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Italy’s landscape is dotted with unfinished structures. For a myriad of reasons, the construction of these buildings and pieces of infrastructure stopped half-way, leaving the often concrete and often striking remains of hitherto incomplete plans. The ‘Incompiuto Siciliano’ (Unfinished Sicilian) project has been mapping and researching these many structures, on Sicily as well as in the rest of the country. And, to draw attention to the phenomenon, started to refer to them as “Italy’s Most Prominent Architectural Style”.

In this episode, we join Incompiuto on a trip to one of the largest unfinished objects, ‘La Diga di Blufi’, 130km south of Palermo. Construction of this impressive water engineering project, which was supposed to supply southern Sicily with drinking water, was abruptly halted in the 1990s and has since become a 260-hectare contemporary ruin.

Together with architects and artists involved in the project, we discuss the many implications of the ‘Incompiuti’, from their poetic qualities to the planning failures, from ruin porn to the need for spiritual structures, all the while contemplating architecture’s illusion of completion.

  • Veronica Caprino is an architect based in Milan and part of Fosbury Architecture
  • Andrea Masu is an artist, currently based in Palermo. He is part of the Alterazioni Video collective and one of the founders of Incompiuto Siciliano

References (in order of appearance):

5:59 The Cretto di Burri is a land art project in the middle of Sicily, where artist Alberto Burri has covered the remnants of Gibellina, destroyed in an earthquake in the 1960s, with concrete.

7:32 The Circo Massimo, known as the Circus Maximus in Latin and English, is an ancient chariot-racing stadium in Rome, of which the outlines can still be seen today.

9:45 Marc Augé is a French anthropologist, who also contributed to the Incompiuto book.

15:34 The Incompiuto book can be ordered online from Humboldt Publishers.


This episode was directed by Mark Minkjan en René Boer / the Failed Architecture team.