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Exhibition: Small Utopias – Italian architecture of the third millennium between history, research and innovation

The Italian Institute of Culture, in collaboration with MAXXI – Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo and the Irish Architectural Archive, are pleased to present Small Utopias, an exhibition on the “new” Italian architecture curated and designed by MAXXI Architettura.

The exhibition combines the research of the best Italian architectural energies along three parallel directions: the authors, the project, the themes. Identifying buildings or projects already realized, so as to cast light not just on the aptitude to imagine bold and convincing architectural solutions, but also the capacity to make space become real and inhabited, without the building having to lose out in terms of integrity and beauty during the transition.

The themes that supported the selection of projects and buildings to be showcased in the exhibition are many. The first, found most often in the exhibition, is the one known as recycling, in its many expressions of reuse/restructuring/reconstruction and even restoration, not only considered as a civil necessity in an overbuilt country full of buildings that need to be recovered, but also as a creative, stimulating and productive device. Another recurring theme in the exhibition is that of inhabiting a place, in its various forms.

The exhibit includes a new (ecologic) idea of “residential complexes”, single family houses, and studio-houses, that witness a brief yet significant research on spaces and lifestyles of the “third millennium”, always mindful of that Italian predisposition for the “city”. A few projects deal with the theme of museums and architecture “for” or “ suited to” exhibiting and displaying, suspended between art, installation, construction, landscape, and design. The interesting impression from this series of projects is that the combination architecture/museum can give, today and in the future, a vital contribution to a new idea of welfare, fuelled by the strong and non-speculative role of private partners.

The ten authors chosen for this exhibition are the tip of the iceberg that represent a widespread ferment which can allow for a glimmer of optimism, reminding us of some of the features of Italian architecture that had been forgotten and seem to be especially suited to our day and age: first and foremost, its natural tendency to hold together memory and future, the regeneration of what already exists and the allure of the new.


The exhibition is hosted by the Irish Architectural Archive.

Sponsored by Darta Saving Life Assurance and Allianz Global Life.

Opening night: Thursday 6th September, 6pm, Irish Architectural Archive, 45 Merrion Square East, D2. Free admission, RSVP Anne Henderson: / 01 6633040.

The exhibition will be opened by Pippo Ciorra, Senior Curator of MAXXI Architettura. Pippo Ciorra will also give a lecture at the IAA on 7th September at 1.15pm.

Opening times: Tuesday to Friday 10am-5pm