The school and the contribution of architecture

Enrico Prandi


Fig.1 - Field of education, Cover of the monographic issue of «Hinterland», year 4, n. 17, march 1981.

This issue dedicated to the theme of the School and edited by Francesca Belloni and Elvio Manganaro, is the one that most denotes the imprint of a magazine very dear to me despite having lived it as a result of the cycle of publications concluded.
A little-known magazine which in its concise title offset by an otherwise very broad subtitle Hinterland. Architecture design and context for the management of interventions in the territory denoted his militancy in the field of architecture and the city.
It was the first magazine founded and directed by Guido Canella who subsequently, after a pause of just over five years, gave life to another editorial project which was the second series of Zodiac, the ideal continuation of the historical publication founded by Adriano Olivetti .
During the 34 issues that followed one another from 1977 to 1985 the most disparate issues were addressed always in a critical, never predictable and above all operational way. A research magazine open to the field of ideas in which there were often interviews with figures outside the project but within the vast world of architecture (administrators, intellectuals, figures from the political landscape and so on) to seek that dialogue with the institutions that too often it is missing in the construction of the contemporary city.
The same structure of the magazine, with a layout that reflected its character, mixed essay texts with anthological passages with themed iconographic cards, favoring, indeed, suggesting very stimulating parallel reading paths: it happens therefore to find, next to a theoretical definition, the extract of a reflection by Pasolini or Max Weber.
This issue of FAM, I said, collects the vast approach made up of testimonies and experiences that are differently militant and not necessarily in the architectural world to reiterate the need for a broad look at one of the themes (that of education and the construction of its spaces ) fundamental for the future: to use Canella's words (1981, p.2), school is «investment with deferred profit». I am also pleased that the gaze on current events passes through the critical filter of the analysis that starts retrospectively from historical experience.
The seventeenth issue of Hinterland was dedicated to the world of school and was entitled Field of education: an editorial in interrogative form by Canella himself School and landscape: a missed opportunity? reflected on the relationship between school and city starting from the Modern Movement, coming to propose some «almost provocative ideas» (Ibidem) of the project for the rearticulation of the Milanese education system and ending, the editorial by Canella, with an apologue 1 that was none other than the poem Il Tesoro by Giovanni Pascoli. An ode to knowing how to see, to knowing how to collect.
Giorgio Ciucci (2014, p. 42) writes about Hinterland:
«I like to see in the programmatic and formal requests of the Canella project for Turin [The project for the Directional Center of 1962, ed] the premises on which his civil and disciplinary commitment over the years has been built to come: the "formal distortions", as Manfredo Tafuri will call them in 1981 describing his architecture of the Sixties, are real "civil invectives" that invoke, through the figures, a design for a renewed context of architecture - to take up the full title of the magazine - which is intertwined with a new management of interventions in the territory
We too, in a moment of great design confusion, offer food for thought hoping that the heirs will find the treasure before ruining the field.

1«According to an old fable, there was once an old peasant who, feeling the approach of death, called his children to his bedside and said: “I am going with my conscience at rest, because in the field I'm leaving you a fortune”. When the fader died, the sons dug up the field everywhere before they realized that the fortune was the by now ruined field itself.» (Canella 1981, p. 3).

Canella G. (1981) – “Scuola e paesaggio: un’occasione perduta?” in «Hinterland», n. 17.
Ciucci G. (2014) – “L’architettura del fuoriscala in Canella e Rossi”, in Aa.Vv., (edited by E. Bordogna, Ge. Canella, E. Manganaro), Guido Canella 1931-2009, FrancoAngeli, Milan.


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