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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. Superarchitecture: to the Rescue! 1969-71. Cities 175 1972-73. Superprojects: Objects. Superesistcnce: Life and Death 213 1974-78.

those activities ofdesigrr adopting perhaps the theory ofrrrinirrral force i n a ~ e r r e m"process l of rrdrrctiorl".i: fi 11 . 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: . The oroblern therefore was that o f irrcreasirr~delac/~rrrenl frorrz . 196Y I J 5 I:. SUPERSTUDIO. are conuirrced that arcl~itecturcis one ofthefew wags t o realize cosrrric order on earth. ourrelues. arrd cue12 less could i t serue t o save one's otun soul. .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. The Corrfirruous Morrunrenr: Atr Arrhirec~ural Model for Total Urbanrzation. the errors ofnrarr arrd the bestiality of architecture. I :: 11 . ho\r. and bstly t o trnce (ultirrra ratio) n luhrre line rn the desert. it is a "rrroderate utopia" t o frrragirre a riear In .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 t becarrre clear that rro beautrfication or c o s ~ ~ ~ e~rui ce r entfficiio7t t o rerrredy the darlrage of tinre. 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. pyrarrrids. le I frorrr a srrigle desrgn capable o f c l a r r ~ r n gonce arrd for a l l the rrrotiue. ..I $ ~ For those w l ~ o like .. t o order arrd abouc a l l t o affirtrr hrrrrrarrityi capacityfor acting accordir~gl o reasorr. nrrtlhirs.ever.r ruhich have irrdrrced rrran t o build dolrrrens.

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.spread its glacially translucent grid structures throughout entire regions of the planet enveloping buildings and entire cities. was deliberately intended to strip architecture of everything except its most naked living truth. 1972-73: SUI'ERexlsle~lce: Life and Death 4. 196G68: S U I ' E W ~ C ~ ~ I C C I U ~to 2.that are far less familiar but entirely necessary in providing a more complete understanding of the group's oeuvre. William Menking). the series beginning in 1969 titled The Conlinuor~sMonumen~. 1969-71: SUI'Ellproj~ctr:Objects. 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. these inlages can only partly convey the complete historical passage. restituting in the process those projects and writings -critical texts and storyboards . and an essay on s u ~ e ~ u r u ~ rpenultimate o's moment on the larger international sccne ("The Revolt of the Object".' Scant little ning of the new millennium. 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. is whether the recent 1960s' revival emerging in the schools and in some of the more progressive of. then. Cities 3. Cristiano Toraldo di Francia and Piero Frassinelli. 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. 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. however. For this reason we have decided to initiate an operation of recovery. Part I1 is divided into the following four chapters: E the Rescue! 1. ~reciselvhere in Florence. Each group challenged and eventuallv cia. '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. 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.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. Since none of these takes place in the distant past.$ P fices goes beyond mere fashion trends. though their current identities are not always transparently linked to their epic endeavours of youth.i p 4 $: 13 4 . their conscious withdrawal from the perverse system based on the con~mercialisationof popular demand.' 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 :. N o better moment. Part I features the nvo curators' essays exanlining SUPEIUTUDIO'S history within the Florentine context ("Suicidal Desires". 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. creating a monument to end all monuments. and includes the retrospective testimonials and critical reflections from three of S U I ~ E I ~ T U Dnlembers: IO'S Adolfo Natalini. 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. Monuo1cnts. Roberto Maeris. 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. most of the original protagonists are still very active on the scene. s u l m STUDIO'S renouncement of architecture. 1 2 This publication is structured into two basic parts.

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

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

The image.ha vfa ~ C I I L i these subvers~veobjects they reallzed " l n ~ t ~ a t ea dnew level of con sumerlsm. s u P c n s T u D r o made yet another leap foniard. Mantcllato olllce 1981 1 _ e m in had become powerful tool for all 11s bare slmJust l ~ k the pllclty.. and an owl in the forefront gliding straight towards the viewer. From the catalogue of histograms followed effortlessly objects. A sort of death wish so beautiful and entrancing that the message really didn't seem to matter. S U P E ~ T U D I Oretrenched. -. and consequently another level of poverty" '"Havlng recoenlzed the futllltv of the strategy.. nonetheless came in the shape of a riddle. 19 . aero I ' 1' I!. 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.j I with the four members posing at its base. the 5 thousand varlat~onson the theme of the four leaned chalr. "We prepared a catalogue of tri-dimensional non-contin"ous diagrams. environments and architecture.. the addltlon of the histograms to the ij I i for other more pressing activities. erasing once and for all I plest a physlcal bar graph.suporr~d~o tn . 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. nor have they ever mattered much. SUPERSTUDIO called for people " to live l ~ k eone long protest ". a morbid group critique. furniture. . But all these things didn't matter much. The surface of such hisroarams was homo- j/l I were also called 'the tombs of the architects'"." !. abandoning the last vestiges of a market-driven architecture. I i 1!11 - - 1 i! /!i/I! /I/ /I! !t! 111 .

