build an “open” project, that is capable of growing and developing over time starting from a large common space.

Just like some rural constructions built around a barnyard or a medieval monastery around a cloister, simple buildings aggregate around a large central courtyard, that represents a common area open to the different forms of sociality stimulated by the cooperative: parties, shows, sports or recreational activities.

However, special reference is made to “timeless” models of settlement – or to sophisticated experiences of “minor” modern architecture, such as the quotation of the church roof by Sigurd Lewerentz in Björkhagen – without devaluating the decisive “contemporary” dimension of the project. The materials and the colours of the facades, the external and sometimes playful use of graphic art, the presence of continuous inventions of details make the building a kind of story with parallel episodes, that come together only in the overall bird’s eye view of such. From here, one can see how the building and the open space that it embraces show that deep relationship with the orography of the landscape, which historical settlements have always had: a relationship based on the transparency of its purposes and on the economy of means, that makes architecture the development of spaces that welcome the life of man rather than the production of virtual images to be re-broadcasted by media.

Cino Zucchi


(panel presented at the exhibition “The Architecture you like©”, MAXXI Museum, Rome, 24 February-10 May 2011)