Villa and Rake (2007)

The work with Alberto Sdegno was grounded in a shared interest in digital architectural models. I had made a number of playful architectural deformations (see Work Group 1 in this section of the website). Alberto specializes in architectural graphics and is an expert on the architecture of Palladio, and had digitized a number of his buildings and architectural details. After some initial experiments, our plans evolved to looking systematically at embodying in an object the conventions of axonometric drawing and chose Palladio’s Villa Emo using Alberto’s files.

While working on the model of the villa I learned from Alberto that it had been, in fact, a working farm building. The wings had an agricultural function, partially open like sheds for storage of produce and equipment behind the arched colonnade, while the central core was for habitation. This challenged my associations of Palladio with the English country house and Jeffersonian precursors to an American imperial style. The revelation and re-picturing of the “villa” together with addressing certain practicalities in the making of the model led to an impromptu response: I would make a rake, a sculptural object, deformed digitally in consonance with the villa model, and harkening back, through its functional reference, to the origins of the Villa Emo.

The Villa Emo is not just an architectural model, but an object masquerading as a drawing. The Rake inhabits our space and scale, but carries its origins of digital deformation.