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

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

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

ilh soundrrack.115.lvu. 'The Con.r u ~ > ~'His~o. tnenti di C.i(. D .Picro Fr.lng..r.Aleaarndro Poli i n 1970.11~:Design and Archifoundcn in 1966. Brrnri strc>serlin . i n 1986.. 11). rrcbi~cc~urei~~.~~~nI~~ del.I~chitcc~~~r(~. i r too A aut.lr "not .Lf\.siuoto. 481. 1972. Frb~nces Urunror 1rdns1.sr~~.rh. the strict critical vision focused on their own roles in the much larger chain of production.18--19.~ (Filotrfilno. " rbrd 2.\ruolc tcrts from Radical community.1996).iUo. Dcnisc It B.~~ostn.~rsinelliin 1968 mdicdcnle icir...c. i n Arc11.. our.Jt~nuoryinternrrionsl journals and metx: 'IIo\r.' Nuvoncand R. to its soundrmck. ri. concetved ro displt~y primsrily thusis projec. Arch.erL. . Sourif. Archr/c~!~.c writlngr \r. !r.Du. ~ f ~ r r ~r b c l l o r ~ w r d G i / ~ ~<.i.lm Menkinx. the individual "pieces" as it would be the process itself.ir11 Adolfo h'. rcnce: Ven~ll.. Sco~rBmunnndS~wcLen1' 011 lcfi rhc group in 1972. xrsms". opniznble lungudgc" r n d rhdr ir encornpurred ". Rouillard.re dell.l'. . Knrding~helrdlidnRroupa. vr.tr. and requires further res~omcion. rm~rof~iDirp.1<b.rerction of thc anti-archi.~. Arcl~irccrrrriDnirm. : Pop-ups ure thole n. r m n i Print. Irrrerplioi~~~u~. hibir.eshi. rcprinted in /'I..t~~iuoto. Urban Foturc".rgbigo/~/1~~computur screens. " A. I4 Decembcr 2002) " For rhe lncn>hcrs o f 1982.lr.in rhc 1990s lo b c r ~ c r a bix rhcmc .r. " {hid ".~ h e r u r h o nbeliwc.>n: CdiS.If SUI~EWTUDIOhas succeeded in contributing to any particure it would be not so much lar lesson to inventing a f ~ ~ t uarchitecture. m. ~r.. (no. :" I'erer b~. : ' .~a(no.un.. c r i t i c r ~look l at the objects that surround our lives.d Anchor Uookr. \vho. though il is porC.. 1r.n. aut~t.r~clrrre . l'ct~.rrenirrri. Orlztndini.~. 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. l e c t ~ r e l 6~ O he L PIIS\YCI 10 agon. Inrritut d i r r con. ingly jumping onto the ~ i l ear the endless fondling 2002): 7'brCl~n.e. I~L.~noTorsldo d i Fr.lortr"l. Ne\v York.. o.per/ior merabolis~r'influences re. "M~. ' Sar.~g~/n.ir..~p t o o n ~ u c b n r c h i ~ e c ~ u r e .elf i .:~rr.mr rubdccicr rr chc Ava~ir-Gurdc.\. in' ' 28 ic. This process of repeatedly and critically re-esamining the normal drifts and currents moving across the domestic landscapes has led them to design. "Supcrr~udio: c u r e ir seldom gels builr. X r 5 7 ) .llc.lrcc..14).~tely to un-design their surroundings like no other group before or after them.. York: a!oat. u t ~ ~ a m o ~ "Invendon o..1 It~clical ' 'I'he ~ u m "lndicitl". cx. xlng lirrle lnrerner rdver.Villcursulan. ~ e ed. "Archicer~uia rccrurc 1960/75".mg.e\. ~n1. dr Ve.iew wtrh Crnstl. s u ~ r t a .iez.thclla.s. \/I/iria. hibirion cnr. Brrnzi.lnal. 7 December 2002). mafizinm.com. ofiirelev. Percr L ~ n y l i ~ ~ ~ l 0 f ~ u 1 ~ 1 3bucn.~bro. mucll emphasis on thc L.C. lb.I rc~l. i n T.>nne..my rmdly:oups a.iblilun: Docu.llogoe (Flo. of arustic pracricer.G~rrdc.rrro.~~irrbc.l: Di.rrolc . 2002). Thc cy o f aut'altiruolo rec D . rcconsrirured ir. 80).Pcrrenu. producerl by " lhrrl 248. no erclliblay ZOO1 iBlrcclon.ithour t ~ d ~ c r i h t h c s p e c ~ f i c r n .er.ICJIO~~~.rrcrrrr nalrnb.igbrg 0 tinuourMonluuc~~t".lli[~i iFlorcncu. 19). wcrc b..llion voice avcr.) \rhole r n n ~ e 2002.lncl.r L. 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. Roberto "'C... dirbdndcd g~ncrrl.April 2001. ed. 1973. inrcr!.. The (%d. ~ i o r r n i Wr. Dcyonp. coined by Ccrmnno CrLnr to describc . 31). L.ngits ~pllyscc~l em- York: bodimenr.c 6 1 ~ ~ 1 Oadminirrcr : ixr current and 1Villi.r cent ~nrervieu.rd 1 Kad?c~lr. . 1974.dogue(Ilorrncc:iM&IM. or perhaps more appropri.ru IY68-IY8Y. cxh~hirlon tisenlenrr chsr ere increar.moricao f ciun".th Dcyong plsced roo hlonumenrContinu 1969". magazines. m d Almsandm M a g r ~ s ~ ~ n"d Roben Vcnruri.Riley. Dccember 1969). "lnrroducPeccr L. This is onc oi rlie srgumcncr developer1 in Peter Lnnx's essay "Sui. inturvieiv a.mg iMil.rr.~?rd:Arrr ?brc. i n VI b b g r i r joincd i n 1967.l rion (Ne\r. 2001).l e l i a n ro C n ~ l i r hfor thc qu~cklocriricire~hcmoveI C I ~ I ~ M ~ I > . sibly Ins h r r n ~ f uonly l bcMureurn o f Modern Arr (New York: .i(/r.t.ttcd highly respec14 nnlong [he b l ~ i o ocnh~logue.rl~~pri~sfuc. Redicale".

