October 15, 2012


I’ve spent a lot of time of late, researching imagery creating at once a sense of  remoteness, and a connection to nature. A place to get away, both literally and figuratively. Athough highly impossible, I’ve decided this is where I want to live. Casa Malaparte, built in 1942 on the island of Capri, sits on a dangerous cliff 32 meters above sea level overlooking the Gulf of Salerno. The physical siting of the house, positioned on the edge of civilization, speaks to the owners need for solitude, reflection, and the challenge provided in the element of danger. Imagine the spectacle of a storm at sea, safe within your bunker, yet very much engulfed in the experience. And, in contrast, the intensely peaceful and serene views and sweeping breezes on a quiet summer day. I never cease to be amazed just how powerful the art of architecture is. This, a modern expression void of visual noise, is a built representation of the homeowners unique vision. Incredible.

‘Today the dwelling is owned by the writer’s heirs and most easily seen by boat (or by revisiting Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 film Contempt, in which the roof provides a sunbathing venue for Brigitte Bardot). ‘

image and excerpt sourced at Architectural Digest.

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One Response to “CASA MALAPARTE”

  1. shannon Says:
    October 22nd, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I love this place!!! I am writing a book about the fall of suburban architecture, and have a section on this place:

    Symbolic forms and details connected this house to both an intimate and universal mythology. The entire living area exists within the confines of a dramatic set of stairs. The destination of the stairs is a rooftop platform, symbolic of a modern altar to Neptune, Roman god of the sea.
    The Italian poet, essayist and political writer Cuzio Malaparte created the house as a writer’s retreat. He saw it as a representation of his inner self, his soul. “Today I live on an island, in a harsh, melancholy, and severe house which I have built alone, lonesome on a cliff hanging over the sea: a house which is the ghost, the secret image of the jail. The image of my nostalgia.”
    His nostalgia was a reference to the time he spent imprisoned for his political writings. “The stairs that lead to the stunning roof terrace and widen upwards he borrowed from the well-known church of Lipari, the island of his imprisonment…Its ambience curiously integrates clumsiness, coarseness, and elegance—it is simultaneously archaic and modern.”
    From a distance the house appears as a sculptural element strategically perched on a rugged mountain ledge, the simple yet graceful form, a stairway to the sky. Looking closer, the house is layered both internally and externally with archetypal details and subliminal experiences.
    The result was a hybrid of ancient and modern architecture that told a story, and created a mood. It built a shrine to bold simplicity, that connected the personal with the universal, the microcosm with the macrocosm.