11 Only Architecture Will Be O u r Lives Peter Lung and \Y/ill~ar~ Menkiig 31 Suicidal Desires Peter Long 53 The Revolt of the Object ~vrllifl~>r r~Ier1kir1g 65 Memories of Superstudio Cristiarro k r a l d o d i Frarrcia 73 A House of Calm Serenity Adolfo Na~alini 79 Journey to the End of Architecture Piero Frassirrelli 84 Reflected Architecture Superstudio: Historic Projects 95 119 1 9 6 6 6 8 . Supersimple: Elementary Architecture 228 Superstudio: Biographies 229 Superstudio: Exhibitions and Bibliography . Monuments. Superprojects: Objects. Superarchitecture: to the Rescue! 1969-71. Superesistcnce: Life and Death 213 1974-78. Cities 175 1972-73.

pyrarrrids. are conuirrced that arcl~itecturcis one ofthefew wags t o realize cosrrric order on earth. it is a "rrroderate utopia" t o frrragirre a riear In . 196Y I J 5 I:. The oroblern therefore was that o f irrcreasirr~delac/~rrrenl frorrz .r ruhich have irrdrrced rrran t o build dolrrrens.. arrd cue12 less could i t serue t o save one's otun soul. ourrelues. the errors ofnrarr arrd the bestiality of architecture.Peter b n g Only Architecture Will Be Our Lives a ~ i dI V ~ l l t a mMenk~ng 111 thore years i t becarrrc uery clear that 10 contirrue t o dcsigr~ fiirrrrrr~re.I $ ~ For those w l ~ o like . le I frorrr a srrigle desrgn capable o f c l a r r ~ r n gonce arrd for a l l the rrrotiue. . The Corrfirruous Morrunrenr: Atr Arrhirec~ural Model for Total Urbanrzation.ob~ecrsarrd similar household decorariotrs ruas rro solutiorr t o problnrrs of liuirrg arrd 1101 euerr t o those of life.ronl most g r a p h ~ caspects of these 1960s protagonists to today's pub11c The collect~veshows lack. I t becarrre clear that rro beautrfication or c o s ~ ~ ~ e~rui ce r entfficiio7t t o rerrredy the darlrage of tinre.. ho\r. nrrtlhirs. suffic~entspace to explore ~ndlv~dual groups or speclfic actlons In greater deta~l'Though the many e ~ h ~ b ~ t l and o n sdustrated catalogues have done a respectable 1: .ever.i: fi 11 . those activities ofdesigrr adopting perhaps the theory ofrrrinirrral force i n a ~ e r r e m"process l of rrdrrctiorl". t o put thir~gs I I !Ij frrture irr w h i c l ~a l l arcl~itec~ure tuill be created w i t h a s i r ~ ~oct. SUPERSTUDIO. and bstly t o trnce (ultirrra ratio) n luhrre line rn the desert. . t o order arrd abouc a l l t o affirtrr hrrrrrarrityi capacityfor acting accordir~gl o reasorr. I :: 11 .

Each group challenged and eventuallv cia. Peter Lang). O n e of the most unexpected conclusions we as curators can draw from our invo~vementwith SUI'ERSTUDIO is just how conscious the group was from the outset of the historical importance of its investigations: SUPElUTUDlO maintains an impressive archive that from the start nieticulously docutnents the unfolding process of its critical research. these inlages can only partly convey the complete historical passage. restituting in the process those projects and writings -critical texts and storyboards .' H A definitive and momentous transformation took place in the design and architectural environment by the late 1960s: the increasingly debilitating crisis in Modernist architecture would find some of its most laconic last acts played out on the drawing boards :. and includes the retrospective testimonials and critical reflections from three of S U I ~ E I ~ T U Dnlembers: IO'S Adolfo Natalini. ~reciselvhere in Florence.' Scant little ning of the new millennium. and an essay on s u ~ e ~ u r u ~ rpenultimate o's moment on the larger international sccne ("The Revolt of the Object". Part I1 is divided into the following four chapters: E the Rescue! 1.12 iI job of d ~ s s e m l n a t l nand ~ consequently revlvlng the works of a predoni~nanrlvEuropean Rdd~calarchttecture movement over the last the world's apparently boundless resources is now having to fight to retain that dubious right. And just as Italy's cconomic miracle mary materials from this period are simply hard to come by: This is particularly unfortunate for SUI'BKIUDIO who seem to have acquired the role as the Radical movement's cover-child.spread its glacially translucent grid structures throughout entire regions of the planet enveloping buildings and entire cities. While clearly a thirty-year hiatus suggests a certain amount of aging many of the principal actors remain highIv enereetic and active in the field while their works remain tucked we are ironically trawling into a new kind of pop-~rpculture! What remains to be seen. s u l m STUDIO'S renouncement of architecture. Cristiano Toraldo di Francia and Piero Frassinelli. 1 2 This publication is structured into two basic parts. 1969-71: SUI'Ellproj~ctr:Objects. While it's evident upon examining the material presented here that their most renowned images describe the momentous steps in thc group's philosophical development. then. Cities 3. 196G68: S U I ' E W ~ C ~ ~ I C C I U ~to 2. This publication has therefore been planncd and organizcd to seme as a portable reference focusing primarily on s u ~ e n s r u ~ r o ' s critical writings i ~ relation r to their better-known body of designs and architecture. to turn back the pages of history to that previous era when a similarly ample crisis ripped through rhe world economies: welcome to Italy in the understanding SUPEIISTUDIO'S provenance and the group's relationship to the many cultural currents evolving through the European avant-garde in the 1960s. 1972-73: SUI'ERexlsle~lce: Life and Death 4. 1974-78: s u ~ > e ~ i ~ n Elementary ple: Architecture In Part I1 each chapter engages in a specific historical moment and providcs related documentation on SUI~E~STUDIO'S theoretical and '1 L 1 '1 ! 1 $: ! 1. their conscious withdrawal from the perverse system based on the con~mercialisationof popular demand. Roberto Maeris. William Menking). the series beginning in 1969 titled The Conlinuor~sMonumen~. in its current socalled free market state is spinning steadily out of control: the small percentage of the global population still able to command evocative images.i p 4 $: 13 4 . Since none of these takes place in the distant past.$ P fices goes beyond mere fashion trends. was deliberately intended to strip architecture of everything except its most naked living truth. is whether the recent 1960s' revival emerging in the schools and in some of the more progressive of. however. Piero Frassinelli and Alessandro Magris were sewed to indoctrinate society into an irrelevant culture of con- rators were trusted with their time and given open access to their remaining collection of projects and library. creating a monument to end all monuments. most of the original protagonists are still very active on the scene.that are far less familiar but entirely necessary in providing a more complete understanding of the group's oeuvre. Part I features the nvo curators' essays exanlining SUPEIUTUDIO'S history within the Florentine context ("Suicidal Desires". N o better moment. 'l'he timing for this revived interest in the 1960s' counter-culture is not that arbitrary either: we are again at a point where the convergence of technology and consumeristn. For this reason we have decided to initiate an operation of recovery. Monuo1cnts. though their current identities are not always transparently linked to their epic endeavours of youth.

misreading. The goal is to publish the group's niost significant projects along with a related collection of images and their accompanying writings. . and local cultural wrangling. Here every atteliipt has been made to pair significant texts and storyboards to their corresponding architectural projects. the story of just how the two groups were founded is tied as much to circumstances as it was to a prescient vision. whose works result from far deeper frustrations characterizing the profession in Europe. while devoting considerably less time to the msny provincial accents buried in the chaos of translation. The Radical bind between the groups does not necessarily imply that there were common denominators linking one to another.ithin Florentine circle of visionary architects there \\. T h e weakness in establishing ."' Gianni Pettena.. conceptual architecture. Andrea Branzi. in the often-contradictory positions held by these distinctive activist groups.. primitive technologies. Branzi's intent was to underscore just how insidiously the work of such a diverse num14 ber of subversive credos were penetrating the 1960s' mainstream The quickest link between the two groups SUPERSTUDIO and coming out of a particularly Florentine phenomenon that could. weaving the 111g o r ~ o ~experiments ir of the Californian Radicals to the more self-conscious language emerging in England. writing in 1973. as clearly those who saw themselves as neodadists were not necessarily willing to also act as nomadisrs.'' circle in the early 1960s. it has been conceived as a work of consultation and reflection. In- to Corretti. iconoclasm. This introductory essay will navigate through some of the peak episodes that mark SUPERSTUDIO'S architectural pro- the catchall phrase used to regroup the variety of tendencies that have aspired to shake off the liegemonic grip of modernist archius tecture in the 1960s. Paolo Deganello and Massimo Morozzi chose the des- his exhibition manifesto. we believe. storyboards and photos. we the scenes. insists on giving the movelnent a more sinuously fluid radiance. Finally Emilio Ambasz's conception for T h e Neru Dorncrtic Lorzdrcope makes the point that even \\. Radical architecture is an a m b i g ~ ~ omultive. neodadism. Pettena's panoramic view of the movement correctly depicts the international exchanges.ere several contradictory positions regarding the role of ilrchitecrurc and design -let alone radical politics. albeit with continental distinctions. one of the founding members of Archizoom. eclecticism. lent term that suggests different and clearly contrasting meanings. Austria and Italy.In umbrella definition for the Radical architecture movement therefore remains. another Radical player active at the time in Florence. encounters and exhibitions. through publications. gave this impression on the breadth of Radical movement: "Today the term 'Radical' architecture assembles at the international level all of the eccentric experimentation with regard to the straight line of the profession: counterdesign. was asked by the Jolly gallery in Pistoia to mount a second show of his paintings in November 1966.'" In effect. nomadism.! practical responses. While this publication is nor intended to become a catalogue raisonnk on the works of SUI>ERSTUDIO.

The storyboard narrative. From Kahn. 2 6 progressive visions on man and his relation to the built environment. who knew of a place to rent on high ground. an Italian national holiday. inspired the graphic-visual research behind the beguiling renderings that became the group's renowned signature. using technology as an interface medium for architecture. Natalini went to his friend Cristiano Toraldo di Francia. SUPERSTUDIO really only appears in some kind of recognizable form some time after the second show in Modena.'~oraldodi Franciak thesis presented in 1968. already developed as a form office. while all the while seeking to enzlsperate the per" charged actions. such as collage." In need of a dry place ro work.ln Toraldo di Francis's university thesis set the stage for a scientific-based research. represented a dialectical investigation into technology and the evolving social realm.. pop art. the Arno river overran its banks. Natalini recounts how he found himself almost under water as he worked through the night on the graphics for the Modena exhibition poster. a work that he himself has qualified as a work benveen "pop and the monumental". flooding Florence and the rest of the valley.16 first date would have turned out to be catastrophic. lagging a bit behind Archizoom. Shortly aftenvards they founded together the first SupERSTuDlo office at Via Bellosguardo 1. an illustrated storyboard created to serve as "maps for orientation . a background that provided him with exceptional skills in writing and storytelling. Andrea Bran28 and Masslmo Morozz. This pictorial exege- /1 1 P~sloia. adding his experience in working within the industrial design field. or adaptations from outside industries." From these preliminary three categories developed the first major critical project proposed by SUPERSTUDIO:the Journey info theRea11n ojReason. SuPERSTuDIO laboured to establish three categories for future research: the "architecture of the monument". The second category." In fact. Natalini immersed himself in the history of monuments." describing the unfolding relationship benveen natural and artificial environments.December 196G Adolo Nalalnl. ICr#rliano Toraldo dl Francla 1s laklng the p ~ c ~ u r e l ! . a "Machine for Vacations". In 1967 Roberto Magris entered the Bellosguardo office. Natalini's 1966 thesis on the Palazzo dell'Arte served as the initial genesis for the group's work on the architecture of the monument. The "super" code of conduct required that homes and offices of a prospecrive well-off clientele.. They were "super-operators".'' Over the course of 1967. cinema and dada. Fmssinelli's university research combined anthropology with architecture. As SUPERSTUDIO'S designs confounded the sense of scale and objective significance. later developed with greater refinement in the competition for the Fortezza da Basso completed in 1967. influenced him to study Louis Kahn. The architecture of the image provoked an extensive visual experimentation into techniques and appliques. on the architecture of the image. The making and shaping of these objects were consistently related to bricolage techniques. begun in 1964 under the direction of Leonardo Savioli. . appropriating from diverse sources. and as such producers of designs and objects that would be over-loaded with symbolism and poetic content. the "architecture of the image". O n 4 November. Natalini's thesis project on an art centre for Florence. it would take roughly a year for Adolfo Natalini and Cristi:mo Toraldo di Francia to collectively gather their forces to give a philosophical foundation to SUPERSTUDIO. and "tecnomorphic architecture". the unsuspecting user \vould find him or herself bccoming part of the critical process of the design. assemblies from exisring manufactured productions. Piero Frassinelli joined SUPERSI'UDIO in early April 1968. such as . in that they attempted to create more than a semblance of a legitimate practice.

