A road sign on the approach to the southern Italian city of Cisternino provided the inspiration for this collection of photographs. It read, “Centro storico (historical centre) - architettura spontanea.”
The term architettura spontanea (spontaneous architecture) refers to a process whereby homes and towns are designed and built, not by architects, but by common workers within a community, responding to need, climate, cultural traditions and locally available resources. The diversity of architectural form and the creative, yet practical use of space in the historical town centre of Cisternino bring this concept to life.
The centro storico began as a small town during the 11th and 12th centuries, and was subsequently surrounded with a defensive stone wall. The walled town grew over time and as more space was needed new dwellings were built on top of older ones, adding a vertical component to everyday life. Today, that town is a maze of tall, white-washed buildings and narrow alleyways, a mixture of small courtyards, dead ends, arched structures, balconies and stairways. It is teeming with life, and serves both as living space for its many inhabitants and as the focal point of the entire city of Cisternino for everything from tourism, restaurants and shops to religious and political meetings.
In the true sense of architettura spontanea, non-conformity and harmony coexist in the centro storico. To capture this balance and the vertical essence of the town photographically, I found that the panoramic format, turned upright, best expressed my vision.
This series of photographs was taken in 2010.
Images from the series (click to view): Centro Storico #13
, Centro Storico #1
, Centro Storico #2
There are other images in this series that are not on this website. If you are interested in more information about them, please leave a message below or email