The SLUM RESERVE project was born following my studies on some suburbs of world megalopolises, their illegal neighborhoods and the aesthetic results that characterize them.
The common tendency in these cities is to eradicate, whenever possible, spontaneous and informal building agglomerations (or at least move them away from the center of the city) whether they are of illegal or cultural nature, as if their absence from the center would determine a better parameter of the city’s liveability.
Informal architecture is set up as an overturned filter with respect to formal architecture: a sort of book without a cover or binding, a moving and dynamic form that does not long for eternity but only to fulfill its animalistic, primary, protective function of “hideout”. In an accurate reading, informal aesthetics allow the outside to understand the needs of the nucleus that inhabits the architecture, triggering a dialogue between interior and exterior. The visual storm generated by the various social, cultural and economic outcomes of the various builders creates a sort of kaleidoscope that represents a real evolutionary alternative – removed from the idea of architecture as a grammar of territory and landscape, transforming the agglomeration into an unstable body, alive and ready for change, a window capable of charging the voltage of a possible failure.
In this historical period, informal architecture becomes a part of populations involved in transnational migrations (the example of Calais and other spontaneous agglomerations due to mass displacement for political reasons) or moving from rural areas to cities (such as Caracas or Istanbul) or representing the only economically viabile option (as in some neighborhoods in Manila or Athens) or even having become an alternative system (such as in the suburbs of Naples and in some areas of Calabria). Informal architecture does not simply define an economic parameter of its inhabitants, but also a kind of cultural rebellion against the legislative system that is at a historical stalemate that cannot be overcome.
In this vein, SLUM RESERVE becomes a reflection on the aesthetic and social form, allowing a scrap to our visual palette and offering us the opportunity to expand our aesthetic perception.
This point of view does not aim to be either controversial or contrary to a vision that sees architecture as an order, as an aesthetic literacy of living so. As in language, rules are also necessary for buildings, although I believe that there is something we can save of the informal dynamics. They have a pure and powerful energy, and for this reason I have long sought to collimate the two forces by analyzing informal aesthetic potentials, applying them in the creation of my work.
Over the years I’ve been doing this skidding in several areas of research, trying to get a result that puts the observer in the condition of doubting and asking questions. In the slums affecting the city centers, I see a gap in the urban body – a pass that allows the emergence of more internal and hidden bowels, destroying the illusion of the village of Potemkin, bringing us to our concrete collective complicity with the world’s dynamics. At the same time it is like a huge, open-minded cable that can absorb what is within its reach. Like in post-colonial studies, the macro story destroys parallel micro stories. In this dual vision, The SLUM RESERVE project becomes a source of constant parameters and comparisons with the dynamics that characterize humanity and its evolution.