Carlo Scarpa (in Richard Murphy’s Lecture)


Here are some of the notes from the lecture

  • Scarpa
    • Gave William Morris’ texts material
    • Scarpa is not an architect in training
    • His work (museum) was built over a very long time – a lot of attention to detail and material
    • He is a craftsman in terms of building, not a Modern architect
  • Venice’s buildings
    • Decay from the bottom up (not just from the top down)
    • Water against brickwork
    • Venetian solution: constantly stucco the buildings
    • Where one can see the traces of the various decades of stucco
    • Stucco is also a way of preserving the bricks
  • Scarpa draws attention to historical details that you have not noticed before
    • Geology – addiditive and subtractive (layering, erosion)
    • Have a material and then show you what it is made of by excavating into it by using niches
  • Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice
    • Delicacy of the handrail, the brass detail
    • Mosaic or terrazzo floor – to be flexible and damp proof
    • Details used to accentuate water entering into the building and the floating of materials
    • Winter: high tide in the morning (9am)
    • Entrance staircase is like stepping into a gondola
    • Lines the joints in gold to elaborate
    • Surface and syncopation
      • No measurement is the same as the neighbour
      • All elements are different
      • It is more interesting to have syncopations in the rhythms rather than a regular one
    • Relined damaged staircase – see the thinness of the new cover
  • Palazzo Abatellis
    • Thin layer of stucco peeled against the windows
    • Museum and leading people into the space
    • Statues and their orientation as a way to bring people into the space


  • Castelvecchio Museum, Verona
    • Pulls apart the building to show you where it had been before (4 layers of history)
    • Sound of water as a way to direct people
    • Small changes of level in the hedges – showing the passage of time
    • Eat up at the corners of the buildings to suggest that the walls are made up of laminates and planes (although they are solid)
    • Making a series of entrances to see the river at the back of the building
      • Progressive planes going back into the building
      • Taking a notch out of the fabric
      • Surface quality of the wall taking away from the actual wall like qualities of the way
      • Wall becomes a very precarious thin object
    • Materials become water
      • Floors flow into the water
      • Syncopation = time
      • Moments
    • Cutting the Napolean wall from the outside
      • You can actually see the thickness of the wall
    • Experiencing the thickness of the wall = time

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