S U P E ~ T U D I Oretrenched. From the catalogue of histograms followed effortlessly objects. "We prepared a catalogue of tri-dimensional non-contin"ous diagrams. furniture. and an owl in the forefront gliding straight towards the viewer. the 5 thousand varlat~onson the theme of the four leaned chalr. the addltlon of the histograms to the ij I i for other more pressing activities. . -.. aero I ' 1' I!. and consequently another level of poverty" '"Havlng recoenlzed the futllltv of the strategy.. a catalogue of histograms of architmure with reference to a grid transportable in diverse areas or scales for the edification of a nature both serene and immobile in mhich we might finally recognize (re-know) ourselves. A sort of death wish so beautiful and entrancing that the message really didn't seem to matter. 19 . s u P c n s T u D r o made yet another leap foniard. to engage In a life long " be in Every object has a 4 pract~calfunctlon and a contemplative one and ~tIS the latter that evasion d e s ~ g n1s seeklng to potentlate Thus there 1s an end to the $ 19th-century myths of reason as the explanation of everything. abandoning the last vestiges of a market-driven architecture. nor have they ever mattered much.j I with the four members posing at its base. But all these things didn't matter much. nonetheless came in the shape of a riddle.ha vfa ~ C I I L i these subvers~veobjects they reallzed " l n ~ t ~ a t ea dnew level of con sumerlsm. SUPERSTUDIO called for people " to live l ~ k eone long protest ". environments and architecture. a morbid group critique.. I i 1!11 - - 1 i! /!i/I! /I/ /I! !t! 111 . Mantcllato olllce 1981 1 _ e m in had become powerful tool for all 11s bare slmJust l ~ k the pllclty. erasing once and for all I plest a physlcal bar graph. The image. The surface of such hisroarams was homo- j/l I were also called 'the tombs of the architects'"." !.suporr~d~o tn .

.

totnlly uselcss an11 by clcs~gnauto-destructive" ' ~ ~ ~nllchncarer to the Frampton's read on \ u P r n r l ~ ocomes group's original intent. surlLmrunro projecte<l n sllenr. they will rncvitat>ly bc crushucl by 11s mach~nery. By the e n J of work.but instcnd J plisntom projection across. ""' Lrlcr /or C'l. I1 .~l~rhs.". so that we live w ~ t hobjects . Frampton may t. bilities. In \vIiich cveryone can reach <lifferenr gralles in the rlcveloprncnt of his possi.or. \!.bur thcy know very death ~ n l anger.\lotrdu."l'hc 21ternativc 1)rol)os3lsby Super-studio' appear in succusslon Inscd on ar! im~ginary. n~ficnntthat (~JI'LRSIUUIO chose to represent sucl~3 non-repress~ve world in terms of an arcl~itecruret h ~ was t virtually invis~blc. started in 1966 ~~y'~.os aI)out blind fnitli in rcclinological salvntion and the looming cffccrr of the A m c r i c a ~ ~ i z ~ t ~ o n or) hobitants.. \\.".y powcr.o e ~ ~ ~ ~ n : ~ c l . destruction of objects.~l cont~nuu:~~. led by Adolfo Nntalinl. ' i t 15 s ~ g .lvL. b~.reduced to the con<lirionof ncurro! and disposable elements) 2nd nor for objects. ~ c t e r i r c das defit~lng11fe In tcrms of instruments . rthcy .\lutrdu's cultural c<litorduring tlicsc ycars wns l t ~ l o ZI .~lse.~tIi ~ A~lolfoNat~linifollowed.rcvo~utionorybu! despotic He failed ulrlrnately in recollciling tlic ironic self-cr~tquethat functione~lCIS a ~l~sorclering col~rrolmcclinnis~n Fur if Jencks was not convinced that the Monument's haunting mcss~gccoul<lbe so f.I.11 f i r .here one might think of d c v i a ~ ~ n .g . looking for n new freeeg~litarianm t e .lnrl consumer gooJs. we m a n tlic elin~in:~rion of the accumulation of formal strucd tures of power . exccpt ~nsome cast. Dy thc elimination o i thc city.\lonr~t?ti9trt 35 3Jacobin ~rchitecture. unltu and divide 3ccording to the ~ncolnprehensit. C'utrt~trr~utrr. le f ~ c e din mirror-&ss.r to Italiar p ~ p e r s including . r~l that he recognized to be veiled bclou the image itself.':"I ro produce a body of work which was more or less divided betwecn representing the form of . " According to Frnml)ron.".~l. by chutes and pneulnaric tubes from tllc time of birth to rhc rilnc of death The machine takes c ~ r of e cvc~thing.\lyrticol RL.Kenneth Frampton's interpretation of S U I ~ ~ K S ~picked ~ D I O up on a counter c ~ ~ l t umessage. 7hlr. appe~ringin the D ~ e l n b e rI971 I S S U ~of AD. 111ahnost evcry "lded" city the pre<lominant tlic~nuu.~lsoconfirms tl1.:$'~~. l solnetimes also rcbcll~on.~ e e 2 h D ' c " """e"" ' 'I ban sign and proclucing a scricr oivignertcs illustrating . "'l'he i n h ~ b ~ t a nIlve t s ~n the machine endlessly drugged along Ijy conveyor bclrs."" g 7ir r9lve 7 ~ l r .~ltcre<l spari. should not be ~nterprete<l as n monulnent.lcprogrnmming o l the m ~ c h i n c . along the innumcrJbls routcs \vliich intersccr.I world from which consumer goods had !xen elilninated Their work varied from the projection of v ~ s ~t m ~ c n e t r n bmeg..ltions ilnposcd t. u. where v~siblc. sex n l ~ dhope. .iml)oss~ble:lnJ playfid archirectu~"An i n r c w .fictionIsndscape in which nature had been rcndcrcd benevolent '. ' Bcyoncl the rule of thc perforrn~nceprinciple" noted Framp.lr: I'rr~ttronitio."~~. well 11131if they get off r l i e o b l ~ g ~ r rou:es o r ~ established by the InJchine.'.I 'Continuous Monument' as a mute ur.il form occupying an existing Ian~lscope.e suggesting. .c mean tlie destr~ctionof their artributes of 'srarus' 2nd the conr~ot. Thc inhi~bitnntsf ~ n dfood and (car. . anti-futurisr :~ncltechnologicslly optimistic utopia . bfitrrmi.SUPLRSTUDIO. I. Natal~ni. ~ I I 111s I commentary . 'l'he revieu~errum~rkccl." Charles Jencks preferred to inrcrprct I%eCbt~trnt~utrr .the elimin~tionof thc clty 3s Ilier~rchy~ n social model. onc step ~t t i ~ n e As Natalini cmphasizc~l "By tht.g~nning from equal starting i)oinrs. to lack legibilirv turrnsrunro c<lnscio~~sly examined each u laycr ~n the proccss of <lesign 2nd arch~tcctureand butlt its alter.3 strangely .birrhu/ Ur. sleep an11 juy.". hncl sent our scvera1 dozcn copies of the 7ir. . Once SUPLKS'rLDIO finlshcrl p r o d ~ l c ~ nthe lislicd a short uns~gneclreview on pagc 29 titlcd '12 Citti dcl futuro" ( I 2 cities of the future^.i'The whole operation.in any event.s . ' . we mean the end of spcci:~lize~l on4 rcpcritive work Seen as an sewe~l:'' . to thc <lcpicrlon of 3 sr~ence. ton. h ~ c hthe philosopher Herberr Marcuse had alread) char. ' u . I1 .~r/ ~vasnor so cloakc<lin irony alld alnbigul.rro/thr.nntive para<ligm.ten~por.\lotrr~rnr.rirtm.

what kind of influence would the svPEllsruD1o piece have had on Calvino if he had indeed read it in 1971 . ~ e rindecorously i~ neutralized layers of gratuitous his- logue. to switch roles. not to mention a whole generation of architects. T h e Disinril Mou. o r the architecture: as in their FiueSuburbor~I'illos project.the coincidence nonetheless renlains intriguing. Another cautionary tale? Also durine this time sulJaHs. Instead.ruolo began the production of its I background In one rnemorable scene w h ~ l ethe rhythlns are heard n~elodlcallvIn the backeround the astronauts." A poetic re~niseerr sci. SUPERS. the group moved to espouse the complete reversal of the normative condition. As they describe it is " . each super- Their ~ n s s f l o rplastic ~ lamp was selected by the show's c u n t o r Emilio Ambasz for the "Obiects" section of the exhibit. In 1972 I. I' 1 torical symbolisms associated with the making of monumental ar- V ? k f iijjl $jilt fi!ig (jp . desert landscapes and people in the act of fa- the effects arc indeed at times simplistic. sought to re-conceptualize the position of urchitecture altogether They discarded the role of the c r e n o r the d e signer. seen feedme on reconsideration of domestic space. co find architecture in one's olun life.'" This project.lroin. which took the form of a small plastic model. urhich portrays a youthful sybarite world of nomadic pleasures not enslaved to designed objects of mass consumption but free to experience their a nostalgia precisely for primal knowledge on earth.I Though the connection remains speculative . . SUI'ERSTUDIO'S incursion into the world of film begins far from earth: evcrvrhinn. Srrpcrsurfnce and remain one of their outside this burdensome dichotomy.i id pi . Calvino's short stories had a vast influence on the general public. beginning with the MOCIA show."She is depicted sadly marooned amid her appliances on r small grass island in the middle of a plane "wirhout any messages in bottles". ." The images reproduced in the catalogue ore nine variations from their film project Life. but nonetheless powerful precisely because the hypcr-gadgetry of space-capsule life is suddenly reduced to a tribal ritc.In alter~lativemodel of existence". ~ a . the architect.~are the histogram objects that penetrate the galaxy. SUIXI&UDIO. In addi- titr~rorrsr M o . a reconsideration of thc relations between the process of design and the environment through .UI'EIISTU!JIOoarticioated in thc Museum of Modern to remove all commercially driven clutter from the object.rUDIOcollage their slick drawings of satellites.~iein which the real protegonis. "from the moon to the planets is archi- "no intention of doing withoutn. In the catalogue this image is the foil for another. repeated ro infinity in a cubed light box.

