PIRAEUS HOUSING BLOCK AMSTERDAM
Photo essay by Mario Ferrara
Text by Giovanni Menna, historian of contemporary architecture
THE LOOK, THE STONE, THE MEN
The work that Mario Ferrara has conducted on this building by Kollhoff and Rapp in Amsterdam is the result of an artist meeting an artwork signed by masters of architecture of our time. More precisely: it is a story, in the form of a path of knowledge, through a progressive "approach" to architecture. This path observes the work first from the city and then proceeds from the representation of its relationship with the space of which it is a part, and reaches its close contact and then its crossing, up to the point where the city itself is seen through that architecture. The collection of images presented here is, certainly, a personal evidence filtered by the delicacy and depth of the artist's personal eye, but it is also a precious document for everyone, since this true immersion in the architecture by Kollhoff and Rapp also reveals the way it confronts reality after more than a quarter of a century from its realization. This is possible because in Ferrara's work the architect's mindset - who knows well the birth and the life of a building - enriches the sensitivity of the photographer. In other words, the look at architecture’s things increases with the added value of that depth of meaning that comes from the awareness and full understanding of the choices and ways that the architecture uses to move from the immaterial domain of pure thought, and then of the project, to the physical, tectonic, material dimension. However, it is not a question of the pure representation of an object to be shown in its only nature as a material object and to be “isolated”, suspended in the perfection of its formal quality. What Ferrara wants and can tell are the complex experiential relationships that architecture - every architecture - always establishes with the time, which releases traces of its flow on the bones and skin of a building and with the life of those who live there, verifying the real ability that architecture has to best shape the world where people live or work and, possibly, to make it even more beautiful.