House and Site

From Firenze University Press Book

University of Florence
2 min readMay 24, 2020

Edited by: Eleonora Mantese, University of Venice Iuav

Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Usonian Automatic House

In this accurate and finely selected collection of articles the ‘site’ enters the scene in quite an unusual and a lot more stimulating way than it usually happens; this happens, as I shall demonstrate, thanks to the quality of the critical contributes and thanks to the peculiarity of the chosen object: a short and extremely selected series of auteur houses, more or less isolated in the landscape.

To be honest the word «site» is overused by architects. We use it in a conventional and almost ritual way, often in order to justify the environmental features of our project, of its structure, of its based logic, of its form and materials.

Sometimes we use it, in a more cultured way (more academic), we try to analyze it with phenomenology: therefore, depending on the case we focus upon the city, its fabric, its history, the typologies or, in our case, the orography, the pedology, the geology, the weather, the sun, the light, the visuals, the emergencies, the skylines, or better the building traditions, the colors, the heritage, the archetypes, the spirit ecc.

This is the starting point of the well known flourishing of attempts to analyze and order, or even to structure into a method the fleeing relationships and the mysterious compatibilities, or even the marvelous synergies that effectively take place, sometimes and thus only God knows how, between an architectural object and all (or some) of these aspects of the real world.

In fact each reasoning we attempt upon an edifice and its context tends commonly to focus upon an origin: the site, understood as a physical and geographical fact.

In other words we start from here, from what is around, from what we can see from here and from where what is here is seen; therefore we start from spatial, historical, sentimental, mental and metaphorical connections that are perceived from here and some other point in the world, more or less near in space and time.

This focusing upon a point, might appear as being not only necessary but also obvious, if this book would not exist to demonstrate us that this is not always the case: the landscape and the site sometimes are also somewhere else and a lot more far away: for example in the architect’s mind (‘the site is elsewhere’ and here I happily quote, partially misinterpreting it, the title of Carlotta Torricelli’s article).

DOI: 10.36253/978–88–6655–581–0

Read full text:



University of Florence

The University of Florence is an important and influential centre for research and higher training in Italy