Opinion 

Characters in Search of an Author

Characters in Search of an Author
Opinion 

Characters in Search of an Author

Luis Fernández-Galiano 
01/06/2022


Luigi Pirandello premiered a century ago his most important play, Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore, a metatheatrical drama where six members of a family break into the rehearsals of Il giuoco delle parti, a comedy of the same author, and ask the director to bring them to life through the actual performance. A pioneer experience in theater within theater, and the first piece in a trilogy composed also by Ciascuno a suo modo and Questa sera si recita a soggetto, in it the playwright makes the six characters talk with the director and actors that will play their parts, with whom they interact stormily. The buildings of David Adjaye, which belong to a family but possess the individuality given by the diversity of their facades, also seek a place in the world in dialogue with the director of the oeuvre and with the buildings in the different urban stages, engaging with them while sharing their story.

In this architecture within architecture, which effectively materializes The Rules of the Game, the works claim their form from the circumstances of their built biography, while sharing different interpretations of their family tie, perhaps as the tangled and contradictory characters of Pirandello. Each in Its Own Way, the buildings designed by Adjaye tackle heterogeneous functional, contextual, and climate demands in order to acquire a strong material, morphological, and aesthetic singularity, in which the specific features of their exterior face are only the most evident expression. If Tonight We Improvise, as happens in the play of the Sicilian writer, in the works of the Ghanaian architect one discovers the same adaptive mastery to interpret the intimate music of the city, playing the melody by ear while following the steady or syncopated rhythmn of the environment.

From his bold and radical first houses, up to the operistic ambition of the large-scale projects that mark his career after the National Museum of African American History, Adjaye has undertaken every commission with a freedom that makes his work greatly varied, but also with stubborn fidelity to two axes of his work that endow his architecture with a political and moral dimension: the desire to service the community and the determination to recover a diverse account of history. Though from the first moment we knew that the image to sum up his oeuvre would be the delicate and solemn facade of the museum on the National Mall, we hesitated about adopting the motto ‘community matters’ or ‘re-storying history,’ because both perspectives are essential to take good stock of a collection of works that blur their signature to generously subordinate themselves to the community or to history.


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