Entropy


September 18th, 2009

Entropy

I thought it fitting to offer this building example with our economy in a current state of recession. The San Petronio Basilica in Bologna, Italy offers a real world example of a building project that ran “dry”. The basilica ran out of funding towards the end of construction leaving, as you can see, the façade only partially complete. The stone cladding stops abruptly, with the structural brick walls behind exposed for the majority of the building. As we explored around either side of the church, we quickly discovered the exterior wasn’t the only feature missing. Apparently the notice that the money was gone came in right about the time the side wings were being built. The side alleys now reveal corners literally cut off, still in construction process as it was many centuries before. They did however brick up the walls where the wing ends.Although, not what the Architect envisioned and designed, the juxtaposition between the highly ornate, refined stone work and the simple, rough brick creates a very unique façade. Particularly in the realm of Italian basilicas. Unintentionally the building starts an interesting conversation about the idea of ornamentation in architecture. It seems to be pulling back its fancy robe, saying “See, underneath this fancy stone I’m really just this ordinary brick. This is what is true”. The side wing cut off in mid air recalls the work of Gordon Matta-Clark and his “de-construction” of buildings. There is certainly an uneasy tension when viewing the incompleteness. You get an x-ray slice through the building, bones sticking out and all.