Introduction to the Architectures
of Salvatore Fiume
by Alberto Galardi, architect
Fiume's projects, to a certain extent paradoxical and utopian, originate from his wish to put forward a new and highly personal vision of architecture: an uninhibited vision deeply rooted in his world of images where architecture is conceived as a plastic/figurative art which could be a feasible alternative to the 'current' architectural conceptions.
Fiume's first projects date back to the early post-war years. Since then his architectural experimentation has been such a stimulating interest of his, that it could be said to represent one of the most important aspects of his work, at least in terms of pure invention. Yet, unlike the other forms of art to which he dedicated himself, Fiume's research in architecture remained almost completely unknown for many years. Until the early 1990s, in fact, his projects have only been published sporadically.
At first sight Fiume's architectures are literally astonishing because of their 'heretical' diversion from usually accepted canons, which makes them so difficult to read and interpret. A tentative definition of his enigmatic view might range between 'inhabitable sculpture' and 'sculptural architecture'.
With the exception of Spain's Gaudž, whose imaginative invention belongs to the same stream, Fiume's creations are unique in 20th Century production. Its characterizing elements are fantasy and imagination together with a reminiscence of classical culture which seems to be a major component in the symbolism of his figurative language.
Fiume's architectural sculptures have often the most fantastic and various shapes: anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, or even the shape of a huge orange or a gigantic pumpkin. Under his hands even capital letters have become architectures forming meaningful words within the urban framework.
His idea of architecture is much more concerned with plastic forms than it is with the organization of inner space.
In his inhabitable sculptures one can find quotations from an exotic world and from civilizations remote in time and space.
refusal of constructive conformance and of the general collapse of the fantastic component
in modern architecture is at the basis of his proposal.
The almost total lack of the imaginative element in the poetics of the Modern Movement is strikingly confirmed in the History of the Modern Movement from William Morris to Walter Gropius by Nikolaus Povsner where, unbelievable though it may be, Gaudž's works are completely ignored.
It is therefore in a rebellion to the cold time-serving attitude of today's architecture that Fiume came to the idea of an architecture full of invention and originality which could be defined as 'figurative' or 'mythological'.
So, not by chance did I mention a link between Gaudž's and Fiume's works. In fact, at the end of the 19th century Gaudž presented a revolutionary vision of architecture characterized by an imaginative approach afterwards described as "belonging somewhere between paleoscience and science fiction, between the distant past and the near future". But in those years, as Le Corbusier admitted during the 1928 CIAM Meeting in Barcelona, the time was not ripe for the importance of that architecture to be recognized. Likewise, I think the time is now ripe for Fiume's highly personal world of images to be fully understood.
In conclusion, I believe that Fiume's architectural proposal, whose most interesting aspects can be seen here, is an extremely original contribution to the present debate, principally focused on the search for new certainties and values, after the wreck of the now obsolete architecture of the recent past.
Copyright ©1998-2007, StudioSoft. All rights reserved.