The XfafX and its antecedent (Xfaf)

March 19, 2011

The Decennial of foundation
Officially presenting XfafX, the cultural project linked to the celebrations of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Faculty of Architecture of Ferrara, we’d like to reconnect it – in a sense of continuity and evolution- to its successful antecedent represented by the Decennial Foundation Xfaf, cultural initiative, planned by Graziano Trippa, Alfonso Acocella, Gabriele Lelli, Theo Zaffagnini. We think that giving back, in these pages, a synthesis of the X concept, of the most significant events and contents of Xfaf – performed along the whole 2003 – might be useful in joining past and present, also offering a chance to continue and accelerate the launched cultural project kept alive in this last decade by a continued string of events, lectio magistralis, honorary degrees, International lectures until the presence of Daniel Libeskind in June 2010.
The Tenth Anniversary of Foundation assigned to the mark X its own communicative, strategic and reverberant message: a yellow painted X, in homage to the institutional colour of the Faculty of Architecture of the Ferrara University.
Perhaps it might be interesting to retrace the motivations and the semantic ambivalence assigned to the X of Xfaf.
In primis there is the merely numeric meaning. The letter X, already present in the alphabets of Greece and Magna Grecia, was received and absorbed in the Rome’s script, where, declined in capital, it indicates the number ten. Probably it represents a connection of the vertices of two V. The sign V identifies the number five.
Therefore X as a temporalized icon symbol of the Tenth Anniversary of the first two quinquenniums of life and intense activity of the Faculty of Architecture of Ferrara (1991-2001).

There is another way to approach the sign X, reaching it from a conceptual, programmatic and strategic point of view.
Referring to the specific morphological features of the letter X – which crosses two linear stems, obliquely placed in a clear function of mutual support – it is possible to note how these geometrical elements overlap each other, reciprocally supporting.
Here it starts the basic idea which has accompanied the cultural project Xfaf, where the X has gradually taken the explicit meaning of “cross”, of intersection as a dynamic action, focused to overtake the sectorial limits of the closed and self-referential world of university.
A few structural components of the Xfaf project have interlinked – twice – in different directions.
On the one hand the thematic focus of Project and Construction and the connected real events (marked by the presence of the big contemporary architects) intersected with uncommon narrative virtual operations, reflected on the web, in an innovative vision of institutional communication.
On the other hand the university project of Xfaf interlinked with the civic, regional, national institutions, and, moreover, with the private productive companies, which hold those economic resources, essential to fulfil the project itself through an institutional action of fund raising.
In brief, a X concept of cross fertilization, aimed to rethink the role of the university and of the Faculty of Architecture in Ferrara, specifically focusing on an interchange, a sharing of intellectual, planning, economical resources, with the most dynamic productive sector of the country, invited to an investment policy for the culture and to a vision of social responsability.

The Xfaf theme. Project and Construction
The main asset of the cultural initiatives of Xfaf turned around the disciplinary theme of Project and Construction in Architecture. This choice should be linked to the identity of the formative course, promoted by the faculty of Ferrara, joined, since the beginning, to the figure of the designer, who, traditionally, reassumes the artistic talent of the devising, connected to the role of director and responsible of the building’s quality.
From this basic thesis – set as the root of the cultural growth of the Faculty of Architecture of Ferrara – arose the central idea of promoting a wide discipilinary debate, inviting well-known architects of the international scenery; leading figures sensitive to the project.
Examining the contemporary statute of the discipline, within the international trends, the Faculty of Architecture of Ferrara aims to open to Europe and the whole world, avoiding to retreat in a restricted cultural area.
In this international view, a large interest about Peter Zumthor and his work as a designer underlined the centrality of this figure, elected as a disciplinary reference.
At the end of a debate developed inside the scientific community of the Faculty, the idea of a Honoris Causa Degree to Peter Zumthor appeared like an opportunity to give emblematic value to the Tenth Anniversary.
An important message has been set in this award, indicating to the young generations a severe, demanding poetic Master, able to interpret the special values of architecture (the real essence of this discipline), able to produce suggestions “written” by the corporeity of the material, able to direct the act of building as a control of the work.
The Laurea Honoris Causa to Peter Zumthor has been given at the conclusion of the Decennial of the Faculty of Architecture of Ferrara in december 2003.
There was a wide pannel of international personalities invited at the Xfaf; a large official adhesion to the project by international architects; numerous and highly qualified Lectio Magistralis, held in the Faculty with a vast audience and press.

