I consider 37-year-old Antonino Cardillo to be one of Italy’s most talented young architects. As a critic I support him, so I am happy to see his name in the many articles he regularly sends me. Among them have been an 11-page piece on the Berlin magazine H.O.M.E and a piece in Wallpaper (in which he was considered amongst the top 30 young architects of 2009).

Naturally, I was surprised when Cardillo sent me an alarming e-mail. He said he was accused of cheating by Der Spiegel, a German news magazine, in which he presents beautiful renderings as real constructions which has mislead readers on his actual achievements. The truth is on Carillo’s website, written in various languages, where visitors can see many works but no real buildings.

The Der Spiegel accusation had a profound eco in Italy and Cardillo’s case a hot topic on the internet sites. Some leading Italian newspapers, including la Stampa, also dedicated articles to the case.

It was a strange accusation. I thought everybody understood Cardillo’s works were only renderings – it’s a simple concept to understand the difference between a real photo and a computer-generated image. But at this point I have a doubt. Until Der Spiegel’s piece, I was sure the only house Cardillo had actually built was a little one in Nomura, Japan. Now I’m not so sure.

Above are images of Cardillo’s work – what do you think? Are they images of a realized space or of a fake house?


Luigi Prestinenza Puglisi is an architectural writer, critic and the president of Associazione Italiana di Architettura e Critica. He is the editor-in-chief of Compasses, an editor for Le Carré Bleu, and the director of the weekly presS/Tletter. He is a regular contributor to architectural magazines and has written numerous books on architecture.