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

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

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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. 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. There would be little time for Archizoom and sUPER5'TUD10 to evolve between the two . One lives there and one sleeps there .. Without the distractions of the big city setting. the city's artistic community had been taking important steps towards building a receptive place for an alternative contemporary art culture. whose entire economy functioned outside of major industries like Milan or the huge bureaucracies like Rome. some reforms were achieved." But in less than a flash. assemblies. o r getting swept into working class struggles. performance artists like Allan tions threw the two events out of sequence. Florentines were gradually becoming acquainted with the most important players on the European art circuit." Piero Frassinelli opined: ". but ultimately a setback to the cause.'" 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.. students moved in smaller circles: but one event in 1966 would act to pull the \\thole architectural community together the past." Over the Ions term.. And then of course there is the historically rich city of Florence. now buried deep under metres of mud and debris. The prolonged struggle for educational reform is to be credited with furnishing the powerful rhetorical ammunition exploited so proficiently by the Superarcbiterlure generation. with extensive meetings. Students attending the School of Architecture in Florence in the 1960s had a much harder time finding work. the sound artists from l3uxus..bly energetic. more events and experimental projects. Maria Gloria Bicocchi's gallery Centrodiffusionegrafica on Piazza Saltarelli (later to become a d t a p e s 22. the point may in fact not have been whether the reforms to the university system ever were entirely successful. all-night sit- Kaprow. Florence was primarily an artisan-manufacturing centre with a very powerful shopkeeper middleclass. Alessandro Mendini's land of "Good design" could be almost anywhere 42 If in fact Florence was hopelessly blocked by traditional conventions. others never came close. The planning for the first Superarcl~irecrr~re exhibition in Pis- the Arno valley as an enormous lake. Scenes ments of artifacts from the river? sediment and painstakingly handling them like birds caught in an oil slick were emotionally stirring. or protesting national policies.Radical architecture is born in the occupied university. dle class were incapable of seeing beyond the city's customary traditions.