furnishing answers to rigidly stated problems Even if 11s answers . the nrchitcct bccolnes nccornplice to the rnachu~at~or~s of the system Then the av. 26 strurncnts nccuratcly predisposrd to avold nny dev~arion 'rhc working-class holnc rcsernbles a st3tcly vllln in the sarnc 1t13y3s tlie dcsi<n of 3 Radical .oriented 1 cxplolt3tion of the deigrl profession Of course tlils would he hy riow irnposs~blcto persevere. ~ y s ~ . year: The illustr:~tedtcxts for thc Frfih Ftorda111e. now. by shifting llle ~ O C L I of S the11 resenrch on. a collage anllnntion with its flnnl scquencc filmcd outdoors in nature with n )oung couple. Rut it should be c l e x that \\. to t l ~ prlm. Coriccivcd as :an experimental film opus.rc project suggests some very inrerest~ngaltcrnntive p ~ h to s folio\\.energy conscrvntion. thv decisions on the Accepting his rolc. orily I. Llke the one for T/>/. reconsrirutcs thcmselves as best 3s the) cln. liowcver. d conternplntes the existence of rhc architect.~o.in move freely 3cross the lsndscnpe rns~den clty of tlic mind' File Ftrndarnrtifol .r/e.. Ct.' C P ~ L ~ I Iwns IOI~) shot IIVC ~n Florcncc the follo\v~n. nonetheless moved parallel with the S U I ~ C R \ur~ro's I sccond phase oiproduction.rrt. the fundnrnen131 tliclncs of our lives. never renl~zcdw:rhln r h ~ ss:lmc enselnble. you c. The resc3rcli and tcrial Cultt.7l . I\rcliitecturc relnains 3t the limit.ndousscope ~ n vision.no sequel truly possible.iction poss.. and Death.r~Co~tt~~tt. play.~trr Alo~tIO?IPN~.lr) c building blocks ~hemsclvcs. arid Intcrvenes only 31 3 ccrta~ripoint in tlic process. \vhcn you c3n expcrlencc 11 through merely I l v ~ n when ~ . succeeded In cleansing ~ r c h i tccture of all so-rces of contamlnntlon The only quancl. This tent~ttveanthropologicnl and ph~losophicalfound."" SUI'LIISTUD!~. Their collecrivc s t r ~ t c g ~ ethough s. 7 1published In series in rtor) honrd forrnx. usually when hchnviour 113s dreadYbeen entlrely codified.Ire nberr:lnt or evn.:r. the stor)boards for the I:r~cF I O I ~ ~ I I I Lwere ~ Nd~~ ~d ~/ c~t ~i cC ~ T In nnturc. 'rhc FILCF ! l ~ ~ d r ~ t ~Acts ~ ~ ~\\. given the rnentir~griot just the style of life 111 the far renchcs of the Italian cour~tryslde. sUllEalulIto's rn3nifcsto states: "Architecture never touches the great thelnes. a sliort-IivcJ but s~gri~ficont mcctlrlg of niirids bcrwccn rlic far flurig rncmbcrs of the Radical ..I tempts to rake arcliitccturc onto n dlffcrent philosophic~lplnte. Carrhrllo published $I'PEIL%TL'DIO~ ttor y b o ~ r d s~ n texts d for t l ~ cF I I CF1~11da. St~prrrt~r/acc and Ccre. It Iielpcd to dcvclop liantly creative i r i the use of rcc)cled matcri~ls. the W I I II ( .iriori of architccturc becomes the centre of our reductive process.hut nlso the rigours of poverty.11Act Death wns set to a slidc show a t t h nn audlo soundtrack. is what does In fact arcli~rccturclook likc \\.hen ) o u have the chance ro hcgln all over.~rchitccturelnovemcnt.. one lnlght nrgue. The move cotr~cidedwith rhe co-tounding ot Global Tools 111 1973. The prolecr.ble :~fterwnrds. co~~tplrt on Iifc.1~1he ~lrnostno recourse to .:.int-gnrdc architect f d s one of the nost r~gldlyhxed roles dike the young lover 111 p l . Renvecn 1972 2nd 1973. the work of x P c u n r ) ~ oentered by fiar into 3 seconcl plirse ~ r wliicli i the group.111.thc differcnce Ires only in the quantities i r ~ of ltv~nghnvc 31rc3dy hcen made. ns Peter Lang polnts our in Su~cirlnlDesirss". 3 r d multiple uses.in inrensivc aca- Solo charr dcrnically founded stilrl) on the making of peasnnt tools and sheltcrj.r) were completed in f ~ l ~version.~to~ty.n.ere t .rlirough . Bctr: I. was screened for the MO\IA exhibition TI>?Nero Do.hat S L I ' E R ~ T U D ~ ~ brought to their phase of research was the intcrisivc desire not to repeat the forrnul~t h ~ would r onl) serve to prolorig the conuncr~ 1 3rnnrkct. of tre~nc.~rrtrcLn~~drcapc ~n 1972.rn. Edtica!to.r/.auld r e m a n .Icfr srrs in motion such a level of dcstabtlization that there would in f. of course. . After 1973.it. Lo1 C. n SNpr.iry that \\.t.~ry nrcli~tcct. distributed recourses.r/c.irchitect that of :~riacadernlc or re:~ction.

.lm Menkinx. \vho. our. D . I4 Decembcr 2002) " For rhe lncn>hcrs o f 1982.e\.ttcd highly respec14 nnlong [he b l ~ i o ocnh~logue. 7 December 2002).C. .thclla. mafizinm.igbrg 0 tinuourMonluuc~~t"... cxh~hirlon tisenlenrr chsr ere increar. 19).mr rubdccicr rr chc Ava~ir-Gurdc.dogue(Ilorrncc:iM&IM. i n 1986. ~ e ed. ' Sar.. Inrritut d i r r con.r. ingly jumping onto the ~ i l ear the endless fondling 2002): 7'brCl~n. to its soundrmck. 1974. rcprinted in /'I.Aleaarndro Poli i n 1970.I rc~l. no erclliblay ZOO1 iBlrcclon. \/I/iria. magazines.~noTorsldo d i Fr. Percr L ~ n y l i ~ ~ ~ l 0 f ~ u 1 ~ 1 3bucn.ngits ~pllyscc~l em- York: bodimenr.lrcc.s.eshi.in rhc 1990s lo b c r ~ c r a bix rhcmc . 2001). mucll emphasis on thc L.per/ior merabolis~r'influences re. tnenti di C.14).1<b. ed.115.un.) \rhole r n n ~ e 2002. " {hid ". Redicale".llogoe (Flo. l e c t ~ r e l 6~ O he L PIIS\YCI 10 agon.ilh soundrrack. producerl by " lhrrl 248. in' ' 28 ic.d Anchor Uookr. lb.~tely to un-design their surroundings like no other group before or after them.~?rd:Arrr ?brc.sr~~. (no.G~rrdc. 'The Con. rrcbi~cc~urei~~.er. : ' .. opniznble lungudgc" r n d rhdr ir encornpurred ". rcnce: Ven~ll. ~ f ~ r r ~r b c l l o r ~ w r d G i / ~ ~<.1996).elf i .1 It~clical ' 'I'he ~ u m "lndicitl".tr.ir.~~ostn.e. Sco~rBmunnndS~wcLen1' 011 lcfi rhc group in 1972. u t ~ ~ a m o ~ "Invendon o.Lf\.lvu.l e l i a n ro C n ~ l i r hfor thc qu~cklocriricire~hcmoveI C I ~ I ~ M ~ I > .. 1973.lncl.ithour t ~ d ~ c r i h t h c s p e c ~ f i c r n .iUo. m.rrro.llc.iew wtrh Crnstl. X r 5 7 ) . i n VI b b g r i r joincd i n 1967. Orlztndini. Archr/c~!~.ru IY68-IY8Y. !r. ~r.. Ne\v York. wcrc b. xrsms".~rsinelliin 1968 mdicdcnle icir. ~ i o r r n i Wr. concetved ro displt~y primsrily thusis projec.iblilun: Docu. Dcnisc It B. hibir.l rion (Ne\r.l'. :" I'erer b~.th Dcyong plsced roo hlonumenrContinu 1969".lnal. "Archicer~uia rccrurc 1960/75".ICJIO~~~.lli[~i iFlorcncu. This is onc oi rlie srgumcncr developer1 in Peter Lnnx's essay "Sui. .\. vr.Jt~nuoryinternrrionsl journals and metx: 'IIo\r.i.:~rr.rh. of arustic pracricer. Thc cy o f aut'altiruolo rec D . This process of repeatedly and critically re-esamining the normal drifts and currents moving across the domestic landscapes has led them to design. Knrding~helrdlidnRroupa. ofiirelev.~bro.. 481.t. Sourif.Du. Irrrerplioi~~~u~..c writlngr \r.~. 2002). i n Arc11. or perhaps more appropri..my rmdly:oups a. and requires further res~omcion.moricao f ciun".c.~a(no. " A.r.Villcursulan. 1r. though il is porC.mg iMil.r u ~ > ~'His~o.. dirbdndcd g~ncrrl. Roberto "'C. "M~. ~n1.~p t o o n ~ u c b n r c h i ~ e c ~ u r e . 1972. i r too A aut. Urban Foturc".~~irrbc.rrolc ..re dell.l: Di. o.If SUI~EWTUDIOhas succeeded in contributing to any particure it would be not so much lar lesson to inventing a f ~ ~ t uarchitecture. I~L. The (%d..lng.llion voice avcr. Brrnri strc>serlin . aut~t.rrcrrrr nalrnb. coined by Ccrmnno CrLnr to describc .iez.lr "not . L.11~:Design and Archifoundcn in 1966. c r i t i c r ~look l at the objects that surround our lives. Frb~nces Urunror 1rdns1.i(.~~~nI~~ del. e x h i b i ~ i o l l " F o r n de~uileddircuns~on other excrmlc i n the orhcr on the contemporaly Icgil..c 6 1 ~ ~ 1 Oadminirrcr : ixr current and 1Villi.rrenirrri. Rouillard. 80).rd 1 Kad?c~lr.t~~iuoto. Dccember 1969). dr Ve. 31).rerction of thc anti-archi. sibly Ins h r r n ~ f uonly l bcMureurn o f Modern Arr (New York: . "Supcrr~udio: c u r e ir seldom gels builr.April 2001. York: a!oat. hibirion cnr..siuoto..~ (Filotrfilno.n.lr. i n T. ..rgbigo/~/1~~computur screens. s u ~ r t a .r cent ~nrervieu.Picro Fr.' Nuvoncand R. "lnrroducPeccr L.mg.I~chitcc~~~r(~..18--19.\ruolc tcrts from Radical community.r L.ir11 Adolfo h'. cx. rcconsrirured ir. xlng lirrle lnrerner rdver.. ri. the strict critical vision focused on their own roles in the much larger chain of production. r m n i Print.lortr"l. rm~rof~iDirp. l'ct~..~g~/n.Pcrrenu. We are far enough along again to perform similarly criticnl interrogations and we hope as the editors of this project that SUPCRSTUDIO'S contribution may be to take another. inturvieiv a.i(/r. m d Almsandm M a g r ~ s ~ ~ n"d Roben Vcnruri.com.erL. Dcyonp.>n: CdiS.rr.~.r~clrrre . inrcr!. : Pop-ups ure thole n.~ h e r u r h o nbeliwc. 11).rl~~pri~sfuc.>nne. Arch. the individual "pieces" as it would be the process itself. Arcl~irccrrrriDnirm. Brrnzi. " rbrd 2.Riley.

