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The Politics of Bricolage
Rome, Venice

Ongoing Research Project with multiple outcomes: installations, films, a building and an urban study.

The Politics of Bricolage was initiated as a research project that sought to engage diverse protagonists in a pragmatic and playful study of Abusivismo edilizio, (trans. unlawful building) in Rome. The project was selected for presentation in the 13th Venice Biennale, Common Ground. This provided an opportunity to translate experimental inquiry into a tangible building project in Valle de Borghesiana, an outlying, self-built, neighbourhood of Rome In collaboration with residents and local architect, Antonella Perin, a brief and design were developed for the first public space in an area where even the streets are privately owned. The works involved converting a derelict building into a functioning meeting room for the development of neighbourhood plans and were undertaken with planning permission.

Installation, Accademia Britannica, Rome

Installation, Accademia Britannica, Rome

The project was first exhibited within an installation at the Accademia Britannica where unlawful building trespassed the façade of the academy to open its private interior to its public foreground. The door was opened, the portico occupied and the vista exploited. Mirroring a city that operates “at risk”, the three storey installation was clamped, weighted and offset from the listed Lutyens façade. The installation was recreated for the facade of the Padiglione Centrale in Venice.

Installation, Padiglione Centrale, Venice Biennale

(Click) Installation detail, Rome

project dossier available upon request

Abusivismo edilizio, (trans. unlawful building) is a diverse and endemic phenomenon in Italy with typologies ranging from small extensions to large scale construction projects. Since 1945, over 28% of the built area of the comune of Rome has been defined as having been constructed illegally and the possibility to build and seek legitimisation in retrospect has been affirmed in successive masterplans and in national law through the condono edilizio. The films, installations and the meeting room all form part of a wider investigation of abusivismo in Rome brought together in a project dossier that is available upon request.

Film, Flight over the Toponomi, by Alison Crawshaw and Cesare Querci

The term Toponimi refers to both a place and to a policy. It is a geographical area built without permission and outside the city plan; and a policy for the recuperation of these areas. Valle de Borghesiana is one of 88 toponimi zones. The film, Flight over the Toponimi, is a survey from a helicopter of these zones in the periphery of the city and was made at the Accademia Britannica as Rome scholar in architecture.

Film. Meeting room under construction
Valle de Borghesiana Rome

Still. Meeting room under construction
Valle de Borghesiana, Rome

Toponimi policy meeting in resident's home
Valle de Borghesiana, Rome

The meeting room that was made in Valle de Borghesiana is at once a finished product and a sort of portal. A space where an officially appointed architect and those who have built the city in the absence of architects come together to articulate a vision for the future of the periphery.

extract from poster. download full poster here.