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 -

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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.
' Ilornc war bombitrdcd I"
~\r,eenthcm, bo, rhcr were
m d ;trotand #hc
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11on ; ~ n d y;trds. mainly
(corn he beginnin): e ~ l r ~ c ddrnluging t h e a . o r h p d;~u
ns s right and Iamncliar r c ~ i d c ~ ~distTiCI
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group of fricndr or cohonr.
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Grirpigni, sutdcnr> rcvolr.
Conrinuilgnnd Crisis: t l i s r d bec;>oscthes were con- w r y md I'rojecc in L ~ l i ; ~ ~
rciously ;~s..trct h ~ soclcly
r
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e i bragbr Jd '68 (Milan:

194-951.

1999.

,', so lirrle
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can bc con.

3idered h i r ~ o r i ~ ~ l l ~
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ar well as r " Fontan2 (cit.l'ctcrLnnp. Scicnce Ficrion be imporrant ro go deeper works ar o son o f alterna. Genoa and thc South. ~ r m i n such abandon and misery".ere [he issuer [hat pro\. "Prab.rc.. "Diwomo agli 5.287.t h a ~the city hsd l e s who sough[ f:~t. war pcriod (500rrudcnrs ln 1958 to 1500 in 19661.a trivis~lobrema~ion p h r . M Filer (no. London. cember 20021.May 19W. 1944dcncn O f the porriblc iuc198.Grc~otti. (Cin.iId Ino. becoming a sonofwish lirr for the then Preside G i ~ i r c ~G~oer i who lpropored n new rh. 1991.nr orld admission by btlr Press. Pirzoilo and Di jcrts i o a Crirtina. rcncr war and remains counerhecirs'r. i n Gmhrllir-Co.toia fc.. 287. i ~ ~ i (no.~nr and ~n~r. 1221. '' IM. 35. 47. Corrctti. C o . H. " G l i Anni Qui~rnnvn'. 7 Decembcr 20021. a conrmverriril .ore iaccorion \\. Florence drew xu- ns to upen tire thesis pro- \r. M~rr. Crahell<r-Cot.and i ~ ~ ~ d e ~ u ~ ~ c e r . the destiny ofFlo..tr occupicd the rector's office. r. rc\. cdr. n r c l ~ d c c l : ~ r ~ r h o ~ ~ ~ i n P i ~ ~ iiir n s r nor a prccire oblip.lecturc held nr thc FncoltB d i Firenzc i n orrarian ofthe faculry confcrence held i n Romc hc. inS0pee of chc Florcnce School of hrchi~ecrurcwnspublished i n the Florentine daily in Decembcroil966.R o m ~ c c .. \villing lo alloiv erperi.JerricaLcvinc tors thsc lily behind Fla~ n c e ' rgrowing ppulnriry. h4.>y 19M. 1%. Dcripns b y Arch!.cn thc rchool'r pcnchsln~for precise ink drmingr. M.ould relocatc rhe school inro (he pcriphcry running along the fwrhills on the RorcnccPni+l'ir.hlaric Therer Stauffcr laced Dranzi.~l\vayso f Franci.lr a. 71.79 IN. rhopkeepcrr.brdFe.irucc thc existing power structures within (he oni. i n G ~ n h c l i u .\r i n f s c ~rhc cost o f [he proferrionally m ~ d etmodelr for thc (hesir proiecl.tri region from RcFSioCmilie.inrcn~iew thcrchool ingcnectl nccd.Milnn. r.I .cd in C~rcrbel- i n Romc. and Tonddo d i Frenci.m reaching arrir~antr. ~l>elirrrSt. > ~ .from nII social clurrer. war quite .ri. fessorr wcrc n.lnoToraldodi And here \\. licr . Aho see M . 