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As the characters move with empty gestures through Red Desert's world of manufactured sensations. more urban. The different directions. only a siren-like song seems to penetrate the ambient stupor. with sl>eculative buildings spm\rrling randomly through the urban peripheries and under reinforced buildings tragically collapsing in known high-risk earthquake zones. nor sufficient safety regulations to ensure proper building methods. During the 1960s the student population in the national university system doubled to half a nill lion students. as a "super-office". neuroses. Michelangelo Antonioni in his 1964 film Red Desert. providing sufficient momentum behind the rise of a mass student culture.whose beginnings are announced in the historical staging of the 1966 Superarchitectnre exhibit in Pistoia. Yet to understand SUI~LRSTUDIOit remains essential to understand the university climate that existed in Florence during the 1960s. The primal recall remains an insidious reminder of a simpler past.. as well as intergenerational conflicts.. the more it needs the artwork. rationalization. in fact. That \vould be the accomplishment of the post-war governments. a design and architectural office that happened to have an extremely deep and foreboding sense of history and belligerent behaviour. Economic expansion came late relative to other European countries. adequate service facilities like parks or parking lots. These themes informed the un- derlying critique that constituted the group's thoughts and actions from the initial founding in 1966 to thelate 1970s."' Aesthetic manifestations depicting the general malaise of Italy's upwardly mobile classes and alieliated youth increasingly surfaced in the arts and in cinema by the mid-1960s. a spectacularly personal inquiry and psychological confession on the existential state of cinema and society. creating in 1963 Eight and a Hnlf.' Over the course of their activities.32 Fascist regime contributed to the invention of Italian mass society. finds its inception in Florence's rebellious youth culture. SUl~ElaTUDlOelaborated on the grand themes of alienation. These are therefore the issues to follow in order to get to the heart of suPel?srumo's deeply internalized rebellion against architecture. As Siegfied Kracauer noted.the six members of the group did not come from the same ideological background or belong to the same student tablished its characteristic identity. The story of SUPEilSTUDfO. but adapting to this new consumer-oriented lifestyle inevitably meant ruptures to traditional habits. more enatnoured with their object world. 'rlie entire national university was put to test in the 1960s. SUPLRSTUDIO'S genesis. precisely because the generation of students who completed their e d u ~ l t i o nthere were marked much differently than else- modernization. After La r l o b vita was released in 1960.' This gradual slide towards social breakdown was brought into explicit view through the work of some of the country's most creative cinematographic artists. pressured by students and many of thc faculties to renovate the archaic .' The results were catastrophic. constructed a spiritually deprived vision of postlinked to a devastated landscape war Iraly that was her~neticall~ of smog-choked fiactories and polluted landscapes. "the more life is submerged. But these epic themes also can be seen to reflect tnore formulative life trajectories. The gro\\~ingprosperity within the Italinn society exposed ever-deepening rifts urithin the communities at large. which unseals its withdrawnness and puts its pieces back in place. and thc more innovative faculties found themselves isolated if not removed from participating in the city's architectural and urban development. urith no co~itrolsplaced on land uses. Italians were becoming more mobile. the university administered itself as the pedantic gatekeeper of this very same cultural legacy. but did not construct a mass consumer culture. Private initiatives in housing were given a "free hand". a symbolic metaphor that would find its echo in the reflections on che builc environment among the young generation of architects who would form the nucleus of sUl%l<n'ut11(). cannot be linked to a specific student movetnent .' In many aspccts SUI'ERSTUDIO was formed just as their name implied. but the symptonls of estrangement among the post-war Italian middle classes bore the common traits of similar Western industrialized countries. therapy and the visceral fortns of suicide. whose laws were designed to promote private investments to the exclusion of all else. Federico Fellini turned the camera on himself and his profession.

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Milan's publication houses quickly became the principal platforms for national debates on the future of Modernist architecture. Adalberto Libera and Luigi Moretti among others. H e quickly established under the aegis of AI'OA the first "organic school" in Italy inspired largely by Frank Lloyd Wright. Zevi's American connections and deep dedication to reforming Italian architectural culture had immediate impact on post-war debates. for Architectural Studies (MSA) was founded in Milan in 1945 with the goal of opposing a traditional academic education. developed an urbanistic architectural language that. went largely unchallenged by the city's traditional planning strategists.~ The urban fabric in and around Milan was heavily damaged during the drawn-out allied bombing campaigns. Florence would also have its opportunities to grab the centre of the debate. the State-subsidized housing authority. reconstruction proceeded quickly. The MoveInent. heavily darnaged during the German wartime withdrawal on 4 August 1944.. Many younger Italian architects joined efforts with Zevi in reconstituting the Roman scene. Ernesto Narhan Rogers took over Dornrrs from G i o Ponti in 1946 and then moved over to launch an improved Casabella-Corrtinuit in 1954 (the magazine remained under his direction until 1967). O n e of the challenges was to re-evaluate and re-conceprualize a contemporary architectural style that could reconcile both Modernist and Neo-classical contaminarion from rhe Fascist period.. the third was the significance of the student activist lnovements in directly and indirectly contributing to reconstituting the School of Architecture into one of the most openly receptive . succeeded in promoting the development o f a n urban-scale hybrid Modernism combining labour intensive craft-work with advanced concrete frame technol~gies.36 gree. did not gain much public support.\-Casa. while Leonardo Savioli's more timid Micheluc- Ricci. the second concerned the equally disappointing manner in which the city expanded to ~iieetthe growing populatio~iand manufacturing needs in rhe same period. The first was the failed reconstruction of Florence's city centre. through the sponsorship of IN. Over thc next decade. As the country's major economic centre. conceived with the participation of the Milanese members of CIAM.led to feeble and greatly colnpromised reconstruction of the histori- . T h e development of the city's regional master-plan.if also least recognized -grounds for architectural commercial districts abandoned to more ad hoc rebuilding meth- Benedetto Croce. In 1947 the Milan Triennale opened its VIII edition featuring the most recent post-war developments in social housing and urban reconstruction." In Manfredo Tafuri's opinion the ensuing proposals for the heavily damaged areas ". but it seems that each occasion was squandered by internecine quarrels among bitterly competing interests. The Lombard city was already predisposed to developing a Functionalist and Neo-rationalist style of architecture to plug the many damaged sites. There are three kcy aspects that when collapsed together help explain the peculiar condition of Florence's conflictual artistic and architectural culture in the post-war period. Mario Kdolfi.

Jaq.1ooqss aql j o palualel lsom aql Bu!qsnd e p u e l s !p o p l e ~ oue!ls!~3 o~ 01 Bu!p~osse' a ~ n l n j s&lp aql m o l j slsal!qsle Bu!pea1 s.a~nlsal!qs~e ~I!A\ op 01 Bu!qlou seq qs!q~\ssaso~de qBno1ql jlasl! palsn~lsuos-olne.ha -qd!~ad8u!puadxa L[p!de~aql j o uo!lsnllsuos pup Bu!uue[d aql 10 ' a ~ l u a saql j o uo!lsnllsuosal aql Jaql!a u! aloJ ~eluamnJlsu! ue j o padd!~lspue ap!se paqsnd sayasruaql punoj slsal!qsJe au!luaJ -old ~ u a u ! u o ~Isom d aql ' u ~ a l l e dle!y!mej X[Bu!sea~su!ue amos -aq p[nom leqm UI ..I .uo!s!~ ysel p[non\ osle Bu!le~luasuos mou sem payad em-]sod aql u! q u \ o ~ % p a l aql j o qsnm alaqm 'h!s aql j o scale l e ~ a q d ! ~ aaql d j o uo!lsnJlsuos pus Bu!uucld aql 'arqA\ .....a~aqmas[a suo!l!sod ~ olja[ j 01 -ohauaa opleuoa? Kq pamo[[oj ' $ 9 6 ~u! ! u o ~ e n oo s p o p n ~ ' z 9 6 1 u! e l a q q ollaqlepv auo b q auo puc 's046r ale[ aql Xq eu3o[og u! luaml~edap8u!Jaau!8ua aql 01 a[!xa-j[as olu! luam !ssn[aqs!Ty : s ~ o s s a j o ~luau!ruo~d d sou S!I j o kuuru so961 a q l j o p o ! ~ a d b~ea s!ql u! lsol asualo[.I :pauasqo !AaZ o u n q .oue auo m o ~ ~su!ls!p j Ll!luap! [eJnlsal!qsJe 10 les!%oloap! alq!Ba[ i([qeuosea~e pamas -laA!un s!eqsJe pus paleplno aql 1su!e8e sa188n~lss!da asaqJ soo!~el!Be pal-luapnls aql uo pr1n~ruo-~~ll~qoso3q~s~ u! a u y aql le 8u! aql B u ! ~ n ~ ! ~ s u'asmoss!p os [eJnl[ns L ~ e ~ o d r u a l u oasq ~ u! sluaAa 1ues!j!u8!s lsom aql pu!qaq aJam ue1:Ty pue aruox 'payad JEA\ -]sod a..Ll!s aql se sJ!ns -1nd 1es!laJoaql ~ a d a a p . ye!lua~odaql j o I n o a8~ama01 asmoss!p lelnual!qsJe ulapom lusnalal j o pu!y bue l u a ~ a 01 ~ dpa~!dsuosl a q l sasuelsmnsl!s j o ]as aBue1ls aqJ ..%\ ~ sIsal!qxe aqJ .~sa!o~d aql InsJapun 01 pamaas k[uo 'auoz @!nsnpu! yea[q e m o J j ssolse Lpsa~!pK a l l e ~OUJV aql j o l e o l q l aql le 'a~!saql j o uo!~sal -as paz!ql![od K l a l e u n ~ ~ o j u aql n 'aue8~os'Ll!unmmos mau leap! ue qsle~ssm o l j 8u!deqs u! paassns p!p !JJX PUB !IO!AES U a w \ . s y ~ e duaa18 j o luamdola~apl o sa>!hlas alenbape u! I S ~ A -u! 01 8u!nsq Inoql!m 'a1nlsal!qsle j o bl!lenb a q l au!mJalap pue sal!s j o as!oqs aql a ~ e u ! u o p01 alqe aJam sJolsai\u! L l ~ a d o ~ pue d [C!~UWU'J aql .u!e8e a s u o .an[eA [elnlsal!qsJe l u e l ~ o d m ! s.e!parum! aql U.uo!lsnJlsuos pus u%!sapBu!p[!nq '8u!uueld ueqm ..asuaJolj j o luawa8eBuas!p PI -01 aql aq p p o m sa!l!unl~oddo pass!m asaql j o u y j a Jau aqJ ..sa!l!s aA!lsadsal l!aql u! pa8eBua a ~ o m~ eSEA\ j kqnsej qsea uept\l pue aruox q o q UI dllnsej am1 -sal!qsle au!lualols aql j o asueAaIa1aql pampa1 Kla~ahasa m q 01 smaas 'asuaJolg j o uo!]snllsuosaJ aql uo 'csuossa[.]uarudola~aplale[ s'i(l!s aql j o qsnm l o j pallns -uos b [ a ~ eam.~ aolu! ~ a slaqssal s..e j o sa[d!su!~d aql 01 Injql!q aq 01 panu!luos uert\l a1!qmZsanss! [elnlsal!qsJe aless-ucq~nuo pasnsoj blled!supd Bu!u!ema~ aruox 'so961 aql q 8 n o ~ qploq l saqxls aqJ .

