Book: Carlo Scarpa. Zentner house in Zurich: an Italian villa in Switzerland

Carlo Scarpa. Casa Zentner a Zurigo: una villa italiana in Svizzera [Carlo Scarpa. Zentner house in Zurich: an Italian villa in Switzerland]
By Davide Fornari, Roberta Martinis and Giacinta Jean, published by Electa, 2020

“The volume, published for Electa architecture, illustrates and documents the ‘micro-history’ of Casa Zentner in Zurich, the only building built by Carlo Scarpa outside Italy.

Casa Zentner was conceived and built between 1963 and 1969 for Savina and René Zentner. Savina Rizzi, architecture superintendent and art collector, is among the most assiduous patrons of Carlo Scarpa since the 1950s. After following Frank Lloyd Wright’s project for the palace on the Grand Canal in Venice at a very young age, requested by the architect Angelo Masieri, her first husband who died prematurely, Savina will entrust Scarpa with various tasks including, in 1953-1954, the arrangement of an apartment and a tomb, both in Udine, and in 1968 the renovation of the Masieri Foundation in Venice. Meanwhile, later having moved to Zurich in 1954, Savina and Zentner will commission Carlo Scarpa to build her a villa on the Dolder hill, distinguishing itself from the Heimatstil context of the surrounding residences, for language, shapes and materials.

For Savina, Carlo Scarpa seems to recreate an atlas of memory set up by Venetian workers: a distant world that dances reflected by translucent stucco and metallic mosaics, punctuated by spaces and elements designed down to the smallest scale; according to weaves and references between architecture, design and art, which connote this villa as a total work of art.

Indeed, Casa Zentner represents an exception also among Scarpa’s works, given the constancy with which he will follow the whole arc of its design, until its end, assisted by the Swiss architect Theo Senn, who materially oversaw its implementation. Numerous documents account for this process, which allowed to reconstruct a ‘micro-history’ of the building: more than eight hundred drawings preserved for most of them in the Carlo Scarpa Archive; correspondence and accounting ordered by René Zentner; the oral testimonies of those who lived in the house or attended Scarpa’s studio in those years.

The villa, which has always been inhabited by its clients and never modified, is therefore a cultural testimony and material of exceptional value; now, for the first time, it opens its doors.

The book, presented in the series Ad esempio, is added to the large body of publications dedicated to date from Electa to the figure of Carlo Scarpa.”

From the publisher.

Authors: Davide Fornari, Giacinta Jean, Roberta Martinis
Editor: Electa
Series: Ad esempio
Language: italiano
Pages: 176
Illustration: 260 a colori
Price: 45 euro
Date: 17th March 2020
ISBN: 978889182525-4

To order this book, please visit: website.