Rocks, wind, sea, and sky frame a house on the Sardinian coast, and the house frames a family's life and art, suspended in memory.
How does a house shape experience? How does architecture establish a practice of living? Architect Sebastiano Brandolini invites readers on a meditative tour of his family's house on the Sardinian coast, describing everything from the geology of the rocks beneath, to the history of the surrounding villages, to the way the shifting light measures the day. More than the story of a single summer home written by an accomplished architect, this is a study of how place, the built environment, and daily practice make up our lives, at the most minute level of detail. Recalling the essays of Walter Benjamin, Bill Bryson, Rebecca Solnit, and Lawrence Weschler, Brandolini's writing weaves literature, art history, and the transformation of Sardinia since the 1960s into a single fabric.
The House at Capo d'Orso is not only a study of architecture and life in the built environment, but of family life, and the way the Brandolini family adapted themselves to the house they built. For Sebastiano Brandolini's parents, this meant letting their house influence their work in poetry and visual art, and this book attends carefully to the way houses can guide the creative process. The wind and water of Sardinia change more than the rocks and trees; they invite the imagination itself to form new shapes.
"Certain places--or perhaps objects--in the interior of Sardinia have left such a deep impression on my mind that I cannot rid myself them, becoming obsessions that give me pleasure and prompt reflections. For us obligatory positivists of the twenty-first century, there is something enigmatic and incomprehensible about these objects. They oscillate between architecture, archeology, geology, and landscape, but do not belong to any of these categories; as soon as we think we've found a plausible classification, we are assailed by doubts and qualifications."--from The House at Capo d'Orso
Zigzagging through six locations on the edges of the German-speaking world, exploring them through politics, architecture, literature, film, art, music, food, and history.
"Zickzack" is the German word for "zigzag" hopping around, moving back and forth, never following a straight line, avoiding the monotony of one thing following another. Zickzack is William Firebrace's zigzagging exploration of six places on the edges of the German-speaking world. Deploying essays, narration, conversations, descriptions, and lists, Firebrace celebrates locations on defined and undefined borders, where cultures, languages, and histories mix. In his nonlinear wandering, he touches on ethnicity, topography, history, film, literature, myth, languages, and gastronomy.
These locales are not the famous cities of Berlin, Vienna, and Zurich, but areas that straddle countries, geographies, and influences. Two are within Germany itself, one lies on (and over) the border with Poland, and three were once within the loose German cultural zone but now belong to other countries. Firebrace explores Strasbourg, capital of Alsace and part of a long-running territorial dispute between France and Germany; Königsberg, which spent some of the twentieth century as Kaliningrad; and Görlitz and Zgorcelec, twin cities on either side of a river. He plays hopscotch with churches in Backstein and takes a train trip past cities with double names--Sterzing-Vipiteno, Brixen-Bressanone, Klausen-Chiusa, signs of the double culture, where everything happens twice but in a slightly different way. In the zigzags of the German-speaking world, the original culture sometimes survives, sometimes is deliberately destroyed, sometimes merges with other cultures, and often, if submerged, resurfaces in a different form.