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with extensive meetings." But in less than a flash. whose entire economy functioned outside of major industries like Milan or the huge bureaucracies like Rome. o r getting swept into working class struggles. dle class were incapable of seeing beyond the city's customary traditions. or protesting national policies. students moved in smaller circles: but one event in 1966 would act to pull the \\thole architectural community together the past. The planning for the first Superarcl~irecrr~re exhibition in Pis- the Arno valley as an enormous lake.. the sound artists from l3uxus. Florentines were gradually becoming acquainted with the most important players on the European art circuit. performance artists like Allan tions threw the two events out of sequence. Alessandro Mendini's land of "Good design" could be almost anywhere 42 If in fact Florence was hopelessly blocked by traditional conventions. And then of course there is the historically rich city of Florence.. Florence was primarily an artisan-manufacturing centre with a very powerful shopkeeper middleclass. Students attending the School of Architecture in Florence in the 1960s had a much harder time finding work.'" T h e students and the faculty engaged in a decade-long ideological battle over the substance of a contemporary architectural education and this critical discourse undoubtedly succeeded in recasting the fundamental issues of the Florentine school. Scenes ments of artifacts from the river? sediment and painstakingly handling them like birds caught in an oil slick were emotionally stirring. more events and experimental projects. but ultimately a setback to the cause. There would be little time for Archizoom and sUPER5'TUD10 to evolve between the two . One lives there and one sleeps there . the city's artistic community had been taking important steps towards building a receptive place for an alternative contemporary art culture. the point may in fact not have been whether the reforms to the university system ever were entirely successful. Without the distractions of the big city setting. all-night sit- Kaprow. The prolonged struggle for educational reform is to be credited with furnishing the powerful rhetorical ammunition exploited so proficiently by the Superarcbiterlure generation. now buried deep under metres of mud and debris. assemblies. the pre-eminent video centre featuring the likes of Bill Viola) was one of the first galleries to bring internationally acclaimed artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol.." Piero Frassinelli opined: ".bly energetic." Over the Ions term.. others never came close. Maria Gloria Bicocchi's gallery Centrodiffusionegrafica on Piazza Saltarelli (later to become a d t a p e s 22.Radical architecture is born in the occupied university. With all the talented artisans and small manufacturing in a state of existence that was neither reliably authentic nor confurniture and leather luxury goods for the upper classes. some reforms were achieved.

sentative medium itself, as it does from their subversive message.
SUPERSTUD~O
from beginning to end stripped architecture down
to i n most essential meaning.
SUI'ERSTUDIO requires additional levels of reading, precisely because there are degrees of deception constantly present in their elaborately assembled images and projects. Their highly seductive and
visually pleasing visions tend to veil a biting critique collaged just
below the surface. Each stage of their work is meant to eel back
another layer of social paralysis, of futile dreams and debilitating
social infrastructures. SUPERSTUDIOworked from positions of deep
familiarity, destabilizing from within each and every aspect of the
architectural discourse. Florence, as one of the most significant artistic destinations o n the 19th-century Grand Tour, finds itself transported in the work of SUPERSTUDIOinto a dimension of science fiction, history's other." Twelve Carrtionary Talesfor Christmas: Pren~o,ti!io~ts
of the M)~sticalRebirth of Urbanism, apart from its anti-utopian visions and very personal form of inquisitiveness, refuses
to celebrate the role of architecture and urban design in the construction of city lile.'" The exquisitely drafted sections, axonometrics and illustrations depicting the twelve cities reassure the

Piero Frassinelli, seem in the end to be much closer to a critique
o n the present than evocations for the future: the twelve scenes
unfold like exaggerated projections on some of o u r most common
obsessions, where consumer culture goes blind, bureaucracies go
mindless, high-technology pacifies. This may also be interpreted
as a critique of Americanization, a rising hen omen on in the contemporary Italian scene. The suggestive subtitle, "SUPERSTUDIO
evoke nvelve visions of ideal cities, the supreme achirvement of twenty thousand years of civilization, blood sweat and tears. The Final
Heaven of Man in possession of Truth, free from contradiction,
equivocation and indecision; totally and forever replete with his own
PERFECTION ...", implies just such a world specially made for you,
with no need to do anything except to find the button. The project was not really about anti-utopias, but was SUPERSTUDIO'S
stark
premonition on where contemporary trends were leading.
office had schizoFrom 1966 to 1973 the SUPERSTUD~O
phrenically advanced by pursuing o n one hand pragmatic and successlul furniture designs, train cars, residential and commercial
buildings (the group could count o n the industrial design experience of Roberto Magris), and on the other by progressively dissecting those very same projects to reduce the variations, to
streamline the waste, to eliminate all clutter. The process devel4s oped into a series of checks and balances, whereby the theory en-

trolled and modified. This is what Adolfo Natalini referred to as
"theory

+

practice

+

theory check", that ran into all sorts of

This may well have been an inevitable outcome for a research
project that began with the typological ordering of architectural
monuments, images and ambient technology; and gradually spread
farenough out to bring into its orbit a world of objects and buildings, of monuments and landscapes, until nothing remained untouched by its reductive powers. SUPERSTUDIOdutifully maintained

us want to change ... but also allow us to retreat back to the con,.
fort of our real homes, our heavy objects, our annoying lives.
But from 1973 on, coinciding with Adolfo Natalinii teaching
appointment at the School of Architecture in Florence, the group
moved in hvo different directions. It was a moment of deep reassessment. The individual members began working more independently on different types of projects, but also moved into the
academic research and teaching. Natalini's class, taught with the
assistance of Alessandro Poli, Cristiano Toraldo di Francia and Piero
Frassinelli, investigated the everyday use of objects in contemporary culture. Under the title of Ex~ra-UrbanMa~erralCukure,students were asked to return to their local family origins, and help
anthropologically document the material culture slowly disappearing in the countryside. Natalini's famed lectures on the walking stick -he boasts a large collection of handmade and manu-

48

The course in effect initiated a second phase in the SUPERSTUDIO
oeuvre; whereby there is a concerted attempt ro find a way to reconstruct the bare elements of a new architecture.
T h e anthropological research on primitive Italian peosanr culruse, its tools and shelters, was one of the few projects of its kind
going on during these years. Considcring the massive scale of the
fami exodus into the 1960s, the real risk, that has since proved
founded, was the permanent loss of a highly sustainable lowgrade human ecology. E s t ~ < r - U r b o1'4oter;ol
,~
C ~ ~ l t r ibears
re
little resemblance to the fanfare and hoopla created around the 1973
Global Tools symposium, which remaincd transfixed by consumer
culture. SUPERSTUDIOinitiated Histog~a171s,back in 1969, with the
intention of reducing design and architecture to a single threedimensional manipulation of surfaces. When SUPERSTUDIO began
its study on the design of silnple multi-functional utensils in 1973,
it w:~snot to design a better and more marketable product bur to
de
that were uniquely versatile.
find proven l ~ w - ~ r a technologies
The peasant farmer Zeno, in his native home in Tuscany, rebuilt a bent-wood chair from the turn of the century, piecc by
piece, over the course of about fifty years. Every reiteration presenled the chair's proportions and function, though each time thc
artifact was slightly modified. The goal of the research was to documenr and le:~rnfrom these extraordinary human experiences; but
this phase of SUIJEI(STUDI~'S research lacked the checks, balances
and earlier ironies that might have successfully lifted this project
back on to a more international platform. A broad overvie\\, of the
project including many examples drawn from tlie student research
was later mounted at the 1978 Venice Biennale to exhibit the category of Architecture, under the title of l'roject Ze11o. This strangely Heideggerian vision of the new world, a familiar revisiting of van
Gogh's contemplation on a pair of peasant shoes, suggests a project that nonetheless reconnects with the r e c l ~ r of
t ~ architecture.
SUI'ERSTUDIO also presented The WiJe o J L o t , consisting of a
welded iron table and moving tower designed to hold a fluid pouch
filled with water. A tube dripped water over five salt nloulds representing the historical stages of architecture: the pyrsmid, the
coliseum, the basilica, Versailles and the Villa Savoye. With time,
as in fact was the case, each of the salt moulds disappeared, a
demonstration on archirecture's inevitable dissolution. This project more than anything else physically embodied the dilemma of
;~rchitecture'sephemeral existence, \vith the additional tension
(hat such a delicately framed iron and s;llt structure produces by
sitting at the edge of Venice's Grand Canal. The artifact has since
been lost, but its idea lives on as the anti-monument dedicatcd to
the mother of all monuments.
The strange combination of professional practice and theoretical insurrectionism; of profitable industry contracts and sarcastic

I

assaults on consumerism; of global fame and peasant culture, are
the conflictual relationships in a body of research committed to
engaging mainstream society. Thc members of S U I ~ E R S T U Dhave
~~
sought t~ discover the way towards making a better society, made
up of individu:~lsresponsible to their communities, critically cog.
nizant of their natural resources and shared cultures.
The fundamental issues from the group's early beginnings Xrcere
all directed towards a c r ~ t i q i of
~ ea hegemonic modernization: N ~ .

If the architect cannot become architecture, is there anything left
but to take one's leave of the stage?

' P Ginsbow, ,I Hirtnn $
Corilc~,~pomn
lia(i8 (Lon.
rlon:l'cn~tlinhoks, 1990.

' D . Gi;~che~ri,
,l,ini SCI.
r.r,,lt, cr,anac;n 1" c/ti,,ai
(Pis% BTS. 2002. 191
' S Krlr.tocr. "Thc Horel
Lobby". In 'The ~ L l o ~Orr
Jirlnr.nl: IY1c.inirr &*!)a,
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(Ca~nbridpc,Mnsr.: t l n r -

1970 imld 19721, h u I~L I ~ I
rrsctlich n.as oor get porriblc l a d o in l he school. l'eIcr Lang. inlcrrir\v x i t h
hlc5smdro Poli Iflorcncc,
Deccmher 20021.

and minorron~lccrionrbc.
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ns s right and Iamncliar r c ~ i d c ~ ~distTiCI
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r
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e i bragbr Jd '68 (Milan:

194-951.

1999.

