The collective work Espacio Escultórico, in the Pedregal de San Ángel in Mexico City, was unanimously selected by the scientific committee of the Carlo Scarpa International Prize for the Garden
Pedregal de San Ángel, today a nature reserve, is a place on the outskirts of Mexico City characterized by a unique landscape, an endemic ecosystem resulting from the eruption of the Xitle volcano , which occurred approximately 2000 years ago.

Over the centuries the area was seen as inaccessible, a destination only for explorers and criminals, until the 1950s when it was reached by the uncontrollable expansion of Mexico City.

The most ambitious work of the time was the construction of an entire university city, that of UNAM, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México strong>. And the drive that led to the creation of Espacio Escultórico, a great collective work of art that emerges from the lava surface and to which, for the many meanings it contains, the Carlo Scarpa Award for the Garden 2023-2024 has been dedicated.

Espacio Escultórico: a space with symbolic value

Inaugurated in 1979, the work Espacio Escultórico expresses in an exemplary way the meaning of a landscape forged by a powerful natural event and home, in the modern era, to equally powerful conflicts due to urban expansion which has put their very existence at risk.

The work of art, a ring 120 meters in diameter composed of 64 concrete prisms which surrounds a piece of intact lava soil, represents an important chapter of this landscape in progress and establishes a point of meeting between past and future, between the great story of the construction of the University City and the evolution of a new ecological awareness.

The season following the construction of the Espacio Escultórico, in fact, will be characterized by the defense of what remains of the Pedregal and the awareness on the part of the scientific and student community of its value, with the official creation, in 1983, of the Reserva Ecológica del Pedregal de San Ángel.

Laboratory of modernity

We asked Luigi Latini and Patrizia Boschiero, coordinators of the activities of the International Carlo Scarpa Prize for the Garden, among the many values of the Espacio Escultórico, which ones they would like to see reach the public of the exhibition and of the various stages foreseen by the award:

“The values and meanings of a collective work of art like this, created in 1979 within what is now one of the largest megacities on the planet, are undoubtedly multiple.

From the point of view of the Carlo Scarpa Award and of the Foundation, as a center for landscape studies, what we most hope will be taken away by the public, by the readers of our book, by those who will see the documentary film, are the aesthetic power and the telluric force of this sculptural work deliberately created on that lava rock with the Pedregal landscape at its center - only apparently "empty" - and around it.

A stone landscape, rich in plant and animal nature (including humans) that is varied and precious in ecological and historical terms, a warning for the present and for the future, to which the foresight of the design strong>National Autonomous University of Mexicowith a group of artists first and since 1983 with its Ecological Reserve it has been able to give voice, and to which we trust that the Carlo Scarpa Prize will give resonance.”

The events of the 33rd edition of the Carlo Scarpa Prize for the Garden

Conceived and created by the Benetton Studi Ricerche Foundation, the award is a two-year research and care project dedicated to a place that contains values of nature, memory and invention and which, every time, begins from insights and explorations aimed at different places and cultures.

In the vision of the Carlo Scarpa Prize, the Espacio Escultórico is a place of personal meditation and at the same time of collective action: its history leads us to reflect on the relationship between artistic gesture and ecological awareness; the choral dimension of his conception invites us to think about individual commitment in the landscape field, to establish new coordinates and new design tasks.

The main public moments of the award take place in Treviso in the month of April:

- on April 12 the exhibition dedicated to the Espacio Escultórico opens at Ca' Scarpa, which can be visited until June 30;

- on the morning of Saturday 13 April the auditorium of the Benetton Foundation in Palazzo Bomben hosts the presentation of the book and documentary dedicated to the place and themes of this edition of the Award, preceded by a conference by Louise Noelle ;

- Saturday 13 April at h. 5.00pmA public ceremony will be held in the Church of San Teonisto with the presentation of the seal symbolizing the Award to Leonardo Lomelí Vanegas, rector of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, highlighting, in the context of UNAM itself, two other figures who express the sense of care for this place, Silke Cram and Louise Noelle, both involved in the management and protection bodies of the Espacio Escultórico.