Piero Portaluppi. Linea errante nell’architettura del Novecento

The book Piero Portaluppi. Linea errante dell’architettura del Novecento is the catalogue of the exhibition which was held at Triennale di Milano between september 2003 and january 2004 and the final result of a long research, rich in surprises, that led to the opening of Piero Portaluppi Foundation.

For many years the figure of Portaluppi,  in a definetely eccentric position in respect to the official history of modern architecture, “was surrounded by a mist of stereotypes and limiting misreadings that dismissed him as an eclectic architect of visionary power plants, an agnostic unable to make a leap into what was considered contemporary”. This book represents an important step forward  toward the critical rediscovery of the Milanese architect through the first comprehensive survey of his works and projects.

The volume is introduced by a reasoned selection of 63 projects, illustrated by period and contemporary photographs and original drawings by the architect. Five theme sections with essays by Guido Canella, Ferruccio Luppi, Luciano Patetta, Jeffrey T. Schnapp, Guido Zucconi, among others, unveil the multifaceted and complex profile of Piero Portaluppi.

Formazione e prime opere (Education and first projects) describes Portaluppi first years of practice, his renovations of Renaissance buildings – such as Casa degli Atellani in Milan (1919-1921) – and his Deco experiments. The wide network of power plants, remarkable architectures and imaginary cities are made clear in the section Stili dell’energia e visioni del moderno (Energy styles and visions of the modern).

Portaluppi e Milano (Portaluppi and Milan) portrays the special relationship of the designer with Milan, where he lived and worked as professor, professional and tireless leader of the city cultural debate and where he built so many projects, from Palazzo Buonarroti in Corso Venezia (1926-1930) to RAS Headquarters in via Torino (1935-1938) up to the Milanese Fascist House in piazza San Sepolcro (1935-1940). L’abitare borghese (The bourgeois living) eventually focuses on the interiors, real and unreal, of the houses designed by Portaluppi,  above all the renown Villa Necchi Campiglio, always in the Lombard city (1932-1935).