Later on the invited protagonists; underlined the adesions (until February 2003)
Abalos - Herreros / Adjaye Associates / Aires Mateus & Associados / Stan Allen / Mariano Arana Sancez / Wiel Arets / Shigeru Ban / Baumschlager & Eberle / Jordi Bellmunt / Mario Botta / Paolo Burgi / Alberto Campo Baeza / Massimo Carmassi / Francesco Cellini / David Chipperfield / Claus en Kaan / Coop Himmelb(l)au / Dalnoky & Desvigne / Claudio D’Amato Guerrieri / Giancarlo De Carlo / Derrick De Kerckhove / Delugan Meissl Architects / Georges Descombes / Diller & Scofidio / Peter Eisemann / Carlos Ferrater / Foreign Offices Architects / Foster & Partners / Massimiliano Fuksas / Future System / Frank O. Gery / Gigon & Guyer / Cristophe Girot / Giorgio Grassi / Thomas Herzog / Herzog & De Meuron / Michael Hopkins / Steve Holl / Toyo Ito / Bernard Khoury / Waro Kishi / Mathias Klotz / Hans Kolloff / Kengo Kuma / Locaton & Vassal / Eusebio Leal Spenglel / Jaime Lerner / Daniel Libeskind / Greg Lynn / Angelo Mangiarotti / Mansilla & Tunon / Mecanoo / William J. Michell / Rafael Moneo / Glenn Murcutt / MVRDV / Adolfo Natalini / Pier Luigi Nicolin / Jean Nouvel / Nox Architects / OMA / Ortner & Ortner / Alfredo Payà / Jhon Pawson / Gilles Perraudin / Dominique Perrault / Renzo Piano Building Workshop / Boris Podrecca / Nino Portas / Paolo Portoghesi / Franco Purini / RCR Aranda Pigem Vilalta / Riegler Riewe Architects / Sancho-Madridejos / Sauerbruch Hutton Architects / Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa / Claudio Silvestrin / Alvaro Siza / Eduardo Souto De Moura / Mauro Staccioli / Studio Azzurro / Stephan Tischer / Bernard Tschumi / Van Berkel & Bos / Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra / Francesco Venezia / Viaplana & Pinon / West 8 / Riken Yamamoto / Franco Zagari / Peter Zumthor.

Lectio magistralis Xfaf (2003)

Contesto Baumschlager & Eberle
28 March 2003
presentation: Andrea Rinaldi
critic: Giovanni Leoni

Ordine Hans Kollhoff
28 March 2003
presentation: Nicola Marzot
critic: Alfonso Acocella

Blobs Greg Lynn
10 april 2003
presentation: Gabriele Lelli
critic: Antonino Saggio

Continuità Michael Hopkins
10 april 2003
presentation: Theo Zaffagnini
critic: Cristina Donati, Alfonso Acocella

Materia Shigeru Ban
9 may 2003
presentation: Gabriele Lelli
critic: Alfredo Zappa

Trame Kengo Kuma
21 may 2003
presentation: Giovanni Corbellini
critic: Alessandro Rocca

Sostenibile Thomas Herzog
11 june 2003
presentation: Michele Ghirardelli
critic: Mario Cucinella

Prossimo Future Systems
13 june 2003
presentation: Antonello Stella
critic: Luigi Prestinenza Puglisi

Solido Eduardo Souto de Moura
19 september 2003
presentation: Theo Zaffagnini
critic: Giovanni Leoni

Colore Sauerbruch & Hutton
31 october 2003
presentation: Gabriele Lelli
critic: Luca Molinari

Superfici Aires Mateus & Associados
07 november 2003
presentation: Alessandro Gaiani
critic: Alfonso Acocella

Contrasti Mecanoo
18 november 2003
Enzo Mularoni
Sebastiano Brandolini
Pietro Valle

Neutro Dominique Perrault
19 november 2003
presentation: Theo Zaffagnini
critic: Enrico Morteo

La magia della realtà Peter Zumthor
10 december 2003
presentation: Graziano Trippa
critic: Gabriele Lelli

Peter Zumthor
Lectio Doctoralis in the Rectory Auditorium
10 december2003
Laurea Honoris causa a Peter Zumthor
Awarding: Francesco Conconi Rettore

By Alfonso Acocella

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MD Material Design
ISSN 2239-6063

edited by
Alfonso Acocella