Experiment and dialogue

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Each project always comes out from a narrative will and “since the stage of meta-project, volumes, surfaces and materials begin to interact, influencing inevitably the architectural composition” because declining the materials, according to Francesco Steccanella, means producing vibrations.

Born in 1971, architect, he works at the University of Udine and has a studio in Portogruaro where, with several collaborators, develops architecture projects, Interior design and renewal of public places. Francesco Steccanella describes his professional career and the way to do architecture certainly starting from the materials but never without narrative.

Let’s start with his professional career. It has inevitably influenced his way of doing architecture.

“I have worked for 7 years at the University of Venice filling and occupying myself with architectural composition; today as PhD student at University of Udine; I collaborate on the courses of design and technology. To me there is no composition without technology; I consider it essential for an architect not to be deficient in any of the two disciplines.
I tend to use the materials in a very agile way: metals, wood and stone materials decline unequivocally the volumetric and spatial composition of my work. It is not possible to me to conceive a project and then apply an indefinite cover; since the stage of meta-project, volumes, surfaces and materials begin to interact, defining the composition. Naturally, I try to deepen the very knowledge of materials, to use them properly and make them meaningful.”
In which of the projects that you have made there is the most obvious cardinal role of the materials?

“An example is the stand designed this year for the company Il Casone (Marmomacc).
I started from the desire of removing gravity from stone, making it lighter; so I thought of reducing it in small foils and compose a curtain. I wanted to show that with stone you can also build conventional partition walls as well as hanging light partitions, curtains that separate but do not close, rattles that work with the touch of a hand. Something like this, we find it in the shop Athos in Portogruaro: a C-shaped with a long corridor transformed in showcase, and spaces modified through wooden coating; strips stacked randomly with cut-lights between the one and the other, which spread in split-lines permeating all spaces. The result is a sort of visual “vibration”: the combination of irregular wood deforms the space depriving it from its hierarchy.

Thus, research and creativity characterizes his projects.
Even those for more traditional ambient, such as the residential or public spaces?

“At the beginning of each job, I spent a lot of time on the site, I absorb its instances combining them with my designing ideas. Each project can not only be generated by a volumetric idea, but also by dialoging with the context: it always comes out from a “narrative” intention. Plaza Matteotti,
Concordia Sagittaria, was a vital space for the urban vitality context and life; my intervention was meant to realize walls with the aim of separating the narrowing road while containing the peace of the town through pedestrian areas and gardens. The very same bank river, realized in Corten, wants to communicate with its rust-likeappearance the revenge of the water over the embankments.

Being a young architect, what does it mean today in Italy? and abroad?

“One of the problems, in Italy, is that, especially for public works, an architect can be chosen mostly because of political and entrepreneurial reasons, and less on the basis of an evaluation of real skills. Even though some remarkably exceptions still exist. So, this does not mean that good architecture can not be done, but it is essential to establish a constructive relationship with wise and open-minded customers. With the experience that I had abroad, I’ve been evaluated by customer comity that took into consideration my design concepts. This is the case of the refurbishing the National Library and the National Museum of Chad, and a project for a hotel in Corfu Greece.”


Laura Della Badia
“Careers and Professions”, February 2010