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Architecture

Hendrik Petrus Berlage. Disegni

4th International Architecture Exhibition
Director: Aldo ROSSI
18th July – 28th September 1986
Site: Villa Farsetti in Santa Maria di Sala (Ve)
Director appointed by President Paolo Portoghesi
 
The fourth Architecture Biennale is organized one year after the previous one (it breaks the two-year deadline once again) and is dedicated to the work of a single architect, Hendrik Petrus Berlage (Amsterdam, 1865-1934). Director Aldo Rossi collects, for the first time in Europe, the corpus of all the designs of this Dutch master and organizes their display at Villa Farsetti in Santa Maria di Sala, on the Venetian mainland, underlining his will to make the Biennale institution interact with local territories. Villa Farsetti, moreover, is the perfect response to the need of finding an alternative space for the exhibitions, given that the International Art Exhibition was opening in the same period.

Berlage’s imperative is “Look at the building and at its history”. The constant attention he shows for History is one of the main reasons for the Biennale to devote its interest to him. Keeping faithful to its criticism towards the Modernist movement and its rationalism, this edition, as the previous ones, is centered in the relationship that, according to Portoghesi and Rossi, contemporary architecture should keep with the past.

Suspicious of liberty’s wiggly lines, and detached from the avant-gardes and the glorification of progress, Berlage develops an independent thought which leads him to design some of the most important architectural projects of the 20th century, such as the Stock Exchange in Amsterdam in 1903. A series of utopic compositions testify the fascination that creating a “total work of art” hold on him, unifying art, architecture, history and space: Beethoven’s house, Wagner Theatre on behalf of the Wagner Society, the Lenin mausoleum in the Red Square are typical examples of such a will.

Right after Venice, the exhibition moved to Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin, in order to make people know the actuality and the force of this master’s admirable work.