Archtober24: Details

October is National Architecture Month, also known in some circles as Archtober. To commemorate the month, I am going to post a brief post every day of the month.

Details, in architecture, usually refers to how the parts of the building are assembled. There are many details in a building. Buildings are nothing but the artful assembly of materials into places in light…. Something like that.

One of the absolute masters of the Modern detail was the Italian architect, Carlo Scarpa. Scarpa practiced primarily in Venice from the 1920s until his death in 1978. We can learn much from studying Scarpa’s buildings, not the least of which is how to bring art into the assembly of materials.

The above is a view of an assembly of parts cladding a wall. The travertine marble is beautiful, it is pared with brass inserts, which cover a chase where electrical wiring runs, and the glass which covers lighting.

The image above is at a museum built into an historic palace. The new floors are lifted up and edged in metal and stone. They are also pulled away from the walls, making it clear that the floor is new.

The stair above is in the Venice Olivetti show room. It is a symphony of beautiful details. The way the stair treads are manipulated and extended to act as curbs, tables, and seats; the way the wood ceiling is trimmed at it’s edges; the way the plaster wall panels are separated by wood inserts; the use of the same wood inserts at the corners of the plaster walls to act as corner guards; all of it beautiful and functional.

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