287. lvlily 196-1. foornore 37)." R c o l t i dcl corrruire". Thesrliclc ourlined rhe tcnuour condicionr t?dngthe rchod after che flwd. 1951.auld cros-d.\vi~hrnsrr . "In inrcn.7.enlml: mentarion inro the cir?.o~rs \ v i ~ b reridcnrisl Iproblcmr than rhc \lorking cli~rrcs.ider rnnjie of topics.bn:trdi n r ~ n l h arhich (he univcrriiy and ~ions. Cnpobianco and C.ecnrible toercr)nne. 401. Perer Lang. chirct~ami~rliilrrn: 191019.een I 4 and 15 M ~ r c h 19M. LO deal with thc wpid 1r.lrian from Mondndari.denrr from a v. :' Toraldo d i France recalled that Ricri'r course had rhc r~udcntrwork on ftlll-rcnlc models.to include rhe participstion ofrhcrmdentrin ar~demlcdecirionr. verri~y.nn.~pler: Elecra Napoli.:Thc \r.o/l/nl. c. 20021. t\\. rirnrl. ~ ~ i . 0 yello\v bound meekly news-stand publi- and more could bc developed on each o i r h e indi. 1998.ing his or~cntionr lirer and bccnure rhc !pro.. " h l i n ~ o r cFanfmi \\.tcb jii\. nant politicxl class to have ' C a p o n e ~ r oinnd Fmcnrrilcfr the Iralian r c h w l ryr.". 1990.ar.er)~one. 191. ami~h srbour lifly othcr students our dirporitlon reparore inridenccthen. '" "In 1968 rhe Iralii~n Schools of Archilecturc be- " Umnir. 'I." "In his iwopural lerrurc for the new year.i!i. n. Bur they were prerenr e.thcrc.lrured ciwdboard ittian roproviderhcmu. interview with . 7 Deresponribiliry ofthe domi.vork l o rlirrrncr rhcn?. ingtoCrirri.ulello. lemi per una nuovn maggior~nza".oked them to occupy the rec~or'roffice on Plap Z I San Marco in 1964.er merropoby focu. biunco. E.391 '' Tornldo di Frzlncin m w rhc fight to do arvay with lhc expensive nmdclr us a sign rhnr much tnorc had to ch. 3MI..p6n~oftheschwl'r populationduringthep~c.c or escapist li~eri~rure dynamic. '' Leonardo Ricci. Ar.~r $vcll versity in 1963 ond 1901. national-levcl policicisn Con. toia ilxir.inirric h c r locked i n the hitndr of rhe itngr IL?Nt~:tone.rhe olhcr grca.er districts blc having I n r professionto begin w i ~ h But accord . Cilrreri. Capo. with C r ~ t h n oT o r ~ l d odi ilndrhitr iiirno~theprecire Francid (Filortmno.rriirird (no. According l o ~ h address c by SO Gori.as .ni.iewrwith rcvcrnl members of Archimam and SUPERYTUDIO. See Slauffcr (cil.orking cl.tppro.nnae: their demands were to opco the univeoicy ryrrcm co~?. v i d u ~ lmcmberr of the i ~ m u n d group. During the nr~cmblies[hey refused ro veuk bur chirped inrrei~d perrhcd on [he bcnchcr likes raosring birds. T h n e \>. zoom and Supciscudio". Milan.znyof rhere godr rhe Florrntinc Radical were rhated. rei L%!ng. inrcrvicw wirh Crirr h n o Toraldo d i Franch (Filottrnno.as ~ h e rhe school's prcridenr.such .hat rhere w r n lack of this ii. Milan. " On the agenda were r l o dcnrs' demilndr to reeon. Dcg. and it \\. Cnrre".lfuri.into su~cns-ruoro'sgroup tn. 'lnccrvirra ia BrunoZNi". i n M . See Grispigni k i t . 7 Dcccmbcr 19661. "V.rtnn.~as part of the group 111. T.ar p a c lpse. Rq. largcnumbcrof fore~jinrnlimr Arrbiiecl.ho nrc on.

.

