Copyright: RIBA British Architectural Library Photographs Collection (1970s)
Giancarlo De Carlo is an architect and planner, a writer and teacher. He was a leading figure in Team X, and a fierce critic of CIAM and the excesses of the Modern Movement.
By the end of the 1960s he had become a key figure in participation, both in theory and practise, and he pursued a kind of critical regionalism 20 years before Ken Frampton coined the term. De Carlo has provided no simple formula for easy emulation, and though his influence as a teacher and practitioner is great, he leaves no school.
The official citation reads: 'The importance of Giancarlo De Carlo’s contribution to architecture lies in the way he has succeeded in procuring masterfully conceived and executed buildings and urban settings by a process nourished by an absolute commitment to society and democracy ... He condemned the impositions of authoritarian planning and proposed instead the then radical idea of participation – engaging in dialogue at all stages of analysis, design and evaluation with those who were to inhabit his buildings. In this belief, he has consistently practised what he preached and his work in Urbino, over a period of 40 years, has become a unique instance in which the intervention of an architect has brought new purpose and therefore new life to an old town on the verge of becoming a tourist monument in decline ...
'Conservation in this instance has little to do with nostalgia and the repetition of stylistic criteria but everything to do with the search for live roots and new purpose without loss of identity ...
'He has been concerned to resist all easy reinventions of architecture as a new figurative style. He seeks to recover a sense of space that embodies the physical reality of living and especially of living together.'
Awarded the Royal Gold Medal for 'the way he has succeeded in procuring masterfully conceived and executed buildings and urban settings by a process nourished by an absolute commitment to society and democracy'.