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Wallach Art Gallery Presents Retrospective of Architect Roger Ferri's Work

Residence in Ligonier Valley, Pennsylvania, 1985, by Ferri

Architectural drawings, renderings, and photographs by celebrated architect Roger Ferri are on display at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, through December 21. The retrospective, entitled "Roger Ferri: Architectural Visionary," includes a diverse selection of more than 75 national and international architectural projects, including Pedestrian City, the Blum Residence, and the Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bay Hotel. In addition, more than two dozen landscape paintings and figurative works are displayed, many of which reflect Ferri's immersion in Italian culture.

Ferri's architectural vision aimed to achieve a symbiosis between the built environment and nature. One of his most innovative designs was for a corporate skyscraper in Manhattan (1976). The proposal included terraces and setbacks featuring ponds, hillocks, meadows, and forested gorges, with waterfalls cascading to the street below. His widely acclaimed ideas led to an invitation to participate in "Transformations in Modern Architecture" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1979), an exhibition that explored the concept of architecture's movement beyond functionalism. Ferri's drawings for a Pedestrian City proposed solutions for urban development in a "Post-Petroleum Age."

Colin Amery, the architectural correspondent for the Financial Times of London and author of several books including "Vanishing Histories" (2001), said Ferri "planted the seeds of debate about all the important issues facing architects and artists today." Ada Louise Huxtable, writing in the New York Times, characterized his work as "totally visionary romanticism."

Ferri received a bachelor's degree in architecture from Pratt Institute in 1972. In 1975, at the age of 26, his career was launched with the design of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Loretto, Pennsylvania. From 1978 to 1982, he studied painting at the Art Students League, in the studios of Robert Beverly Hale and Frank Mason. Following nearly 10 years of private practice as an architect, Ferri was named vice president and design principal of Welton Becket Associates in New York in 1984, designing residential and office buildings, mixed-use developments, and the Dai-Ichi Hotel. In 1987, he opened his own firm, where he concentrated on small-scale projects, mostly private residences and apartments. At the time of his death in 1991, Ferri left behind a prolific record as an innovative architect, painter, designer, teacher, and author.

Roger Ferri's "Spiral Tower," 1984

"Roger Ferri: Architectural Visionary" is based on an exhibition organized by the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Many of the works are drawn from the rich holdings of the Roger Ferri archive in the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia. Additional works are borrowed from the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art and private lenders. His work can also be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

Wallach Art Gallery is located in Schermerhorn Hall, 8th floor. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, the public may call 212-854-2877.

Published: Nov 21, 2002
Last modified: Nov 21, 2002

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