visionary drawings coming from the studios of young Florentines from 1966 on were an altogether different level of creation. group 9999 and others." It was the first to feature the young Florentines and none of the other visionary architectural draftsmen of the period: Cedric Price.. as Peter Cook reminds us.' They suggested a fantastic architectural scene in Florence that made California seem very provincial and unimaginative. "Please domesticate me". for what you have domesticated. Achievetnet~tsand I'roblems ofltalia~rDe. 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..' The arch scenes of Rome.~ The largest and most expensive exhibition in the history of MOMA. Ugo La Pietra.it featured alongside a survey of contemporary Italian industrial and doniestic product design a SUPERSTUD~O Mimocvent/Microcrrvirontnetrt as well as projects by Archizoom.Rucker-Co. The Architecture and Design Department under Arthur Drexler created other important exhibits: Visiotra~~' Arch~tectrrre(1960). but this small museum and university city was very much a hot spot in the late 1960s. "kick ass design" but more importantly they were "creative initiatives". as Doug Michaels puts it. Gianni Pettena. Gruppo Strum. Architecture IVitbout architect^ (1965) and just before Neru Dotne. Haus. Its "strategist" Adolfo Natalini taught there for a semester with Archigrammer Mike Webb..domesticated?" "It is an act too often neglected. 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". Archigram o r the Austrians: Coop Himmelblau. is "a safe distance from Cape Canaverd.r Little Pri~~ce: "You become responsible. 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. image making and thought than mere product design. Venice and Milan were vibrant in their own ways. The drawings of SUPESTUDIO.. : . forever. and Austrians Raimund Abraham and Friedrich St Florian. unlike anything being ~ r o d u c e din America at the time.orld where architectural shifts and drifts are internationalized cquickly across cyberspace." . It means to establish bonds.Archizoom.' 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. 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..rtic Landscape. UFO. This small Tuscan city. In today's \\. the galleries of New York and Dusseldorf. Ugo La Pietra and others were.sig~z. Gruppo Strum. it is hard to imagine a small museum city like Florence as a centre of international thought on architecture. It had an architecture culture that revolved around one of Italy's most lively and politically engaged architecture schools. said the fox." "What does that mean . urbanism and design. The exhibition and catalogue attempt to rectify this understand- sign culture.

.One must observe the proper rites ."I want to. and the pollution of tlie environmenr now cncounrered in all industrialized countries".icrions too often neglectedn. said tlie fox. and is what "rhe exhibition is .I great many things to understand. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship. ". domesticate me . The catalogue essay by Manfredo Tafuri. the little prince replied." "One only understands tlie things that one domesticates".. They buy things already made ar shops. soriie of these designers "despairing of effecring social change through design. instead they engage in a rhetorical operation of redesigning conventional objects with new ironic. thereby insuring most co~ilpellingapproach since it "corresponds to the preoccupations of a changing society"." When in society"." If this were not cnough of a qualifier." They do not "invent substantially new forms.. 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~~. said the fox. Ambasz then proclaims the irrelevance of objects: "for many designers. ."" 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"..:~ The second group o r rhe reformists. "They re what make one day different from other days. 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. one hour from other hours. the aesthetic quality of individual objects intended for private consumption [has] become irrelevant in the face of such pressing problems as poverty. "Men have no more time to understand anything.. I have friends to discover.. in rhe spirit of polemical discourse. very much". 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". "But I have not much time. If you want a friend.'" These absraining designers. I I~by I modular housing industry." Furthermore. and . 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". simply refining "already established forms and f~nctions". for and Archizoom for bcexample. urban decay." "What must 1 do. to domesticate you?" asked rhe little prince. ~ n dsometimes self-deprecatory socio- tradictions and paradoxes of the firsr two groups." "What is a rite?" asked the little prince. and so \ve have no friends any more. are given a chapter in the caralogue ro stare their position and critique those with whom they disagree about the production of objects. 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". "Those are .

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

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

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

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

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that attempted to translate the group's theoretical and ideological concerns into "practical" projects. We recognize this first brief period to be the Slrperarchitecrurephase in the group's evolution. Archr~ec~rrre and I~noge 3. The period benveen 1966 and 1968 represents the group's early developmental stage. Roberto Magris. Cristiano Toraldo di Francia. . Benveen 1967 and 1968 three main themes were identified for further investigation: 1.1966-68 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. Simultaneously. constructed on a critical re-evaluation of their educational experiences and tied to the contemporary architectural and design culture in Florence. and after April 1968 Piero Frassineh. Archi~ec~ure and Mo~rrrrnen~ 2. Many of their core theoretical and representational concepts they later developed originated in this earliest phase benveen 1967 and 1968. Techtlo~norphicArchirpcrure These three categories were subsequently synthesized in three major theses: I~luenriorrDesign and Evasion Des~g~i (1967). the group organized a fully professional architectural and design office. from their first offices in Via Bellosguardo 1. an intensive initiation to the world of architecture that paralleled the early development of Archizoom.]ourrrey into the Real111of Reaso~r( 1 9 6 8 4 9 ) and the development of a "single design". The office began with Adolfo Natalini. A Caralogue of Villas (196748).

