Albertian Diptych: An addition to the Palazzo Rucellai in Florence, Italy

Advanced Studio I

Studio Critic: Peter Eisenman with Miroslava Brooks

Collaboration with Sarah Kasper

In questioning how to join two to create one, only the façade of the Palazzo Ruccelai, the single Albertian structure, is preserved. With this tabula rasa both adjacent to and behind Rucellai, a framework based on the prescripts of Alberti’s text Della Pittura, and their manifestation in Sandro Botticelli’s painting Cestello Annunciation (1489), allows for a choreography of forms that define a diptych composition. Oscillating between the rational and the pictorial, contextual forces shear the supplemental building, establishing a void at the hinge. This voided, weaving hinge reflects the tension between the hands of the angel Gabriel and the Madonna figure in the Annunciation; the two figures incline towards one another, but do not yet touch, signaling the immanent motion of the composition. From this initial framework, additional contextual reactions from the triangular piazza in front of Ruccelai and the monastery cortile behind it signal entry along the diagonal and carve away at the mass beyond. Ruccelai’s original residential program is preserved, yet it is destabilized through the hinge as it intertwines with the new adjacent public institution.  This conversation between existing and new, solid and void, ideal and destabilized, draws upon the call and response of the Annunciation, establishing forms in dialogue and poised for union, yet separated by the activated void of the hinge.