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Unabridged Version. What urged him to blast a project that other critics, such as Reyner Banham, revered? Copyright Agenor. And for Zevi, deeply affected by the events of the Fascist era, this is not a chance that one can pass over in silence. So began his prolonged series of partisan attacks.

First, we find proof of a privileged understanding of the situation:.

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Going against the grain, going against the international rhetoric that magnified Brasilia, we have criticized its program, its master plan and its architecture. We have defined it a Kafkian city, showing how its construction would have fatally resulted in an anti-democratic product, because its very existence implied the endorsement of a fascist-like law against internal immigration, and of a police state to endorse it.

The recent events have confirmed our fears. Young people are wrong in believing in the myth of Brasilia. But if it comes to fighting generals, we are ready even to defend Brasilia.

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It derives from a reluctance to accept the disintegration of the democratic ideals in architecture—especially when the shadow of Fascism is revived by a passionate Communist like Niemeyer. The Italian lens through which it has been observed is instead very well present. The Italian editorial account of the Latin American contribution to modern architecture unfolds as a form self-reflection, an auto-referential project where the object of criticism is obliterated to let the critical voice of the observer emerge.

If all history writing is tendentious, then, to a certain extent, any account of Latin American architecture is destined to be distorted by the voice of those from elsewhere who write it. But if sufficient critical distance can afford insight into the gaps and prejudices that affect the mediatization of architecture, now is the time for an inquiry into the reception of Latin American architecture—and not only in Italian magazines. Perhaps this will help recuperate some of what has thus far been tainted by national, political and ideological bias, conscious and otherwise.

No one lays claims to the one surviving hydroplane today. It is preserved in a museum—where it belongs.

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The nature of the issue marks an exception to the Italian approach to Latin America discussed in this paper. And an exception it will remain, for the sudden international silence about Latin America that seems to coincide with the death of Le Corbusier in will affect Italy too. As for A. Zevi emigrated to the United States to escape the anti-Semitic persecution of the Fascist regime, and in he graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Design. After a period of intense anti-Fascist activity conducted from Boston and New York with Lionello Venturi and Gaetano Salvemini, in he enlisted in the United States Army, and in June of the same year he was deployed in London to design the US military camps for the Normandy invasion.

After a year he transferred to the University of Rome, from which he graduated in The Austrian-born Rudofsky moved to Italy in after completing his studies in Vienna. He remained in Italy until —the year of his escape to Rio de Janeiro— where he became a close collaborator, first, of the architect Luigi Cosenza and, later, of Gio Ponti. The project of Brasilia per se is not discussed, and the authors offer instead a commentary on the photographic exhibition on Brasilia on show at the Villa Reale of Milan in early In — the year of the official inauguration of Brasilia — Casabella published no articles on the topic.

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Here an article by the writer Alberto Moravia, reprinted from the newspaper Corriere della Sera , offers a description of a Fascist-like city. In the four previous editions , , , and in Towards an Organic Architecture , Brazilian and Latin American architecture in general are mentioned only very briefly and en passant , in the context of a pessimistic analysis of the evolution of modern architecture.

Architecture and urbanism based peer-reviewed journal focusing on colonial and postcolonial contexts from the 19th century onwards. Contents - Previous document - Next document. Dossier : South America. The Editorial Construction of a Domesticated Modernism. Outline Prehistory: Italian Relations Overseas. Full text PDF Send by e-mail. Zoom Original jpeg, k. After this, he was call Zoom Original jpeg, 1.

Zoom Original jpeg, 5. In March Anna Rosa Cott Latin American architec Top of page. Credits Source: Umberto di Lazzaro. Credits Source: Domus , no. Follow us RSS feed. Newsletters OpenEdition Newsletter. Member access Login Password Log in Cancel. The first immediate necessity was to rebuild the houses destroyed by the war. Architects, meanwhile, required interaction with the international cultural circuit. In the immediate postwar years this was true especially of the Milanese Domus and the Roman Metron. What this otherwise inexplicable opposition reveals is the emergence of a distinctly Italian position within the architectural debate around Latin America: the tendency on the part of its architectural press to equate Italian and Latin American architecture.

One first explanation for this tendency may be found in the intense building activity that characterized both countries in the postwar years. There is shortage of houses, shortage of everything. We must act quickly. Then we will see what happens. As long as the proposed solutions were transferable, their provenance was of little importance.

