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As the Pirelli Factory Company during the seventies moved their production
out of Milan huge areas were released for urban development.
In 1986 Herman Hertzberger submitted a proposal to the Urban Redevelop
Plan for Bicocca-Pirelli (fig. II,IV)
Hertzbergers proposal consisted of a series of towers that was formerly interrelated
and organised in a firm grid structure. All towers were geometrically
“carved” out of the same “standard block” and hereby forming an integral composition
(fig. I,III)
With the competition entry Hertzberger followed the structuralist trade of his
office. However as probably only known to few Hertzberger was also strongly
inspired by the juxtaposition of objects as seen in the works of the Italian painter
Giorgio Morandi. Specifically He was in search of the space in-between in
Morandis works (fig. V)
To make a long story short Hertzberger never won the competition, but still
today the entry remains as an important example of urban planning approached
in a structuralist way.
Ever since the project has come to my attention the distinctive geometric
expression deriving from simple cuts of a “standard block” has been of great
inspiration. Likewise the strong spatial identity of the spaces occurring as the
units are organised in the firm grid. Mass and void coexist inevitably and can
be sculpted simultaneously.
The project consists of nine timber blocks in solid oak. Each block measures
450x450x2100mm and is proportionally subdivided horizontally and vertically.
Horizontally the subdivision is in 1:5 and vertically in 1:4. Within the subdivision
all possible forms are investigated.
The blocks are organised in a grid formation. The presented formation is one
out of 362880 possible (9x8x7x6x5x4x3x2x1).
As the nine units are to be encountered both visually and tactically by the visitors
the sur¬face quality is of the utmost importance. Thus it is the aim to create
a surface character that on one hand is tactically appealing and one the other
is able to balance the character of the surface with the overall impression of the
form. This is attempted by crafting the timber blocks using traditional carving
tools for wood,- herby introducing irregularity to the texture.
Translated title of the contributionHYLDEST TIL HERTZBERGER: KATALOG
Original languageEnglish
Publication date1 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016
EventHOMAGE A HERTZBERGER - Arkitektskolen Aarhus, Udstillingsbygningen/Nørreport 20 , Denmark
Duration: 3 Oct 201631 Aug 2017


LocationArkitektskolen Aarhus, Udstillingsbygningen/Nørreport 20


  • Wood
  • Sculpture

Artistic research

  • Yes

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