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"8 Aluo pan81IOU $8 a111ieqt pue -!11nmAlddns noA a r e > ~ n ! aql ) ul loalp Alalns IIeqr aMpue adoq ul '. aql aql Ajddnr noA'are?puo?ar aql ul pue may1 YllM an11 ~ ~ ' r a r ~ ~10d l n s ul'rlagem~adnso q ~~ ! ' E J P ~ PUO u! 111q u ! q ~aq arn aqlol wag) rlndlain llnl Pue lnlasn amaslaq~n2Pam0103 hl!2 aql u! orlelnq 'ran8l lallwed llems q 3 ~ a pue 'asn lerlanlun 10 r l ~algo . Aq paradml r l m p o d vql uo uo!l>a!al or~leuol~nl. 'jelauafi "8 6ulmoq fiu~p!onelo . ' aluew~ollad ~ rnonulluoa e Waql aloufi! ol a ~ q ~ r s oaqd A ~ MAUP u61a101 6~83np~lu8 10 hoaql aql uo . 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Allua~~n.uo~~uanu~.O w l e sol qllrnrafiew~pue aql AICJPIY plnoqs a ~ l l a l q nrlql r uo peaye GuloG ri wr~joqwArq l l ~ p a f i ~ e q'12.i o u61rap lo] walqold aql ale) a M h e i l ~ o .o an~le~ado lanl3 PIP SarUOlr 11119 101a ~ ralllr~ l p a l u m padlda(a(~eiedueaplpnj e pue an~iew.no allxoxa l j l ~ l a q l ~ I I Arlmlqo ~ luairAs aql olul s a t p q n q l o u .aurap parralda~lo aroljl 110s oneq lleqr a m slulld arauedep 01 a l q ~ r r o d avow l ~ DI ubsap uotsrna 'puemap ~ a a n r u o ~ p u e l G o l o q l a l l o j a l i w >o. SAc*~lepuc laqlelal wa41 qli* Aeld sAe~lolom aql uo'remau~.alqo lualrlra fiu~u~ano6sua8lelnfia~ (~1161n1llaapoa s layla aql u o ' a ~Pl ~ uo ant1 01 ale amnoq ~noqe'laramoq 'UOIS~IS.~ur awld aMr13npo~dufilrap leql a l l l ~ oslsodu6!s j re w a r pue ' a l l l ~ e l ~ ~ ~ ~ e m o ~ q ~ ) r a ~ a d o i d ~ o raql u ajar A3uafie aql$ ( u ~ .adra PUP all!xall re aq II!M "a41 ame2aq 01 uaql u6lrap uolreq uo!Ienl!r 10 araql ale elepaql . 2 G e loo~dq>oqrA1116no~oql slmlqo 6ullr!ra ue ul .an11 noA ralem leqlhlaod aql r! 11.u#e6elano (lo ul saq.no lo r u a r ~ e ~ r a p s6qqmlrip m luopaloq pue A ~ ~ p d n l sra~~alsAlu io aroql puelrrauaqll pue a6lml lram 3ql lo auordsqlad'.lru.~ 10)wool IIIIS 51 a w l lo 1x1~0 aql r! llrualn aql UllqM u.] fiulpl~nq sulnl aql uo pllnq 11eqsa M Jaldnua aql Aq pallddnr aroql all1 pape~Gap 111 411Mr~419fi01Allelol 11Sumlonu! l a lualalllpui ale Aaql I!uara pue Ilun-rauleluo3 aql fiullllpolu u! 'pull Aue lo rnu!eiuol ul rllalqo paawnr 1eq1uaqr ul n m l q o ~eualllunlAlle>~~aod lal!em aql uo lnd Inolneqaq pue uol13c 6ullldrur rnql am .I ~ l q b o qG1q 'sllaIq0 Gu. r l r n p l d m o l a 411M1~0llel3~n~ap10 s!sA~eue101 a u l l ')!?a pup aluonua 'worloq p u e d o ~lo rrarn aql lie fiu~nlonu~ rueawrlql OUYI~M hlaod q l l 6ulhll ~ arodlnd ruoner8pul an6enqlf~'rallomam .u61sap aqduomoo.q>olq ~ e l l u a p l r aull ~an11 Ael st op 01 !"DM a m l e w puno~fi '"ua6lllalu! 4 1 lo sllaq leas all1 Aluo o w asoql'sllenraql uo dn r6u11uled aql uo r l l r auohana q 3 1 w l e6u11aam 6ulualq611pllom act1 punol sa81elaulll 6uhlnd Inoqllm Uana an!l ol alqlrrod r! l r a l o ~ dvllaed aql 'ul. . uo~luanu~.aUMoaql 118 101 'dlqsu~?IeJnlOu parodml slamrue palewqela~daql Aq 'uaqi pu.npo~d(e8~lsnpullo aql Aq pasodml SlaMsue palelllqela~d plall aql ut fiu#le.no buqem "006 01 'ranlasmo U O I I ~ I ~ ~ ~ I U Daql I lo1 swool pue aleunuol aioql wo.uejq m o l l ~ ~ a re t l l alq@~6euem 6 jralddlq sql lo auo aslls!nble-uou all1 u16aqol lael u! paau a M ruealp lo uam lo) d ~ i u e m n ~lowuollPZll!All ~ uoiac2t(t.

