Italian Architectural quality at the Venice Biennale of Architecture

The four seasons: from Adriano Olivetti to the Green Economy

by Malcolm Clark

Luca Zevi's Italian Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, in the exhibition spaces of the Arsenale, is developed through a story that combines culture and economy and, therefore, in a process that aims at creating a new pact between architecture and entrepreneurship to foster growth and innovation.

Zevi's curatorial project, called the “four seasons”, illustrates the research process expressed by Italian architecture from August 29 until November 25, building on the experience of Adriano Olivetti: with the eyes of future nostalgia the vision of the master of the late twentieth century is taken as a model for holding together architecture, economy and territory.

The exhibition path of the Pavilion is organized into a promenade of quality projects, which involves in particular the 2nd and 3rd season. The list of projects includes buildings constructed in the last fifteen years, focussing on the places, on people's lives and on the environment, and has been designed in five sections according to their intended use.

In the section Factory Architecture we can find architecture whose prevailing function is production, including Massimo Mariani Architetto's Cabel Industry plant, the FRIEM Headquarters by Onsitestudio and Geza - Gri e Zucchi Architetti Associati's New Pratic Headquarters.

The diffused Executive Centres section includes buildings with an executive, administrative or creative function, built outside the consolidated city. These include Studio piuarch's Bentini Headquarters, Archimede Solar Energy - New HQ by Maryfil architecture and Giorgia & Johns Spa offices by modostudio.

The Section Architecture in the agricultural landscape includes work related to food production with a strong link between architecture and rural areas, such as Cantina Tramin by Werner Tscholl, Carapace Winery by Arnaldo Pomodoro or Cantina Colterenzio by Bergmeisterwolf Architekten.

The Section Recovery and Conversion includes the redevelopment of abandoned industrial facilities or abandoned old towns with a productive vocation: these include Dante Benini's Vodafone Italia Headquarters, Oriano Associati Architetti's Albergo Diffuso S. Stefano di Sessanio and UP3 ARCHITETTI ASSOCIATI's DOCKS - Scientific Park in Venice.

The review is completed with the Densifications section which concerns the technological parks for research and experimentation, including Pierpaolo Ricatti's Diesel Headquarters, CZA - Cino Zucchi Architetti's Salewa Headquarters and Marco Visconti's Meccanica Ferrari workshop plant.

The fourth and final season, that of reMade in Italy, addresses the guidelines of the Green Economy in view of Expo 2015, which will bring the issues of feeding the world, the sustainable community and work aimed in this direction to the general attention.

The Giardino delle Vergini hosts Italia Riciclata (Recycled Italy), the work of Michelangelo Pistoletto, which aims at becoming a metaphor of a physical place that is the centre of the meetings and the energies of the designers.


    Italian Pavilion - Le Quattro Stagioni

    Venice / Italy / 2012


    Cabel Industry

    Empoli / Italy / 2008


    FRIEM Headquarter

    Segrate / Italy / 2010



    Fagagna / Italy / 2011


    Bentini Headquarters

    Faenza / Italy / 2011


    Archimede Solar Energy_New HQ_LEAF AWARDS 2012_Best Sustainable Development

    Massa Martana / Italy / 2013


    Giorgia & Johns Spa Uffici e Centro Logistico

    Nola / Italy / 2011


    Cantina Tramin

    Termeno / Italy / 2010


    Carapace Winery

    Bevagna / Italy / 2012


    wine lives

    Cornaiano / Italy / 2011


    Vodafone Italia

    Rome / Italy / 2008


    Sextantio Albergo Diffuso S. Stefano di Sessanio

    S. Stefano di Sessanio / Italy / 2005


    DOCKS - Parco Scientifico e Tecnologico Venezia

    Marghera Venezia / Italy / 2012


    Diesel Headquarters

    Breganze / Italy / 2010


    Salewa Headquarters

    Bolzano / Italy / 2011


    Meccanica Ferrari

    Maranello / Italy / 2002


    L'Italia Riciclata

    Venice / Italy / 2012