And yet, in the interpretation of these conditions there was space for manoeuvring that allowed the concealment, and even the elimination, of distances and differences. Twenty of the twenty-five articles that the journal dedicated to Brazil over a ten-year period dealt with domestic spaces. But it is not just quantity that matters here. Even the brise-soleil—the most Brazilian feature of all, the one that appeared to embody the entire national style—cannot escape this logic. If the concrete brise-soleil is conventionally recognized as a Brazilian re-elaboration on a Corbusian model, the example offered here is far from the canonical characterization of the device.

These brise-soleil are made of stone—hence ascribable to a Mediterranean sensibility fig. Source: Domus , no. Detail of the stone brise-soleil, Daniele Calabi arch. Resting on the intuition that the analogy of climatic conditions could reverberate into an analogy of architectural typologies, one could suggest that the Mediterranean house here serves as a proxy to advance an alternative discourse about Latin American architecture. The articles insist on the direct Italian paternity of this architecture. And, indeed, most of the Latin American projects presented in Domus in these years were designed by Italian architects or by architects educated in Italy.

Hence we encounter two houses by Bernard Rudofsky, four villas by Daniele Calabi, six projects by Rino Levi—some of which are published more than once—two houses by Gregori Warchavchik, an apartment house by Giancarlo Palanti, and a villa by Lina Bo Bardi. These two Chilean houses testify to this phenomenon: here we find materials, colors, furniture, and cultural reminiscences that belong to our own traditional—and maybe even outmoded— experiences. Meanwhile, figures whose career cannot be traced back to Italy, such as Reidy and Niemeyer, are mentioned only once in a five-year period.

Indeed, an analogous strategy seems to be in place in Metron. The insertion of the Bardi—Bo factor in the Brazilian culture cannot but be positive. And the Italian culture—through its architects and art critics—will then have more profound and fertile effects.

That is, by projecting an Italian approach to architecture outwards, the magazines seem to be performing an operation that exceeds mere cultural promotion: they claim a leading role for Italy internationally in the postwar development of the discipline. To pass off an Italian sensibility as Brazilian, then, reads as nothing less than an attempt at appropriating Brazilian architecture.

Controversies about its originality in the face of the Corbusian derivation of its modern architecture abound in the literature of the time, ultimately undermining the possibility of a national style developed autonomously of imported models. If the insistence on the Italianization of Brazil is an arbitrary manipulation, it stands opposed to the broad understanding of Brazilian architecture as the epitome of modernism.

How could the Italian audience have reacted to such a blatant exhibition of modernity? And yet, modern architecture had not known a similar success there. Therefore, how could Italian architects understand Brazilian modernism if their paths had so diverged? One way to cope with this divergence would be to emphasize familiar features within the foreign other in an attempt at domesticating it to make it intelligible to Italian eyes.

Hence the insistence on domestic spaces and the Mediterranean sensibility: they represent the means through which Brazilian modernism could be comprehended and reconciled with Italian architecture. It no longer surprises us, in fact, that the introduction to Argentinian architecture is eased by five villas by the former director of Metron Enrico Tedeschi, who immigrated to Argentina in It is by Paolo Gasparini, an Italian photographer and critic close to Bruno Zevi, who would become the photographer par excellence of modern architecture in Venezuela and Brazil.

Commenting on the exceptionality of this work in the panorama of Venezuelan architecture, he claimed:. In Venezuela the modern movement develops its maturity by confronting tradition—a term, this, that should not be understood in a formalistic sense, but in an environmental and human one. It is not by chance, then, that we have chosen an Italian magazine to present this project in Europe.

In the past few years the Italian research in architecture has been progressing along the very line of an environmental qualification of modern forms. This is why the Italians can appreciate the spirit of this project. Or, twisting the claim even tighter, one could interpret this as the invention of a mythology of Latin America that ultimately serves as a self-portrait of Italy. The focus on domestic spaces, the penchant for Mediterranean materials, the compromise between vernacular and modern—all these belong to a reflection on the foundations of postwar Italian architecture, rather than on Latin American architecture one.

But this should not surprise us.

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For if we accept the role of architectural magazines as Italian cultural institutions, what we witness here is nothing less than what is required of them: the production of a national architectural discourse and its institutionalization. Here, at the end of , a reconsideration of the editorial effort becomes perceptible. While the articles published before that date focus almost exclusively on Brazilian domestic spaces, from onwards other projects and figures start to appear, and progressively shift the focus of the magazine towards Venezuela.