Projects

State Middle School "Luigi Lombardi" - Bari

Institutional Street Art

In the southern Italian city of Bari, the use of "legally approved" Italian graffiti on a library façade provides an example of student participation in the creation of a shared identity between teachers and pupils
Author
Carlo Paganelli
Photos
Alberto Novelli
Architect
Massimo Ciuffini, Ketty Di Tardo, Alberto Iacovoni, Luca La Torre (ma0/emmeazero studio d'architettura)
Surfaces
VOGUE
Year of completion
2004

The project to expand the «Luigi Lombardi» Italian State Middle School involved creating a structure with new spaces that would be accessible even outside school hours.
A new centre consisting of a library and several classrooms for cultural activities, it is a unique feature in the urban context both for its function of social and cultural aggregation and for its strong visual impact on the urban surroundings. It is a new facility that opens out onto the city in a neighbourhood where there is growing demand for social spaces where it is possible to transmit and share values and pursue leisure activities as a growth opportunity not only for the younger generation but also for users of different ages and social and cultural backgrounds. The project to create a structure within the school set in motion a series of initiatives aiming to actively engage students’ creativity. For this purpose, a competition was launched to select images to adorn the library façade.
An initial selection of the most interesting proposals resulted in a choice of ten projects. The students subsequently took part in a photography workshop organised with the support of the school and the cooperation of cultural consultants and a number of professionals.
Directed by Simone Muscolino from Id-Lab, the workshop had the twin goals of teaching students digital photography techniques and electronic image processing methods. One crucially importance aspect was the focus on the concept of pixelisation, the creative use of the basic «atom» that makes up the digital component of an electronic image. The ultimate objective of the workshop was to make a final selection of the most representative images to be superimposed over the ceramic façade cladding. The end result is an astonishing large-scale mosaic of extraordinary communicative power. Consisting of portraits made with different modes of expression, it is a collective work that demonstrates how more than three decades of graffiti writing have helped to remould the relationship between art and architecture as a form of urban communication. The fact that an institution can use forms of expression such as graffiti as a teaching experience demonstrate just how much times have changed. The multicoloured façade consisting of portraits mounted on an orthogonal grid of hundreds of 20×20 cm tiles pays tribute to digital technology by reinterpreting pixels in a pictorial vein. And it is a sign of the times that certain forms of expression initially considered illegal and linked to metropolitan sub-cultures end up gracing institutional structures charged with the complex task of educating the younger generations.

Tiles
Ceramica Vogue, Interni series
Type
single firing
Sizes
20x20 cm
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 2,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GB min.
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >40 N/mm2
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
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