Gio Ponti and Carlo Mollino

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This book considers the strange figurative works of Gio Ponti and Carlo Mollino, two Italian friends and architects practicing, teaching, theorizing, and publishing architecture through the middle decades of the twentieth century. Ponti and Mollino offer architects today a wondrous, poetic, and distinctly Italian perspective on how to create works of architecture that allow people to feel at home with themselves and their surroundings. This book considers the work of Ponti and Mollino as a “middle position” poised between the Utopian aspiration of “high-modern” architecture that preceded it, and the obvious, scenographic and often elitist figuration of the “post-modern” architecture that followed it.

As Ponti and Mollino were not only architects but also designers, artists, professors and authors, the audience for this book is wide ranging: architects, artists and visual artists, as well as scholars and students of these same creative pursuits. As Ponti and Mollino sought to discover the relationship between words, poetry and the “figurative” language of architects, this book will interest scholars of literature, aesthetics, metaphysics, and linguistics. The book will also interest today’s architects and designers working within nature-inspired, biomimetic and sustainable practices towards creating design works that behave (more than look) like living things.

In the past ten years, there has been a renewed interest in the work of Ponti and Mollino. Despite this interest, there exists little critical consideration of either the individual architects themselves or the illuminating “conversation” between them in any significant work presently available. This book offers something more: it considers the fruitful relationship of two architects working through a difficult historical moment toward the realization of a fundamental human aspiration – to find our place in this world. This book has 40 Black and White Photos


“ ... The combined case of Ponti and Mollino offers the reader a fruitful, passionate dialogue of words and designs that took place within a particularly complicated context: the difficult circumstances of post-war Italy and the long, significant tradition of figuration in Italian architecture. The case of Ponti and Mollino also signifies an animated, biologically-inspired architecture that functions not unlike the familiar living species found in nature, in opposition to imitating the familiar forms of the prevailing socio-cultural condition, as would later occur in postmodernism ... This book is not only a consideration of two architects at a critical moment in architecture, but, moreover, an insight into the fundamental challenges concerning the architect’s ability to make built works which serendipitously reconcile nature with human and societal needs and aspirations ...” – (from the Foreword) Professor Stephen Verderber, Tulane University

“This book is a valuable critical account of the provocative work of two Italian architects and friends, Ponti and Mollino. As Dr. Green ably demonstrates, the work of these two men has considerable relevance to current design theory and practice. With the increasing interest in biomimetic forms and materials, ‘green’ architecture and universal design, Ponti and Mollino provide much to stimulate architects and designers today.” – Professor Steven C. Bourassa, University of Louisville

“Propelling us in to the surreal worlds of Ponti and Mollino, this book provides a long-needed study in English of this important mid-twentieth century Italian architecture. Part intellectual history, part biography, and part architectural analysis, Dr. Green’s work studies the life of architecture invented by Ponti and Mollino through their long friendship and public discourse ... This book, inviting readers to eavesdrop on the conversations that transpired between these two leading architects, is invaluable for scholars, students and designers.” – Professor Paul Emmons, Virginia Tech

Table of Contents

Foreword by Stephen Verderber

Part One
1. In a Few Words
2. Architects are Never at Home

Part Two
3. Architecture is a Crystal
4. Architecture is a Human Body
5. Architecture is a Butterfly
Conclusion / While Waiting

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