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urface as symbol, volume as sense, Perrault’s architecture owes a lot to Mies van der Rohe, but the contrary is also true. The Innsbruck Town Hall can in fact be seen as an evolution in Miesian experimentation. Mies’s stylistic precision is still apparent, to which Perrault has added a touch of ironic transgression with its subtle allusions and semantic ambiguity: the façades are designed like geometric landscapes, optical illusions in which the design of the locks dissimulates the structural system. The visual absence of such a fundamental element in the building syntax turns into a presence-absence that begs reflection. The disconcerting presence of contradictory symbols (because they are ignored by orthodox architecture) paves the way for a new perceptual approach. Innsbruck Town Hall relates to its surroundings through de-structured surfaces, which almost deny their own architectural nature, and play on the illusion of a technological trompe l’oeil that unites the various volumes through reflections, transparency and light. The most striking innovation in the use of uncommon materials is found in the façade design and its sunscreens. These sunscreens are panels of metal mesh fitted on frames placed at variable distance from the surfaces they protect. Beyond serving as a protective screen, the metal mesh creates unique glittering effects depending on the angle of the sun’s rays. And at night, they filter the light, which create myriad phantasmagorical shimmering reflections. In these new materials it is impossible not to see a new style of curtain to be placed not inside, but outside the building, fulfilling a double function by protecting the internal environment and serving as a technological skin. The administration building is part of a complex comprised of a shopping mall and hotel. This complex redefines one side of a square in the old city center. The insertion of the new complex in the historical context of the Austrian city therefore plays a primary role. Rather than clashing with its surroundings, the distinctly contemporary nature of the project emphasizes its urban characteristics. The city is a place in which the stratification of architecture from different periods illustrates the passing of time. The different buildings are interconnected by a covered pedestrian passageway that links the various public functions, revitalizing the urban setting which is characterized by the multiplicity of activities and the multiplication of reasons to meet. In this recent creation, Perrault once again focuses on lightness, absence of gravity and a powerful allusion to non-existent architecture, favoring empty spaces rather than solid matter, creating an architecture that is designed to frame rather than fill space. Mies’s famous saying that “less is more” seems to take a new turn towards the development of a an idiom which, by removing matter and volume, exalts the emotional potential of surface as a metaphor for unattainable infinity, but that is worth evoking as a symbol of creative freedom and of belonging to that imaginary world prefigured by Edwin A. Abbott in his book Flatland: “And yet I continue to exist in the hope that these memories of mine may reach the human mind and give birth to a race of rebels unwilling to let themselves be confined to a limited dimensionality.”

Le facciate dell’hotel, che definisce un lato della piazza rapportandosi con gli edifici esistenti.

The hotel facades marking one side of the square and interacting with the old buildings

arcVision 9  

Un approfondimento sul concetto di limite. Da un lato la propensione tutta umana a superare ogni confine attraverso uno sviluppo continuo de...

arcVision 9  

Un approfondimento sul concetto di limite. Da un lato la propensione tutta umana a superare ogni confine attraverso uno sviluppo continuo de...

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