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3idered h i r ~ o r i ~ ~ l l ~
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rhopkeepcrr. " On the agenda were r l o dcnrs' demilndr to reeon.nn. 1%.i!i.een I 4 and 15 M ~ r c h 19M. zoom and Supciscudio".tcb jii\.~r $vcll versity in 1963 ond 1901. During the nr~cmblies[hey refused ro veuk bur chirped inrrei~d perrhcd on [he bcnchcr likes raosring birds.as ~ h e rhe school's prcridenr. biunco.R o m ~ c c . '" "In 1968 rhe Iralii~n Schools of Archilecturc be- " Umnir. '' Leonardo Ricci.ni. 191." "In his iwopural lerrurc for the new year.thcrc.~nr and ~n~r.\r i n f s c ~rhc cost o f [he proferrionally m ~ d etmodelr for thc (hesir proiecl. According l o ~ h address c by SO Gori. :' Toraldo d i France recalled that Ricri'r course had rhc r~udcntrwork on ftlll-rcnlc models. 3MI. Florence drew xu- ns to upen tire thesis pro- \r. largcnumbcrof fore~jinrnlimr Arrbiiecl.lfuri. See Slauffcr (cil.:Thc \r. cdr. 'lnccrvirra ia BrunoZNi". inrcrvicw wirh Crirr h n o Toraldo d i Franch (Filottrnno. 71. E. cember 20021. licr . 1944dcncn O f the porriblc iuc198.o~rs \ v i ~ b reridcnrisl Iproblcmr than rhc \lorking cli~rrcs. London. Perer Lang.tppro. T.hlaric Therer Stauffcr laced Dranzi.hat rhere w r n lack of this ii. t\\. rirnrl. T h n e \>.ecnrible toercr)nne. "Prab. 7 Decembcr 20021.lr a. 20021. Rq. lemi per una nuovn maggior~nza". h4.~pler: Elecra Napoli. ~ r m i n such abandon and misery"..rriirird (no.er merropoby focu.. C o . Milan. H..\vi~hrnsrr .t h a ~the city hsd l e s who sough[ f:~t.May 19W.tri region from RcFSioCmilie.lecturc held nr thc FncoltB d i Firenzc i n orrarian ofthe faculry confcrence held i n Romc hc.tr occupicd the rector's office. M.znyof rhere godr rhe Florrntinc Radical were rhated. Scicnce Ficrion be imporrant ro go deeper works ar o son o f alterna. Capo. Cilrreri. a conrmverriril . becoming a sonofwish lirr for the then Preside G i ~ i r c ~G~oer i who lpropored n new rh.l'ctcrLnnp. "V. 1998.lrian from Mondndari.ing his or~cntionr lirer and bccnure rhc !pro. 47. Bur they were prerenr e.m reaching arrir~antr. i n Gmhrllir-Co. 7 Dcccmbcr 19661. ar well as r " Fontan2 (cit. Aho see M ..enlml: mentarion inro the cir?. war pcriod (500rrudcnrs ln 1958 to 1500 in 19661.into su~cns-ruoro'sgroup tn. with C r ~ t h n oT o r ~ l d odi ilndrhitr iiirno~theprecire Francid (Filortmno.ere [he issuer [hat pro\. 1991. r. ~ ~ i .such .. national-levcl policicisn Con.ider rnnjie of topics.as .orking cl.er districts blc having I n r professionto begin w i ~ h But accord . 401.nr orld admission by btlr Press..vork l o rlirrrncr rhcn?. rc\." R c o l t i dcl corrruire".inirric h c r locked i n the hitndr of rhe itngr IL?Nt~:tone. and Tonddo d i Frenci. and it \\.".7.>y 19M. the destiny ofFlo. 'I. Cnrre". nant politicxl class to have ' C a p o n e ~ r oinnd Fmcnrrilcfr the Iralian r c h w l ryr.denrr from a v.79 IN.rhe olhcr grca. interview with . verri~y.rtnn. 35. rcncr war and remains counerhecirs'r.~l\vayso f Franci. chirct~ami~rliilrrn: 191019. ingtoCrirri. 287. Genoa and thc South.irucc thc existing power structures within (he oni.ho nrc on. Crahell<r-Cot.lrured ciwdboard ittian roproviderhcmu. war quite . 1990. lvlily 196-1. Dcripns b y Arch!.and i ~ ~ ~ d e ~ u ~ ~ c e r .c or escapist li~eri~rure dynamic. "In inrcn.ri.Milnn.ar p a c lpse. Pirzoilo and Di jcrts i o a Crirtina. i n M . "Diwomo agli 5.bn:trdi n r ~ n l h arhich (he univcrriiy and ~ions.p6n~oftheschwl'r populationduringthep~c.iId Ino.inrcn~iew thcrchool ingcnectl nccd. Milan.brdFe. i ~ ~ i (no. Dcg. v i d u ~ lmcmberr of the i ~ m u n d group.JerricaLcvinc tors thsc lily behind Fla~ n c e ' rgrowing ppulnriry.ulello. > ~ . (Cin. Cnpobianco and C. ~l>elirrrSt.oked them to occupy the rec~or'roffice on Plap Z I San Marco in 1964.391 '' Tornldo di Frzlncin m w rhc fight to do arvay with lhc expensive nmdclr us a sign rhnr much tnorc had to ch. M Filer (no. toia ilxir. r.287. " h l i n ~ o r cFanfmi \\. ami~h srbour lifly othcr students our dirporitlon reparore inridenccthen.ar. i n G ~ n h c l i u .lnoToraldodi And here \\. n. LO deal with thc wpid 1r. \villing lo alloiv erperi. c. 1951.er)~one.cn thc rchool'r pcnchsln~for precise ink drmingr. Ar. 0 yello\v bound meekly news-stand publi- and more could bc developed on each o i r h e indi.ore iaccorion \\.~as part of the group 111.o/l/nl. 1221.auld cros-d.toia fc. 7 Deresponribiliry ofthe domi.rc. '' IM.ould relocatc rhe school inro (he pcriphcry running along the fwrhills on the RorcnccPni+l'ir.a trivis~lobrema~ion p h r . fessorr wcrc n. See Grispigni k i t . rei L%!ng.to include rhe participstion ofrhcrmdentrin ar~demlcdecirionr. Corrctti. inS0pee of chc Florcnce School of hrchi~ecrurcwnspublished i n the Florentine daily in Decembcroil966.from nII social clurrer. n r c l ~ d c c l : ~ r ~ r h o ~ ~ ~ i n P i ~ ~ iiir n s r nor a prccire oblip.Grc~otti. " G l i Anni Qui~rnnvn'.I .iewrwith rcvcrnl members of Archimam and SUPERYTUDIO. M~rr.cd in C~rcrbel- i n Romc. foornore 37). 287.nnae: their demands were to opco the univeoicy ryrrcm co~?. Thesrliclc ourlined rhe tcnuour condicionr t?dngthe rchod after che flwd.

.

Thc Ncw Domestic Lndscape catalogue begins with a short discussion on domestication from Antoine d e Saint-Exupbry's Thl.' This connection with the world outside Italy changed dramatically in 1972 when the Museum of Modern Art in New York under the direction of design curator Emilio Ambasz created an amazing exhibition and spectacularly beautiful catalogue titled Italy: The New Dornertic 54 Landscape. Achievetnet~tsand I'roblems ofltalia~rDe. The drawings of SUPESTUDIO. It means to establish bonds. group 9999 and others. as Doug Michaels puts it." "What does that mean . as Peter Cook reminds us. : .. Venice and Milan were vibrant in their own ways. forever. the best art and architecture book store in Italy Centro Di and Maria Gloria Bicocchi's out front gallery Centrodiffusionegrafica (later to become the important video tape gnllery art/tapes 22): Throughout the 1960s the seductively ironic and charged polemics of these Florentine architects were known in North h l e r ica through Italian magazines but SUPERSTUDIO did touch down in the United States at the Rhode Island School of Design for a moment in 1970.. and even the snlelly factories of the P o valleyMand "there [is] hardly an insistent or threatening local milieu of mainstream architects worth bothering about". said the fox. and Austrians Raimund Abraham and Friedrich St Florian. The exhibition and catalogue attempt to rectify this understand- sign culture. Gruppo Strum. for what you have domesticated.rtic Landscape.domesticated?" "It is an act too often neglected.Rucker-Co.orld where architectural shifts and drifts are internationalized cquickly across cyberspace. Ugo La Pietra and others were. This small Tuscan city." It was the first to feature the young Florentines and none of the other visionary architectural draftsmen of the period: Cedric Price.Archizoom. "kick ass design" but more importantly they were "creative initiatives". Gianni Pettena. UFO. Haus. is "a safe distance from Cape Canaverd...' It should be noted that during this period MOMA'S architecture department truly had its finger on the ~ u l s of e the moment. Ugo La Pietra. It had an architecture culture that revolved around one of Italy's most lively and politically engaged architecture schools. The Architecture and Design Department under Arthur Drexler created other important exhibits: Visiotra~~' Arch~tectrrre(1960).' The arch scenes of Rome. Its "strategist" Adolfo Natalini taught there for a semester with Archigrammer Mike Webb. unlike anything being ~ r o d u c e din America at the time. In today's \\.visionary drawings coming from the studios of young Florentines from 1966 on were an altogether different level of creation.sig~z. "Please domesticate me". but this small museum and university city was very much a hot spot in the late 1960s. it is hard to imagine a small museum city like Florence as a centre of international thought on architecture. Edu- ÿÿ be Webb Ratmund Abraham ~ d o l l oNarallni and Frledr ch St Florran 1970 stage for its penultimate moment on the international scene.~ The largest and most expensive exhibition in the history of MOMA. Archigram o r the Austrians: Coop Himmelblau..it featured alongside a survey of contemporary Italian industrial and doniestic product design a SUPERSTUD~O Mimocvent/Microcrrvirontnetrt as well as projects by Archizoom." .' They suggested a fantastic architectural scene in Florence that made California seem very provincial and unimaginative. image making and thought than mere product design. Architecture IVitbout architect^ (1965) and just before Neru Dotne.r Little Pri~~ce: "You become responsible. the galleries of New York and Dusseldorf. Gruppo Strum. urbanism and design.

attacks the work of sLJ~olU'l'L!~10 ing "liberation through irony [that] goes over the same ground covered by rlie utopias of the avant-garde of earlier years". But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship." "What must 1 do. to domesticate you?" asked rhe little prince. and so \ve have no friends any more. "Men have no more time to understand anything." If this were not cnough of a qualifier. Ambasz then proclaims the irrelevance of objects: "for many designers. one hour from other hours." "One only understands tlie things that one domesticates"."" This call for design is quickly followed in the introduction with the disclaimer thar "design cannot solve all problems that precede its crearion and rhose that may arise f r o ~ nir".." Furthermore. very much". the little prince replied." They do not "invent substantially new forms."I want to." "What is a rite?" asked the little prince. said tlie fox. "But I have not much time... said the fox.:~ The second group o r rhe reformists.I great many things to understand. In thc first ten- litical and philosophical action or complere \virhdrawal from the mean here designed environments like T o ~ oFl I ~ U I I S / JU~~. "." When in society". domesticate me . are given a chapter in the caralogue ro stare their position and critique those with whom they disagree about the production of objects. I I~by I modular housing industry. and .icrions too often neglectedn. in rhe spirit of polemical discourse. "Those are . the aesthetic quality of individual objects intended for private consumption [has] become irrelevant in the face of such pressing problems as poverty.. itre "morivated by a ~ r o f o u n dconcern for the designer's role in a society that fosters consumption as one mciins of inducing individual happiness. T h e history of modular housing is 56 er "conceive[sl of work as an autonomous acrivity responsibleonly to itself and does not question irs sociocultural context". and the pollution of tlie environmenr now cncounrered in all industrialized countries". If you want a friend. simply refining "already established forms and f~nctions". for and Archizoom for bcexample. soriie of these designers "despairing of effecring social change through design. urban decay. "They re what make one day different from other days.'" These absraining designers. instead they engage in a rhetorical operation of redesigning conventional objects with new ironic. and is what "rhe exhibition is . thereby insuring most co~ilpellingapproach since it "corresponds to the preoccupations of a changing society". I have friends to discover.One must observe the proper rites .. The catalogue essay by Manfredo Tafuri. ~ n dsometimes self-deprecatory socio- tradictions and paradoxes of the firsr two groups. They buy things already made ar shops. .. regard their task as essentially a political one and therefore absrain from physical design of either objects or environments and channel their energies into the sraging of evcnrs and the issuing of polemical statements".

created a nine-panel project that arguably stands out as the iconic project from the exhibit. The division of Italian design into three prevalent attitudes is followed in the catalogue by the two sections "Objects" and "Environments" that parallel and document the exhibition. Massimo Vi- see much difference in concept beyond their marketing." In the first "Objects" grouping selected for their formal and technical means are domestic designs by Joe Colombo. Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper's early television boxes."These definitions seem flexible and loose because urn. . The cat- DIO for their implications of more flexible patterns of use and arrange- to completely different categories. the Castiglioni brothers' lamps. Gaetano Pesce. Ettore Sottsass' classic Valentine portable Olivetti typewriter. In "Objects" designs are seand finally "implications of more flexible patterns of use and arrangement". It is a domestic product that appears in many Italian design concerns and their professional practices" can be placed togethwhich they work". Vico Magistretti.

