De Carlo 9401 23 13 04 02

Excerpt from a talk by Giancarlo de Carlo in 1994

Are you interested in the thoughts and ideas of the world’s great architects, to be found on  Pidgeon Digital (twitter @PidgeonDigital) at Here for example is the late Giancarlo de Carlo, talking  in 1994 about an unusual project in Catania:

But some months ago I just ended a project for a strange place which is called The Garden of Novices (the novices were the young friars, people who wanted to become monks). And in that garden — I re-made the garden — I made also a fountain, which is new in my curriculum. I never made a fountain before. I made also a ‘power station’ which is underneath the garden, just on top of the lava rock underneath the garden, so between the lava rock and the garden. And this was a challenge to me, first of all because the ‘power station’ was never a very important problem for architects, because in this case the inhabitants were some machines for heating, but also cables and so on. But I wanted to have a place where the machine could be, but at the same time a place where people could also have been. Just to see and perhaps make also meetings and perhaps make also exhibitions. Why not in a ‘power station’ to have all those things? I am against specialisation, against the specialisation of places. So this is why I consider that place with a lot of care. I worked on it very much. And now it’s a place where the people of Catania go and visit as if it were a temple and they’re very proud of that place.I had to make five chimneys in the garden from the power station. And so I made the chimneys very different from each other, and they were immediately called by the people working there “The Five Palladins”. The Palladins were in the tradition of puppets. They make in Sicily performances with puppets telling stories of the period of Charles Magnum, Charles the Great, and they gave them the names.

Illustration: Catania: University in Benedictine Monastery. 9204 23. Photo copyright © 1994 GIANCARLO DE CARLO.

The whole of this talk, which is entitled ARCHITECTURE AND HUMAN NEEDS,can be found via the archive at Pidgeon Digital (though you need to be a subscriber to access it – or you can purchase access to just this talk via Paypal).To get a full description of the PIDGEON DIGITAL website take a look at the latest Pidgeon Digital Newsletter or contact us here.