Assisted/eccentric/adjacent: Bridgebuilding No. 4 Ponte Dell’ Accademia

Adrian Hawker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In the years prior to the commencement of major built works, Bridgebuilding No.4 Ponte Dell’ Academia holds a critical position within the formative work of the architect Peter Wilson. Significantly, it sits between the two key AA publications of this period, Peter L Wilson — Bridgebuildings + the Shipshape and Western Objects Eastern Fields: Recent Projects by the Architekturbüro Bolles Wilson. As such, this response to Aldo Rossi’s Biennale competition of 1985 articulates a transition between the graphic operations of a lone practitioner, where the representation of architecture is itself the final product and the establishment of a collaborative practice engaged in construction. The transition mirrors the particularities of the representational techniques employed — a movement away from heavily worked, soft graphite renderings to tighter, more immediately tectonic articulations of fine line drawings and detailed models. The project was published twice, featuring in the spring 1986 edition of the AA Files and then, later that year, in the August release of The Architectural Review. Subtle, yet revealing, transformations took place in the intervening months, changes that anticipate the construction of the Münster Library. My article ‘Assisted/eccentric/adjacent’ takes its title from terms associated with this multivalent structure and offers a close reading of its representations. Through a close reading of the Ponte Dell' Academia proposal, it positions the project within Peter Wilson’s then established themes of typology, ritual and the figurative, and an emerging methodology of what he termed ‘Frame and Adjacency Theory’, an approach which allowed ‘a double way of reading a building, both figuratively and abstract’. From this moment onwards, Wilson’s work develops a closer relationship with the specifics of context and a deep concern for the city articulated through intense moments of connectivity, each manifest through the poetics of tectonic detail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-687
JournalJournal of Architecture
Issue number5
Early online date6 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2021


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