sincc they risk be- . ." In tlie Desig~rProgram Ambasz presents his view that the probso lems of urban society are so severe that designers must be chal- anti-utopias are scvcrely criticized in the most po\verful text in The ri's preferred standards OF earlier avant-gardes. The socalled 'Furniture industryyhas only t \ \ ."Based on chis detailed Design Progra~n each invited designer or group is asked to design "a domestic environment adaptable enough to permit the enactment OF different private and communally imagined new events. It \\. offered them the opportunity to express design ideas that were closed off to them in the building sector. constant aspects OF our individual and social memory"." While SUI'ERSI. they evcntually canie to believe it was a deadend street. allo\\' itself an ample margin of little experiments". presents the island as an infrastructure that provides the Framework in which "all crystallized fragments rescued from the city ofmemory. Henri LeFebvre's The Explosio12. "its super production of ideas is due to the condition of complete unemployment among architects. "Manhattan: Capital of the Twentieth Century" that all attempt to put contemporary problems OF the domcstic landscape in context for the designers." The Design Progra~~r includes minutely detailed programmatic considerations and options that include cost goals (economically available to "low to middle income Italian Families"). if not by reason of thcir casual or historical relationships (since no reconstruction is hereby intended)." It is liberally sprinkled with quotes From Siegfried Giedion's T11e A r c l ~ i f e c t f ~orfe Transition. created by an extant artisanal Italian economy. exhibition light sources. then by grace OF their aBinities"." informed by W:ilter Benjamin insights.. In the Florence School OF Architecture. little more than an "inducement to COLISUII~C".UD~Odid believe For a titile that the luxury goods market. Howard Searles' N O I I . and architects in Italy are in charge OF only 25% of the total built volume of building.000 students. there are 6. sufficiently fixed to permit the re-enactment OF . Ambasz's Princeton professor Abraham A.as. a list OF "general considerations" and a final separate essay. thanks to its 'craftsmen' size. ~Firms with more than 500 employees in more than 28.I" In thc second section of the exhibition "Environments" Arnbasz presents a detailed. H Z I I I IEnvironnrer~!. maniFesto-like seven-page Design Program of "environmental concepts" that he hoped would become physical designs. and all the Fragments envisioned For the city OF tlie imagination may dwell together in an ensemble. Adolfo Natalini commenting on Italian architects involved in this sector has said. Moles and ~II The Manhattan text..000 Firms (average number of employccs 4. thcy decided." This essay originally published in Casabrlla seems gratuitous and his call that it inspire designers to "make incursions into i~iiaginaryrealms" is hardly necessary For groups like suPmsruuro..8) and can thercfore.Marxism and the Fre11c11 Upheaval.Italian conundrum and needs an explanation.

1972. '-'lhiil 420. 4. 242). r .b u their ~ aim ofdireng. 139- 46).lrion to Architecu~re/ Arrhitcrturc i n Relatton to " A r n b ~ ~ rerl. . 8/72. The Neru Do. " Anlbarr. " Ibrd 147. In the spirit of 1960s' polemical and protest culture SUPERSTUDIO. . (cil.I. (no. CnmbellN " D.an behnuiot~nl.drm ilrchirecrure Archizoom and Supcntud 6 a . Ribrd 139-210. " Ibld 148. MohlA i n 1972. ' Doug Michselr. 49). placed on ~ I O M A ' S New Dornrrfic to us at the start of the 21st century. bur remained un- "lbid. 469).nrchirecrure exhibition after " lhirl 94. itnd ' C w k k i t . scape". lelf ar mdicitl. Rcnzo P m o devlrcd .mic Lind.: The His text in the "Critical Articles" section of the catalogue is dense and insightful on 20th-century Italian design. 'Art in ReI. Tsfuri.>r I t s rims Anre conmpruil . tionr from the ~IOMA l i bmry. 3831. ~hemsclver from. e c c . " lbid 11 I. ln Arnbarr. i r no l o n ~ e r svirher ro be commercialized or rlienated. Ar</~dedsreDe~i~. ' Doug Michaels. "ihrd Hawmer. (cir. *'lhld 21.~rrdPmbbnrg/ltnl. lhid.I rh. 380).d 13946. or to renounce irr o\vn idei~r~nnd " - !?~enrr. i n nn cmstl conversation wirh the nurhor." They did call for a \vorld "without cities... e A r c h Ne\v i t e c ~ ~Domestic ~re Lnndolthe fleorfx Arts i n 1976. " lh~d. Grnhrm. [ecw but or informs all of their ~ h a u p h and ~ r motivarianr. ed.thc prcrenl l i o n a. See G. u how thnt heralded I'orr.1iL1181 (C~~mbridgc. *' Ibid.~o". ' ' IbiJ " Ilnd :' lbid 2 I. i n an e. 'l~sly: The ~ ~ o ~ c ~ ~ ~ ~ r T h l . ':Il~rd147. castles or roads" but this h l l l Prerr..' M.tnuary 2003. '' l b ~ d20.'^ A. 2 January 2003. Celant'r 'Rndicill Archircaure". "'lhrd 421. rnadernlrrn ur Moh1. bmlkinl: ~vlth. bilities of the design strategy.Proclaiming it. 242: oriGinslly in "sul)Khnu~. The next rnaior .tFing ian Dcrign (1972). "All rhcnew 1r. not only arc the " Ibtd designerr fc. " lhid 245. Milas. c~tralo~oe. London. mail conl8enstton*irh the author. Perer Lnng. "lbid 143 "/bid. "Suicidal De. sires". " lhd. Icir. 2 J. but his belief was that SUI~BIISTUDIO'S"anti-utopian regression \\. lb. in thl.Hirrog o/IrnIianArcl. " Ihid. 1990.itcdurr: 11.I lighlwei~htstructure to cowr the uppcr and lower terraces o f rhe museum'r garden. Nnlnlini.ttured i n this exhibit edunted 2%archi.as therefore fated to give birth to new utopias" and that a "private leap into the sublimated universe of 'artificial ~aradises'has not proven prescient".

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Thus a series of guerrilla warfare actions are born, violence is
imposed and suffered ... this is which creates the need for a "strategy for living", i.e. a series of practical rules, first-aid manuals, welltried methods for smoothing over discord and bringing back
peace and calm. Living strategy is substantially a method for
reaching the self-consciousness of horno bobitons through a series
of spiritual exercises. And certainly every "manual of spiritual
exercises for serene living" must suggest the abandonment of all
desire to be always "in fashion" or the desire to be always stylish, or amusing, or to be liked at once: that is, it advises an immediate abandon of false problems, manias, hysteria.

74

The Egyptians and the Etruscans used to put household objects in their tombs: today also most houses are the tombs of objects. Objects become museum-ified very quickly, and are kept,
it doesn't matter whether for a long or short time, with all the dusty
eternity of useless ornaments. If the purpose of furnishing is to
permit human relationships, e\,erything we have about us must
always and only be a witness to our mental o r emotional relationships: a series of objects to keep like messages in bottles,
about our public and private histories.
But the important thing is to keep ourselves free from fear rep r d i n g memories: the important thing is to keep control of the
situation, with all its possibilities for change, for abolishing or conserving. Each operation, each variation, must however take place
without drama, because usually nothing is bettered or worsened,
just changed. In the field of variability, much is talked (too much
perhaps) of mobile space, consumable space, transformable space.
There is the search for metabolisms and cinetization, an architecture of "mobility, functionality, usability" is substituted for an
architecture of "firmitas, utilitas, venustas".
At any rate, there is an effort to move what is still, without trying to stop that \vhich is moving too much.
is not that of searching for a house which imiThe
tates movement, which follows the man who mo\,es, lives, con-

sumes, dies; the great problem is that of finding a house above
passion, a house of calm serenity, a house for all seasons. We already move about enough ourselves to rendcr the architecture variable, changing its relationships with the passing of time, with the
changing of the seasons and life.
Modern furnishing is like a great race (from one exhibition to
another, from shop to magazine) towards the most beautiful, the
newest, the most functional.
But to come in first o r last has no importance if the whole race
is wrong, and the race of consumerism is definitely wrong.
Thus, the thing to d o is not to take part in the race, but to get
out of it as soon as possible, and to isolate oneself apart to col-

The problem is not to furnish roorns.
and not even to propose objects both amusing and perishable ...
The problem is to furnish deserts,
to awake consciousness from long, dogmatic sleep,
and force backward the monster created by the sleep of reason.
Once, silver was used for protection against vampires
and werewolves;
now we use marble, chrome, mirrors and rare roots
against similar nightmare creatures,
but now it is easier to distinguish them because they are
nightmares in daylight,
born, under fancy lights, lampshades and appliques,
floating on blow-up cushions, boxed into modular,
transformable coffins; but at the same time it is also more
difficult, because now they frighten no-one (or almost):
a policy of progressive narcosis encourages them,
and the illusion of well-being feeds them.
The pass-word is still let yourself go,
let yourself be guided by Big-brother-\\rho-knowsmore-than-you,
above all because Big Brother
is himself a civilized person,
\\'ha understands perfectly that one cannot argue about taste
and everyone has his o\vn personality,
and so everyone has the right
to choose for himself when it comes
to slipcovers for the car,
the lamps for the TV set and the seat-cover
(or better still, the three-piece set) for the WC ...

g

131
1 1

O n e has the lrnpresslon of a serles of hard, s h ~ n pleccs
~ n ~ of

I

We don't ~nrendto lanore u ~ s s ~ o or
n ades~res,or detdch ourselves

1

and d e s ~ r efor t h ~ n g sthemselves

they wllIgrow In the ddrk u n t ~ they
l
become trlump

wastc to be avoided is that of intelligence.

object made with the instruments of reason, appe

w:c,ln

ogmm or cube, and to p l ~ n them
t
In sltt~ng-rooms,bedrooms, on

!
11

~maelne-itelnotv and then we can beam to fill 11, slowly,

I\!:

1

'+

fprrion: the comolementnriness from the fact that. together, thev

serrcs of dctrons w ~ t h o u tvtolettce, rcndlng to rnnlnrarn non cornm u n ~ c d t ~ nsystems
g
closed, dnd at the same tlme to state a slngle
ldca of a serene and exact way of 11fe

around it as images. This is a kind of living with n o great adventures. which makes its choices without haste. constructine a form

!

of the oresent. that of Le Corbus~er.Mtes. ~ i e u e rMart
,
Srarn, Adl-

already brllllantly passed all tests, ~ n c l u d ~ nthe
g hdrdesr of dl],
And there 1s other furn~tureon the way to belonging to the

There are uleces of furn~turem chrome and mlrror, s h ~ n ymetal

lit!

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That is why I say I did not find it. The first example of an architecturehon architecture that en- come an architect. still had the brilliant prerogatives of chilAs you can clearly see. warm. from men "bare" of knowledge and experience. an architecture in which the outside arises from the inside. of architecture. a2 My search for architecture now appears to me like that of the Graal. In other words that another journey began here. Les MisPrables. we followed the ancient and modern nomadic "gatherers". and of specific. of its ambiguous aesthetic-artistic ambition. far from being a zigzagging course without a real destination. 1 I I did NOT want to find a bmur./r. the true. It was there. Instead I always sought a "skinless" architecture. had become an urchin's shell: the lad had been accepted and taken in by the colossus. as was often reproached us. plain and hill architectures. it has grown close to me. examining it with their bulgiig eyes and an expression of contempt: 'What is it good for?"' Victor Hugo. First of all let us see what I did NOT want to find: I did NOT want to find a fashionable architecture. Book VI. I1 An architecture can be consciously negative. already institutionalized cultures. of town-planning. of steam or in the rain: pouring rain (like in Rashornon!) that Gavroche sought cover from in the elephant of the Bastille. down to the roots of human doing. the great. made use of just like the inside. perhaps apish but resolute. of cultivation. Leaving aside the "cultivators". the few who. the Phoenix.l architecture. touched. like in the fdm on the "invisible man". either because they have not yet collapsed under the cozy. this time an individual one. at our disposal. the only "improvisers" of design. was according to me remarkably consistent and logical. that had contained one of the emperor's thoughts. Indeed I fail to see it. on the verge of revealing its outline in a puff of dust. And therefore architectures the outside of which could be utilized. but I shall try to explain. ready to reveal itself. gone through. December 2002 f 2 P ' . we realised however that this search was no longer the business of the SUPERSTUDIO but of each one of us. A descent. theory" of architecture and art. sedentary owners of land.I did NOTwant to find a monumental architecture. The bourgeois dressed in their Sunday best walking by the elephant of the Bastille would say. In the course of this critical ~ h a s e to discern the birth of objects and of architecture starting from the primordial. of the Philosopher's Stone. "Oh unexpected usefulness of the useless! Charity of great things! Bounty of giants! This outsize monument. an "invisible" architecture (in the sense of the "invisible man"). I say "I believe" because I might even have found it without realizing it! I understand that this is not a very credible claim. I was more and more convinced of its instrumentality with respect to social and economic forces. uncorn/ortable. straight out of the inner life of the men who live in it. of its impossibility to be authentic and to serve Man. the "inventors" of something out of nothing. it can be intentionally designed to be rmpleasat~t. down to where Architecture is without Architects. an anthill architecture for men (of course just the opposite of a phalanstery!). from one branch to the other. to let itself Once we reached this place. to not work. out of flotsam. our journey. even if I have a feeling that. Bernard Tschumi Florence. all so sweet weight of mass culture or because they are drop-outs from it. And I believe I did not find it. To the only mental place where we might have been able to find (maybe!) the magic formula for the Invention of the New Architecture.

