Genoa tailor made

The exhibition on "completed, ongoing and pending architecture" carried out by the studio over the last 20 years in Genoa and Liguria

A corridor and three rooms welcome with a domestic intimacy the story of the eight exhibited projects.

Genoa concerns us. Our professional and private history is constantly intertwined with the Ligurian capital. It is here that Gianandrea Barreca was born and studied, and here Giovanni La Varra has been an assistant at the University for years.

In the last twenty years, with Boeri Studio (Stefano Boeri, Gianandrea Barreca, Giovanni La Varra) since 1999, and as Barreca & La Varra since 2008, we have recursively had professional opportunities in Genoa and, more recently, in Liguria. Constantly returning to the harshness and the particular Genoese and Ligurian morphology has involved a continuous refinement of the reading and drawing tools which, here more than elsewhere, in conditions of often extreme density and dense naturalness, are required.

From our Milanese observatory, Genoa and Liguria are the place where architecture must measure itself against unusual extremes: high densities, rough terrain, tangles of infrastructures, irregular coastlines. Working in Genoa is like putting oneself to the test continuously, it is a difficult task, sometimes exhausting, always full of satisfactions and teachings, even when the projects stop, and are there, enclosed in drawing rolls, surviving in our memory, like in our memory opportunities that are not fully realized, but also as lessons that we had to face.

And in this, the measure of the Genoese and Ligurian territory forces us to think of our instruments all over again. With Genoa it is not a joke, everything we have learned elsewhere here is of little use, Genoa forces us to develop the project starting from its foundations, asking questions that, elsewhere, you do not ask anymore.

This exhibition, in spite of or due to its fragmentation, realizes this returning to the Ligurian coast as a disciplined and humble exercise, a recurring proof of our tools, our abilities and our desire to continue to do a difficult job but, when gratify, do it like few others.

The projects on display belong to different moments and occasions.

The first is Ex-Boero and represents one of the “ongoing” projects: a social housing complex of 4 buildings for a total of 170 apartments in the area of ​​the former paint factory in Molassana, which will see the laying of the first stone in the month of April. The central section is dedicated to Punta Murena, the spectacular promontory between Albenga and Alassio where the renovation of the twentieth century Villa Brunati and its park, rich in secular essences, which unfolds between the Aurelia and the sea, is underway. “Here are ten residential micro-architectures under construction that reserve, as small treasure chests, an exclusive and intimate relationship with the extreme nature of the place, made of sea and sky, stone and vegetation. They are built dry, recyclable, reversible and covered with burnt larch wood slats; their contemporary design enhances the preciousness of existing historical artefacts “. Then there is Erzelli an area in continuous evolution presented in the exhibition through the renderings of two projects that describe some of the possible scenarios that the “Great Campus” can still accept. In the last room, the former Hennebique Granary Silos is the “waiting” project that draws the most attention: in 2003/2006 it was assumed a future as the headquarters of the Engineering Faculty of the Genoa University and offices, but it is a project which still offers interesting ideas for spatial reflection. An original photograph by Gabriele Basilico accompanies the project drawings.

Seeing them all together was a reassuring confirmation, not so much on the results of our work, as on the extraordinary capacity of some cities – Genoa is one of these – to weave a single, intimate and supportive relationship with individual architectural interventions. The architecture here must find the measure, enter into resonance with the innumerable bundles of natural and infrastructural lines that mark the territory and, only then, can it unfold and participate in the spectacle of the densest coast of the Mediterranean.

Finally, but it should be clear by now, Genoa has taught us things that otherwise we would not have learned.

Genoa tailor made