Giacomo Borella – Architect as a craftsman


Giacomo Borella is one of those architects that seems out of the time. His little atelier- atelier Albori– is settled in Milan and it is different from the others for its distance from the conventional means, both theoretical and practical, that today are used in the architectural field.

Against the rows of computers aligned in the great majority of professional offices, he opposes himself as the figure of the craftsman. This word is here borrowed by the book of Richard Sennet, a book that through an historical research and numerous reflections talks about the “artifex” man and suggests it as a model to follow. Beyond being free from practical tools and conventions, the artisan answers some needs, he doesn’t create monuments- his concern is about creating artifacts that are exact.

He puts all himself in what he does and the final product totally belongs to him, from the theoretical phase of planning to the practical one of construction.
He keeps the whole process under control. There is not the typical division of work, typical of the XXth century. And, moreover, it is undeniable that an atavistic satisfaction stays in the fact of completely making something by hand. The relation that is established between the artisan and its works makes this person more accurate in doing the job at his best.

Listening to a lecture by Borella, you can see some of the aspects just listed in his planning method, understanding how close he is to his buildings. Themes as the ones of recycling and re-using are often debated in his projects. And this indicate a further relationship with the materials and the use that the architect make of them, going beyond the traditional knowledge.
Those who had the opportunity to attend one of his lectures have been in front of a great example of architect. Among the different messages he left, the more important is also a suggestion : to regain the gap existing between hand and mind, to recoup the sense of doing things properly.

Maybe Giacomo Borella is not an architect out of time, maybe we just mistook in interpreting the time in which we are living.

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