Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef states that the only animal able to defeat a rhinoceros is the mosquito. A cloud of mosquitoes, actually. The rhinoceros is a metaphor for capitalism, a big, impatient force that smashes everything that is opposed to its own interest (rivalry) and that crushes smaller creatures (local businesses). The only survival strategy, he says, is to become so small that you are not a threat to the big force (so you are left in peace)—all together, however, you can smother the big animal.
Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo thinks of her own small-scale work as a reserve of the lost honor of architecture, a discipline that, when exposed to big market forces, is unable to produce quality built environments. Her projects, though, are not just mere resistance; they are fresh (beyond every trendy style), original (a search for the simple manifestations of life, as in the origins), and direct. They are simultaneously young (full of the creative hunger of an architect who is just starting out) and mature (governed by the calm of somebody who builds as if it were a long meditated research).
In any case, her work is not just a reservoir but also a privileged viewpoint to see what’s next. The image of Maria Reiche on top of the ladder in Nazca resonates a lot with Giuseppina Grasso’s work. The small scale in her case is like being on the ladder: it looks at things that the rest of us on the ground are unable to see. Such anticipatory conditions may derive from the fact that the small scale allows for more creative control—and the more control, the higher the standard. Finally, her work may become an example for a lot of people throughout the world, because the majority of architects also tend to operate at such a small scale; the accumulation of many small-scale operations, one per architect on the planet, may work in the same way as the cloud of mosquitoes that are able to defeat the greedy forces at play in the city.


  • Rights: Photo by: Italo Rondinella; Courtesy la Biennale di Venezia

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps