Architecture And Satire
The meme is nowadays one of the most powerful communication tool in social networks. It has everything to be successful, it is simple, direct and concise. Above all of this it creates imaginaries and evolves spontaneously in parallel with trends and social changes.
There are many architectural meme pages that stigmatize the profession. What can happen if the meme is used as a tool to prompt messages and ideas, combining it with architectural design? Alvar Aaltissimo was for example born four years ago as an architectural satire, where randomly funny images were published via different social media. A step forward happened with the evolution of the meme itself. The architects’ project presentation is mostly focused on images and photographs in a purely aesthetic direction, therefore a complex architectural project can be hardly understandable and not compatible with the speed of the fast online publishing reality. Alvar Aaltissimo presents satirical architectural projects, highly expressive in graphics, searching for radical solutions or imagining absurd situations to express the main point of the current situation.
Alvar Aaltissimo started within publishing collages on social media. One of the very first projects presented was the skyscraper inside the Colosseum as the new headquarters of the Italian party “Movimento 5 Stelle”. It was only a post with one image, which later developed in a more complex structure of posts as proposals for the real projects following a specific approach method to raise above a meme and create therefore a clear idea followed by immediacy and fun.
Some projects are related to politics, such as the Headquarters of the Democratic Party in Rome and the Electoral Balcony for the European elections. When the Coronavirus pandemic took over, Alvar Aaltissimo responded with projects for social distancing. As architecture is a transformation of space not able to give response to a such immediate problem, a one-person supermarket was born, according on episodes of psychosis in Italian and European supermarkets before the lockdown.
With two types of posts two different space perceptions were created. The immediate one, typical for meme, is funny, irreverent as much as forgettable after a few seconds, while the second is created for an analysis of details searching for deepest meaning behind choices. In fact, this combined method contrasts the traditional idea of meme and focus more on ideas than images.
The vision for the Italian Summer 2020, a radical project on the entire coast of the peninsula, was created because of the social distancing. If Italy can be considered as a place where the only thing that matters is not to miss the holidays, the citizens would agree to completely destroy the landscape just to get the final satisfaction.
The Library of Statues was made as response to the strikes that started in the United States regarding the demolition of monuments of Christopher Columbus or Winston Churchill.
Alvar Aaltissimo is learning different risks of wrong architectural choices by planing his projects. In such way is bringing architecture back to its meanings, complete opposite as the aesthetic drift from instagram images.