(in “Gianni Pettena”, Silvana Editoriale, 2003)
Gianni Pettena is an architect and there is nothing to warrant us questioning the nature of his activity by trying to identify it with that of an artist. His interventions are unique, responding more often than not to a program of design that he has set himself and carefully preserving a heterogeneity that resists any uniformity of style or practice(….) And yet, Gianni Pettena has always recoiled from architecture, has always rejected its use as an instrument, has refused to accept the fact that practicing it means being confined by the rigidities of a profession. He is more radical than anyone else, since he has turned aside from all the roads chosen by his comrades in the Radical movement, either in Italy or in Austria. He remains one of the few not to have fallen into the trap of postmodern neo-historicism….
The negation of any principle of identity, of any rule, was to remain an immutable constant of Pettena’s work: he has sought without respite to bring architecture to its conclusion, to fulfill its destiny, to face up to its limitedness through the permanence of its objects. A question of temporality, Pettena wants to resume the dialogue directly with architects, wants to reincarnate the intention, the gesture, the decision that brings architecture into being.
Freeing ourselves from architecture or freeing architecture from the presence of a space defined by measurement and size is a theme that runs obsessively through Pettena’s works.