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Blueprint: interview with Daniele Zerbi

Daniele Zerbi from Fuzz Atelier was interviewed as part of a comparison between three architects who took part in the Blueprint competition, organized by the Genoa City Council.
Fuzz Atelier” is a young Milanese studio that defines itself as a research collective, investigating the morphology of space with a multiscale and transdisciplinary approach. The name “Fuzz” comes from the music, it is intended as a distortion of the input signal that saturates the frequencies expanding the spectrum. The “Fuzz Atelier” studio makes its name a manifesto of intent, transforming the approach to the project into a sort of distortion of the morphological, typological and technological aspects, in order to experiment with new possible developments.
The project presented, ranked fourth, is made up of a series of volumes whose general layout is based on the interweaving of a landscape dimension, is “a progressive spatial compression aimed at seeking an intimate architectural dimension referring to the typical alleys of Genova”.

1 – What do you think about the Masterplan of Renzo Piano?

The Masterplan drawn up by Renzo Piano is an important document as regards the willingness to act and redevelop a territory, which in fact presents significant problems, both from the point of view of spatial quality and for the road network. The document presents an interesting continuity between the center and the peripheral areas, however these general indications must be verified from the architectural point of view.

2 – What is your opinion about the approach and management of the competition by the Municipal Administration?

The management of the competition was particular, especially with regard to the final ranking. Failure to award a first prize rarely occurs.

3 – How did you place yourself in relation to the project and how did you set it up?

Given the high density proposed by Renzo Piano’s Masterplan, we have set up a compositional strategy capable of articulating a continuous public space for the entire area, a system of courtyards that presents a progressive spatial expansion that culminates in the central square. The public space was certainly the aspect to which we gave absolute priority in terms of composition, the aggregation of volumes came as a result, supporting in height the compressions and dilations of the spaces of relationship. The urban layout is defined peremptorily by a slatted building, along the north side of the perimeter, on which the secondary volumes are transversally attested. In short, the general layout combines a landscape dimension that has its roots in the illustrious Genoese precedent of the “Casa Forte Quezzi” by Daneri, and a progressive spatial compression in search of an intimate architectural dimension, referring to the typical alleys of Genoa.

4 – What were the problems you encountrered during the design phase?

Given the height limits and the building indexes, it was difficult to set up a project capable of meeting all the requirements imposed. Perhaps another problem, in order to pursue the directives of the competition notice, was to include sustainability characters in the project, due to their extremely technical nature. The choices for the development of a piece of city cannot be determined by sustainability criteria, these can influence but cannot be the key to composition.

5 – What do you think about the result of the competition and about the new project called “Levante’s Waterfront” promoted by Renzo Piano?

The results of the competition were interesting, we felt that they were in line with the requirements of the contest. It seems strange to us that no one has scored the minimum score to be considered the winner.
I do not know the project “Levante’s Waterfront”, in any case it seems that Renzo Piano wants to compete with Santa Claus … now every year we expect a project as his gift. Perhaps, more than donating a Masterplan he could donate calls for tenders, to speed up and make more effective the entire procedure.

6 – What is your vision of Genoa for the future?

I don’t know, I just hope it maintains its character as a port city that I find very fascinating.

7 – When, how and why did you decide that Architecture would be your way?

During the last 2 years of university, thanks to Professor Lorenzo Degli Esposti who made me realize how fun and interesting the architectural composition is.

8 – What is your definition of Architecture today?

We like to think that architecture is a device that distorts space.

9 – What advice would you like to give to future architects?

Donate your projects as master Renzo Piano teaches.

Translated into English by Marco Grattarola.

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Duccio Prassoli Administrator
Graduated at the Department of Architecture in Genoa, he is currently pursuing his Master’s degree at the Polytechnic of Milan. He is interested in the architecture of the 20th century and the influence that this is having on society and contemporary architectural thought.
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