Palladio Virtuel

September 17, 2012 /

Yale School of Architecture Gallery
New Haven, Connecticut, USA
On view: August 20, 2012 - October 27, 2012

palladio_yale_1.jpgPhoto: William Sacco, Yale Photo + Design

This exhibition presents a radically new analysis of the work of Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio by Peter Eisenman, renowned New York architect and Charles Gwathmey Professor in Practice at Yale. It represents the culmination of ten years of study of Palladio's villas by Eisenman, adding an important contribution to the sixteenth-century master's already robust legacy.

palladio_yale_2.jpgPhoto: William Sacco, Yale Photo + Design

palladio_yale_3.jpgPhoto: William Sacco, Yale Photo + Design

Focusing on twenty villas the exhibition proposes a reading of the buildings that undermines the traditional view of Palladio's architecture as founded on ideal forms. Palladio Virtuel introduces a fundamentally different way of understanding the work. Rather than seeing Palladio as a Mannerist, deviating from a Renaissance ideal, Eisenman finds complex, indeterminate internal relationships in Palladio's work.

This discovery is presented in the exhibition in three sections:

  1. The Classical Villas: The Impending Crisis of Synthesis
  2. The Barchessa Projects: Extensions into the Landscape
  3. The Virtual Villa: The Dissipation of the Villa Type

Each of the twenty buildings examined is represented by a diagrammatic model in which the traditional architectural components, the portico, circulation, and central figured spaces, are coded by color. Going beyond typology, proportion, and history, Eisenman's models, along with 100-plus drawings, reveal adjacencies, superpositions, and overlays among these components, with no foundation in ideal symmetry or proportion.

Courtesy Peter Eisenman and Matt Roman
Vlla Rotonda Model overlaid with axonometric

Courtesy Peter Eisenman and Matt Roman
Palazzo Chiericati Model

palladio_yale_6.jpgCourtesy Peter Eisenman and Matt Roman
Palazzo Chiericati Axonometric

Courtesy Peter Eisenman and Matt Roman
Villa Foscari Model

palladio_yale_8.jpgCourtesy Peter Eisenman and Matt Roman
Vlla Foscari Axonometric

Peter Eisenman and Matt Roman
Villa Repeta Model

palladio_yale_10.jpgCourtesy Peter Eisenman and Matt Roman
Villa Repeta Axonometric

Courtesy Peter Eisenman and Matt Roman
Villa Barbaro Maser Model

In contrast to inherited ideas of harmonic proportions, Eisenman's radical analysis displaces any notion of a part-to-whole stability or ideal in Palladio's work and proposes that his villa forms dissipated over the course of his career, their components essentially becoming unrecognizable.

In Palladio Virtuel, Palladio's legacy is read as a confrontation with certain persistent formal problems. This is also seen in his treatise I Quattro Libri (The Four Books), for which, at the end of his life, Palladio redrew his buildings as he wanted them to be - as "virtual" projects. But he was also, in a sense, redrawing the very boundaries of the discipline at the time by proposing a series of radically different villa plans, each an exercise in double and triple readings. The layering of building, drawing, and text in The Four Books renders Palladio's architectural project conceptually incomplete.

The exhibition is on view through October 27, 2012


Giovanni Giaconi:

For several years, Italian water colorist Giovanni Giaconi has devoted his talents to creating exquisite large-format pen-and-ink watercolor renderings of all thirty-two of Palladio's villas. Each drawing captures the timeless beauty of Palladian architecture and provides a detailed record of these masterpieces.
Giovanni Giaconi: The architecture of Palladio

Giovanni Giaconi: The Villas of Palladio

Åke E:son Lindman works as a freelance photographer in Stockholm specializing in architecture and interior design.

New photographs by Åke E:son Lindman

Yale School of Architecture Gallery 

Eisenman Architects  

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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