Livio Vacchini and the Problem of the Corner

Tutkimustuotos: Artikkeli kirjassa/konferenssijulkaisussaKonferenssiesitysScientificvertaisarvioitu


“There exists no natural form [in architecture]. Like every product of culture, form is the result of logical operations that are based on the application of principles and rules.” This tenet marked the starting point of the design thinking of the architect Livio Vacchini (1933-2007). For him, a building always had to be the visible outcome of a mental endeavor, of an aspiration for order. An order that find its expression in the structure of the building. For Vacchini, the notion of structure referred at once to mental conception as well as to build reality because “the idea of a building cannot be separated from the idea of its construction. It is impossible to design a form other than by technics. This means there is a correlation between form and the underlying construction.” Vacchini’s design thinking, therefore, can be understood as an active dialogue between architecture and structural engineering. A dialogue in which technical developments enable a constant re-evaluation of recurring problems in architectural design.
In this paper, Vacchini’s interdisciplinary approach is explored in more detail especially with respect to the classical problem of the corner. It is argued that this historic challenge of articulation of the intersection of two planes, which has its origin in the Greek Doric temple, transforms within Vacchini’s design process into the problem of redirection of forces from the horizontal into the vertical. Over the course of a series of projects – starting with Vacchini’s own office in Locarno from 1985, over the Gymnasium in Losone from 1997, up to his final project, the Sports Center Mülimatt in Brugg/Windisch completed after his death in 2010 – it can be observed how the struggle in dealing with the “contradiction and complementarity” inherent to the corner problem results in the dissolution of building elements within Vacchini’s architecture. Through a closer reading of the technical drawings it is argued within the paper that this transformation of the formal language is based on a step-by-step incorporation of the mechanism of action of reinforced concrete into the design process.
TilaJulkaistu - syysk. 2017
TapahtumaInternational Association for Shell and Spatial Structures: Interfaces: Architecture.Engineering.Science - HafenCity University, Hamburg, Saksa
Kesto: 25 elok. 201728 elok. 2017


ConferenceInternational Association for Shell and Spatial Structures


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