( in De-Architecture, Rizzoli International, New York 1987)

"Pettena's artistic incursions were not completely appreciated by the two communities [Minneapolis and Salt lake City, n.d.r.]…The negative response seems to have stemmed from the artist's use of naturals elements that were perceived by the public to be antithetical to the notion of functionalism in architecture. As the atmospheric conditions prevailed that would freeze water and bake clay, the structures became uninhabitable by the standards of suburban American living. Ice and clay are the ecologically intelligent and natural choices for sheltering certain civilizations; yet, paradoxically, in the context of housing based on technological support systems and a profligate waste of resources, projects using these materials were met with apprehension and even hostility…

(in Green Architecture, Taschen, 2000)

Pettena sees his house on Elba as a “place to look at the stars”.

[…]The effect of the house is like a primordial collage….., isolated, unpretentious, and improvisational.

[..It] stands as an example of how more fortunate survivors may live after the impending environmental apocalypse has driven escapees into the wilderness…

In many ways this structure is a continuation of the philosophical direction established by Pettena’s early projects.  It is a concession that, in the final ecological scenario, nature consumes all.

[…..] the house on Elba is an architectural elegy for a more contemplative climate.  It strips away the excesses of consumer value and demonstrates the value of modesty, economy, and a primal sense of an art experience translated into the simplest form of architecture.