"To see where the ground leaves off and the building begins would require careful attention. But this organic "ground-motive", variety in unity. Once established in general practise, would be definite and Infinite." Frank Lloyd Wright, The Living City, New York 1958
Tufo is a type of volcanic rock and Sassi is a city excavated in tufo. Sassi had been isolated from civilisation until the mid-20th century. Public opinion called this place “the shame of Italy”, because of the poverty and unhealthy living conditions. Some people were living in a cave-type houses. For this reason, authorities made the decision to relocate autochthons to new social houses and the city was abandoned until the 1980's. Later, Sassi started to be considered a site of cultural heritage and has since been included on the UNESCO list. Today this is a desirable place. A new population has inhabited Sassi and fancy hotels and restaurants have opened up. The process of gentrification has been ongoing.
Sassi means stone. The city is an inhabited landscape and the culture-nature distinction is blurred here. It is an example of vernacular architecture – made without architects and without projects. Space morphology could be depicted as a tension between negative and positive form or volume.