A Taste for the Past: Pier Carlo Bontempi

 

WTTW host Geoffrey Baer (left) with architect Pier Carlo Bontempi in Parma, Italy.

WTTW host Geoffrey Baer (left) with architect Pier Carlo Bontempi in Parma, Italy.

Photo Credit: Mauro Davoli

From one perspective, the past 100 years of architecture were about progress. Old building forms naturally gave way to new ideas, styles, and methods; communities evolved and changed. Italian architect Pier Carlo Bontempi challenges that thinking. From his viewpoint, as steel, glass, and concrete displaced stone and brick, and as tall towers rose where homes and low-rise business districts once sat, we lost something. All that progress also brought destruction: of aesthetics, of craftsmanship, of building methods, and even of ways of living.

 

Bontempi takes cues from the traditional architecture of his native Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. Bontempi takes cues from the traditional architecture of his native Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy.

Bontempi seeks to elevate the traditional. His work takes its cues from the centuries-old architecture of his native Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy, where the piazza is the public living room. He creates buildings that are so seamlessly integrated into their historic surroundings that you might not even notice they are new.

Travel with us to Italy and France to learn how Bontempi is bringing new life to “vernacular architecture” – the traditional homes, businesses, and public spaces that make for a gracious life.

You might not recognize Bontempi’s buildings as newly constructed. You might not recognize Bontempi’s buildings as newly constructed.

Watch the special and explore Pier Carlo Bontempi’s work and life.

window to the world