GIANCARLO DE CARLO AT 100 – Online Reading Marathon participation with Kent University and the Kent School of Architecture & Planning.
By Anske Bax
What is it?
A public marathon of reading and visiting the works of Italian architect Giancarlo De Carlo. Promoted on social media through Instagram among the initiatives by the Committee for the Centennial of Giancarlo De Carlo. The reading marathon organised by Professor Antonello Alici of the University of Politecnica delle Marche, is entrusted to students and housed in De Carlo’s places and architectures in Italy and abroad. The two-years long programme promotes a research network of schools and institutions; inviting master and doctoral students to participate in a marathon of re-reading and re-visiting the writings and projects by Giancarlo De Carlo. The four-minute readings seek to encourage research seminars and symposia. Kent School of Architecture was one of the international institutions to have participated in the readings on the 2nd May 2020.
Who was Giancarlo de Carlo?
Giancarlo De Carlo (12 December 1919 − 4 June 2005) is a major figure in the architectural debate and practice of the 20th century for his capacity of reading contexts and exploring the tensions of the city. He built his first theoretical steps on William Morris and Patrick Geddes and revived the legacy of Giuseppe Pagano and Edoardo Persico. In 1993 he was awarded the RIBA Gold Medal, following the suggestion of Colin St John Wilson, who praised him as ‘the Master of Resistance’ and ‘the most lucid of his generation of architect-philosophers-in-action’ – for his tireless critical action within the Modern Movement.
University of Kent’s involvement and perspective
International collaboration and wider project participation are very much the norm at the Kent School of Architecture and Planning. A mindset that I noticed almost immediately upon joining the school as a doctoral student. These proud collaborations including the marathon reading for Giancarlo De Carlo harness a wider academic unity and through peer involvement encourages one to open one’s mind in architectural theory. These projects are thanks to the wonderful staff of our department, including my experience made possible by the kind efforts of Dr Manolo Guerci and fellow PhD colleague, Benedetta Castagna. It was a true honour to be asked to read an extract (Reading 7.1) by Giancarlo De Carlo about the work of Le Corbusier. The Swiss born architect who De Carlo identified as someone who was able to create a defined architectural language, but at some point, it lost connection with the reality of the contexts. A clear statement of De Carlo’s conception about the Modern Movement. My reading is one of many enlightening texts on the Instagram page. I would encourage anyone to participate in this two-year project by emailing myself or Benedetta Castagna.