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A Caralogue of Villas (196748). Techtlo~norphicArchirpcrure These three categories were subsequently synthesized in three major theses: I~luenriorrDesign and Evasion Des~g~i (1967). from their first offices in Via Bellosguardo 1. the group organized a fully professional architectural and design office. Simultaneously. We recognize this first brief period to be the Slrperarchitecrurephase in the group's evolution. Roberto Magris. Archr~ec~rrre and I~noge 3.]ourrrey into the Real111of Reaso~r( 1 9 6 8 4 9 ) and the development of a "single design". that attempted to translate the group's theoretical and ideological concerns into "practical" projects.1966-68 Superarchitecture: to the Rescue! The first chapter deals with the newly consrituted group SUPERSTUDIO following their debut announced at the December 1966 S~perarchilecllrreexhibition in Pistoia. The office began with Adolfo Natalini. constructed on a critical re-evaluation of their educational experiences and tied to the contemporary architectural and design culture in Florence. . Benveen 1967 and 1968 three main themes were identified for further investigation: 1. and after April 1968 Piero Frassineh. Archi~ec~ure and Mo~rrrrnen~ 2. Cristiano Toraldo di Francia. The period benveen 1966 and 1968 represents the group's early developmental stage. Many of their core theoretical and representational concepts they later developed originated in this earliest phase benveen 1967 and 1968. an intensive initiation to the world of architecture that paralleled the early development of Archizoom.

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first film to be produced and I~rterpl~~netaty e r the group by suIJensTuolo. while entering into one of its most creatively engaged and controversially subversive periods. Euclue Ideal Cities (architecture of cities. The professional "officc" continued its design activities. ' % & a / - OFcao4i~ JmeC #'/&a h 16 Superprojects: Objects.1969-71 /Lmc. Y W . It was during these years that the group generated its most renowned body of work. from Europe to the United States and Japan. the monument. The most srriking images produced in the period found wide distribution internationally. architecture and the city. with an audio-slide show to be re-enacted and recordcd in conjunction with the London exhibition. with an audio-slide show. en~ployingcollage. architecture magazines and exhibitions. Hrrtogrdms (architecture of objects. Monuments. the city. ~ n e n ~ b of from 1970 to 1972) 3. ~vithAlessandro Poli. Cities This chapter surveys SUPERSTUDIO'S most provocative period from 1969 to 1971. The Corrtitruorrs Monrrmmt (storyboard. &~Z%& ‘ . design objects A r c / ~ ~ t e c t r ~the r e . Almost all the conceptual production was intended for catalogues. storyboards and literary narratives. nor restored) 2. 1. the u s of conceptual projects through group produced a ~ r o d i ~ i o set an innovative use of multi-media techniques. After successfully formulizing a critique on design. . March 2003) Each of these three categories represents a concise theoretical engagement on one of the following disciplines in design and architecture: the object.I.

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dualrwllh lam~l~pr.raundrog the cupala. 11opens up a recllon for a few seconds to admit the I ~ c k yone. Ihe cltlzenr that lump the Ilghlr.and lhore walls have never beenreen The mhabllantr ltve m Ls machine endlessly dragged along by conveyor bells. through the. nor rtlll less lo those llvlng a b u e Theorel8cally. llfe ~ l e from r planlcullurer andantma1 breedlng The perieclon of (he mechanlrm IS such !ha1 the add~t~onatquanttt~er ol energy and rnaller brought ~nby h e Ilghr.?Ihemorl urelul means of cllmblnglnalurally ~ndiu. ~ t i a k e r * from the outrldeivorldanly some rays 01 runllghl. but everybody maginpi hlrn to be happy because he never orders anflhing.Eighth Clty.l~ke everyone else. gardens. lhur the lotal height 8s 4. City ol Order Thlr c t y has. anflhtnr) that d~er. from 11s back end The Grand Factory mover loward at a speed ol Iloot 2 112 ~nrherpel hour The plan of the rlly IS bared on a chequer-board of roads perpend8cular and parallel to llle Grand Factory. wh~ch flllr the cavern 1toccup8er. alter thlr penod. while llle d~ameter01 the lorverl level lr 16. squarer. each one of which has a dtarneler 32 fcet less than theane beneah Each level IS 8 feel high.ivo~kadmanulactureabteclr to ral~rtylhedemands01 the Inhabilanr of the upper levels Twice aday. ~nthe dim hall. 118s h e p8ler 01 bodler lhal prowd. receive. are at ad~rartrantagel The lnhabllanls 01 Iho hlgherl levels who have very lew orders. damage clly property. and erperlally thore on the very hlghert. ordering Ihothlngs theyneed b m t h o r e l ~ v ~ n g beneath-he lnhabllanlr obta~n evewhing they require Eachderlle parser from coilrdmalor l o r 0 ordlnalor "nu1 It leaches the lowest levels. meif. the roads reparato rquaro blorkr. compla~nabout the unpunclual~tqofthe buses or !he lark oftvalerat the timer 11s most needed.Tenth City. ca-ordinator. Conlcal Tanaced City The clly rlrer ~nthe mcdrlof a groat plain.where the mhab~tanlrl a m [he land. whoivant lo lake them along.000 leel. who have none at all. and $1I S for thsa fearon lhal the nervrpaperr. lhe delr8tur and rubble that the rtly leaves belllnd 11 It Ir ~norder lo prerent the rillzens bemg reduced to such a despelale slate that lrom tllelr eallterl age they are lnrulralcdiv~lhthe ronrepl lhal everyone's g!ealertder~remust ativayr be a nnv house.Its rows of gear-mechan~rmr. rom~nually endeavour to gel 8nto 1he rupala. he thought of rumng the inhab~lantrlo thetr clry Now. nolh~ng strange aboul~r11has rseelr. es are ever fewer Aclually. and ale 29 y x d r rvlde roclenjr rejects. bulthe sense of gu1ltder8v8ng from lhls rebellton srogreal and provokes ruch lnlenre monlal rullerlnri rhalonlva l e w u n bear ~ t l olong i Throughth8i ryrlem-lhal~r. as soon as a cit~zencomm~o some 159 .The mart myrler8our querlron rr what happens la the prev80ur mhab~lantrof the cupola. a programme af diearns emlned by the man lhvlng ~n the cupola at the lop No one knows how the man l#v#ng ~n the cupola Ilver. air andwaler nch with the mlneial raltr 01 Ihe eanh 11 looks after 11slnhabllanlr by elabaratlng and rynthtr\i<ngIhe subslancer or~g~nally placed ~nI. oblectr. 111s porriblelorelure to obey Iheofderr comng fromtlle mhab8enIr of the llmr abave. ready for use. new hourer and 11 8s in lart a city lhke any olher The only Ihng 8s that rt has been governed by the same mayor lor45 yearr The rearan lor h ~ long r stay ~nofftce IS rfmplo he has an er~ept~onally g o d idea Insteadof trying to rult Ihe city lo Its Inhab~lantr. ~ h a t ~wllllrn r. and from .iulth anellon. In the c~aumlerencewall of each level are daatr 2 1 7 feet A1 giound level there are 6.here mamellourly arrarts all that 11requres for tho ronrtlurLion 01 the clly The Grand Farlorydevourr shreds of urelorr nature and unformed m~noralsa1 11sfront end and emllr recllons of completely folmed clly. lhar Is. never needs anything It Is sad that Ihe cupola has plied up hew and lherolerl~tqtothe lerm~tqollhelr llghlr Aclually. mador Insane w~lhgoodrlocontnbule to tile grealer prosperlly of our graat counlryand Ihe bcuer forluner olour well-loved rhareholderr parallel road next to them 8n 3 days The grealert arplrauon of everyclslen 1 5 to move more and more ohen 8nlo ~nd#v~duals. 11recreawr. Its p~peltner. a body has never bean laund . apprenlly.lr t<anrlormed rile machine producer ferl~ltierr . each rccerr8ve level has 13 doors less The 5Wlh level has only 13doorr. Ninlh City.one has eue. which apparently has noopenlng at all 118s sad lhal 11one tauihcr a paillculal spa1 on ltr surface. the lerhaaal 8nnovat8onr. heads (ma lheopenrngr gwng on lo the central space. connecung rods.. roll dare to wander amongst Ihe rulnr. lrom the lhoure for more lhan four yearr after 11s conrlrucl#on. but na. 261 x 261 yards. surrounded bya canal 600 feet w ~ d eI1 lr lormedaf MOc~rcular levolsane above the oher. thmgr are rlanlng logo really well. and almartaluay.reen romlo!lr What cobid be mole f a r r # n ~ l # nand g fearruring than the rperlarle of the famlher that dally drive up the perpendcular raadr tn lhe rpeclal grounds andcongralulater you' What hourcould be happier than when you enter your ncu home and . all ~nhab~tants of the citq.. the never-before.500doorr.45 yearr later.000 leel.11ghL grey and foggy. ~ t ' r not pars8ble to trallrmll impulses to tha 8nltab1tants01 levels ye1 lurther dhvn nor lo ~nhab~tanoolone's wmlevel.way one looks.al flred tlmer.ged l r m the ("pala la jell the others about 11.conveyorbells. The Ville-Mechina Habiles The clly 8s a machine.wkrng 1118 mlll~on~ n l ~ a b ~ t aon n tar rlde lllraugh valloyi and hlllr. ruch a large mach~nethat not even 11s lnhabllanls knmv 11s rze. lharedethraned On the terrace ru. stretch away out of rqhtrh~cheve. by chutes and pneumatic tuber The marlllne ISrcll-ruffoent. putl8ng the).eme. and above walls IS 16 leet The mar8mum dlstare behveen !he Iworad~alwalls and the helghtol the room IS 7 In through bran impulseslooneor more ~nllab~tanls Ineveimore Lllan Iue at the same amel lhv~ngoo the level beneath theone onwhch 86 owner Ises.unt#l~tieaiherground level. wandall other med~aronl~nually advert~reIhe marvellous novetller af the new houses. a>rand water became rurplur Any residue. ~ n d ~ c a t ~the n ggroundcovered Lookat the perlectclly that producer Factory 4 miles wide and 100 yardr high lhke the clly 8 1 contlnuourly producer The Grand Fartory explo~Lr the land and the underground maler8als of the terrllory 11crosses.

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