Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Carlo Scarpa, Quilter

My family spent spring break in Venice, along with an international crowd of vacationers. It seems impossible to say anything about Venice that hasn’t been said before (and in fact, the center city seemed like an excellent example of cupcake urbanism, all masks and gelaterie and Bellinis) but because of the glories of Carlo Scarpa, I’m going to try.

I finally had the opportunity  to visit three of Italian modernist architect Scarpa‘s major works in Venice: the Olivetti showroom of 1957-58, the Querini Stampalia Foundation of 1961-63, and the Museo Correr of 1957-60. About ten years ago, my husband and I drove around the Veneto in search of Scarpa and Palladio, so this was the completion of a very worthwhile architectural quest. What wasn’t clear to me when we saw Scarpa’s other works, including the Brion Family Cemetery and the sublime Castelvecchio Museum in Verona, was how influenced Scarpa was by Venice’s peculiar approach to architecture, and how the quirks of his practice – his appreciation for relics, his asymmetric and textured approach to facades, the intricacy and gleam of his detailing – are a 20th-century reaction to that particularity.