Carlo Scarpa worked on the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona intermittently between 1957 and 1975. It is perhaps his most important project. His work there draws on all his remarkable skills. It demonstrates how to work creatively within a building which already possesses a complex history. It is a magnificent example of his highly personal language of architecture, not least his incredible eye for detail and mastery of the crafting of materials. And it contains a museum exhibition which is as radical and timeless today as the day it opened in 1964 and has served as an inspiration to museum designers ever since. His most extraordinary achievement is where all these themes coincide in the astonishing display of the equestrian statue of Cangrande, perhaps the most remarkable setting for a single work of art ever made.
This book analyses not just Scarpa’s work as we find it today, and in great detail, but also introduces the reader to the complex history of the building as well as sequences of Scarpa’s own highly revealing drawings; witnesses to a brilliant curiosity and holistic approach to design where the art and architecture are completely complimentary.
Richard Murphy surveyed the whole building in 1986, and later interviewed many of Scarpa’s collaborators, including his craftsmen, and analysed all Scarpa’s drawings leading to three exhibitions and a book published in 1990. However, Carlo Scarpa and Castelvecchio Revisited is in many ways unrecognizable from its predecessor. It is neither a second edition nor is it a completely new analysis. It has started with the 1990 publication but the format is larger and 198 pages have grown to 384. Almost twice as many Scarpa drawings have been selected (some were unknown in 1990), and this time they are printed in colour with a reference system to guide the reader to details within them. Large sections of the accompanying text have been rewritten and expanded and there are two new chapters. Perhaps most importantly there are many more photographs, both of the building at various phases of its complex life but also superb contemporary colour photography by Peter Guthrie assisted by Matthew Hyndman.
In November 2017 author Richard Murphy gave a presentation to the University of Melbourne School of Design that expands on his research of Carlo Scarpa and the remodelling of Castelvecchio.
Richard Murphy was educated at Newcastle University and then at Edinburgh University where he later taught. His researches into the work of the Venetian Architect, Carlo Scarpa, at the Castelvecchio, Verona began in 1986 and culminated in exhibitions in Edinburgh, London and Verona, a book "Carlo Scarpa and Castelvecchio" published in 1990 by Butterworth Heinemann and in Italian by Arsenale in 1991 and countless lectures on six continents. He has also written a book on Scarpa’s "Palazzo Querini Stampalia" in Venice in the Phaidon Architecture in Detail series and published in 1993, also published in Japanese by Dohosha. He presented a film for Channel 4 on Scarpa directed by Murray Grigor which was first broadcast in 1996. In addition he co-wrote with Grigor "An Architect’s Appreciation of Charles Rennie Mackintosh" published by Belew.
Richard Murphy is an Academician of the Royal Scottish Academy, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects of Scotland, Fellow of Edinburgh Napier University and chartered member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and in 2016 he was elected to the RIBA Council. He lives in the centre of the Edinburgh New Town in a house he designed for himself. It won the RIBA/Channel 4 TV “United Kingdom House of the Year” competition in 2016. As well as a number of references to the work of Scarpa within it, it also includes a roof terrace, the design of which is a homage to Scarpa’s garden in the Querini Stampalia Foundation in Venice made in 1963-4.
In 1991 he founded the practice of Richard Murphy Architects in Edinburgh. Since then the practice has won twenty-one RIBA awards, and has been short-listed for the Lubetkin Prize and twice for the Stirling Prize. Two books have been published on his work: "Ten Years of Practice" in 2001 by the Fruitmarket Gallery and "Architecture of its time and place" in 2012 by Artifice. His work has been exhibited in one man exhibitions in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Rhode Island, London and in Edinburgh and in 2007 he exhibited in the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. In 2006 he was voted “Scottish Architect of the Year” by readers of the Scottish architecture magazine "Prospect" and in the Queen’s Honours List 2007, he was awarded an OBE. He is a frequent contributor to architectural journals where his work has also been reviewed on many occasions.
007 Author's note on the organsation of information in the book
008 Preface by Margherita Bolla
009 Foreword by Kenneth Frampton
010 The importance of Castelvecchio
012 Chronological summary of Scarpa's work at Castevecchio
014 The continuity of history is perpetual change
024 Scarpa, Magagnato and the process of building
027 The drawings
032 Scarpa, Venice and Castelvecchio
038 The democratic museum
042 The great courtyard
086 The entrance room and sculpture gallery
172 The Cangrande space
224 Work to the west of the Comune wall
286 The final rooms
340 An eyewitness account
342 The museum after Carlo Scarpa
350 Cangrande della scala at Castevecchio
354 Technical specification of materials
374 Cataloguing Scarpa
375 The 1986 survey
376 A personal Postscript: notes and reflections thirty years after the original survey