Sardinia: The
Inhabited Pathway

Architecture: Alberto Ponis
Photography: Gion von Albertini and Alberto Ponis
Publisher: Park Books

Alberto Ponis’ built work (about 300 buildings) is concentrated in the extraordinary rocky coastal landscape of northern Sardinia, where he has lived since the 1960’s. This series of houses, many of them holiday homes, combinine International Modernism, with a deep understanding of the local landscape and cultural condition – key examples of what Kenneth Frampton termed «critical regionalism». Given the work’s evident quality, the lack of attention is peculiar; its physical isolation might explain it, but then, Ponis’s architecture and personality don’t seek attention.
Born in Genoa in 1933, Ponis studied at the University of Florence, before going to London in 1960 to work at the offices of Goldfinger and then Lasdun. He returned to Italy in 1964, to set up practice in Palau, Sardinia where in 1970 he built Casa Hartley, one of his key early houses overlooking the sea, whose strict geometries of plan nevertheless merge into its bizarre rocky surroundings.