Isozaki lodge, architects write to minister: giving up brings Italy into disrepute

Harsh letter to Culture Minister Sangiuliano and Undersecretary Sgarbi from the Order of Architects of Florence, who object to the renunciation of Isozaki's Loggia at the Uffizi and the way in which the affair is going. According to the architects, all this brings Italy into disrepute.

The Florence Order of Architects expresses all its disappointment over the abandonment of Isozaki’s Loggia, the monumental exit that was supposed to complete the Uffizi: however, the project was definitively sent to the attic just over a month ago with the no of the Superior Council of Cultural Heritage, despite the fact that it was an affair that had been dragging on since 1998, that is, since the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki (who has since passed away) had won the competition for the Uffizi exit announced by the Ministry itself.

The Florentine architects sent a letter, by certified e-mail, addressed to Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano and Undersecretary for Culture Vittorio Sgarbi to “express extreme concern about the recent decision not to proceed with the construction of the Isozaki loggia.” The letter, signed by the president of the Florence Order of Architects Andrea Crociani, was signed by 94 orders out of a total of 105, as well as the Florence Architects Foundation and the Michelucci Foundation.

“This decision,” the missive reads, “has deeply surprised and concerned us, as it cancels the outcomes of a competition procedure, throwing discredit not only on Italy’s reputation, but also on the instrument of the competition-universally recognized as the most appropriate mode for the design and realization of public works-and whose outcome cannot be questioned downstream of the procedure, based on absolutely subjective and discretionary evaluations. In fact, we are not aware that there have been any communications in this regard, aimed, in particular, at explaining the reasons for the annulment, the conditions that led to this decision and the reasons why a new competition procedure was not undertaken, as the conditions of validity of the project that resulted as the winner of the international competition no longer exist.”

In the letter, the architects address a number of questions to Sangiuliano and Sgarbi: for example, the professionals ask whether “the conditions that had, at the time, determined the need to launch an international competition, inviting architects of recognized fame, for the realization of the new exit of the Uffizi in Piazza del Grano have changed? If so, in what direction? What factors contributed?” And again, “In recent days, images have been published regarding a new solution for the Uffizi exit in Piazza del Grano. Do these images represent actual design assumptions currently under consideration by the relevant agencies? If so, who is or are the designers of this new solution?”

“We would like to understand why it was not deemed appropriate, after canceling the outcome of an international competition, to proceed with a new competition,” the architects conclude. “The Order of Florence therefore hopes that the competition procedure can become an ordinary procedure in the future in the governance of urban transformations and public works,” and is willing “to actively collaborate to ensure that the design of the new solution for the Uffizi exit is carried out in accordance with the best practices and cultural interests of our country.”

Isozaki lodge, architects write to minister: giving up brings Italy into disrepute
Isozaki lodge, architects write to minister: giving up brings Italy into disrepute

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