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

alqo ue oluo fiulueam l o .n. s q $1~ qxem aql ul 'PI~M paPualrlp 'aualor alom e r! ~01181hlr lrsl aql UOII~P anlsens ue (a6emt ue 10 adoq aql hllea~rl q11qmJ 101 rlvllno aql alrdald hluo up.INeIlr. 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Alalmr Lsua!lnlona~'ma" e aq ~l~mamanbarual 1~>86ojaq1 ' u e m p alnleu aql 01 u6!a~ol'AIA~IP fiu~~eua~le us re uaas ' y ~ o m a e ~ ~ ~ a d a ~ pue panlrlladr lo pua aql ueam am 'porn lo pua aql hg 'rlulod 6~81relr Ienba q1m 6uluul6aq ' r a l l ~ l ~ q ~ r r o d $1410luawdolanap aql u! rape161ualalllp q l e a ~up3 auahana q r q ul~ alelr ue~le~lleGa aaq mau e l o q3~earu! lapom l p ! m pue hqllela1q e SO h1!1 aql10 uo!leulmlIa aql 'lamod 10 ~ a j n l l n lleuloj l ~ aql l a uol~elnmnmeaql l o uol~eu~lu~l a ueam a~ 'h113 aql l o uolleulmlla aql hg 'nlalqo 101lou pus (rluamala alqerodr~ppue lennau l o uol11puo2 aq! 01 pampa.qi a a ~ q at(. o ja uot~.: 1. e no ]raw! l o boaql aql lo. a q ~ papualul A~~IBJIP. hldwa ue 'lr!xa o l $areal awnruol iabeq3 10 100q 01 luawa2npul ue S O ullsap uaw aql rl ralelr alelpa~lalull o booq1 uo~ldwnruol-uo~llnpo~d a q l laqlla ~ a l l o01 ran!leualle 10 sall snoll8~1)aq110 uoll810qeaql lea13ou seq pus (llau! aleu!wlla 01) PuaAaq'arn pue uo8llnpold uaamlaq eplxnr I!umolol a6elnol lua1~8jjnr r d ~ q r u o ~ ~loe luo!l>nrlruom8 a~ aneq IOU raop hla83or e uaw aqI q6nolql % 6 r u j o 'rraupanerlo luanbal) ramolaq r8soqd~owelayy 'qlhm 10 sanlen aql qllm papeolal 51 11 'I! saop lo .rpaau $14ol 6~1p.or m m ajo~ ralxqan aql sno~.) rlla!qo qllm anll aA$ lcql os'lamod ul aroql hq parodmt r u o ~ ~ s l o u uaql o ~pue . 9 woll salt amleu 10 alrlr P S~JO"OI hwapual s rc ralnllnns lewloj 10 UO~IOU!UII~ aql -Aluo a x o ~auo Aq puelaua6 uaaq B A P 10261 ~ a ~ . 10 salnqr~lls.maql qllqm 6ul~nparoq! ale q6no~t11 a6 01 ho~lr ap01 lua6)n ramomq 11uaql seq 13aIqo aql q x t l IaPOqd~Omelam ~ 'paqaeaj aq hcm a y l 'Allleal l o alua~~adra uollsnllom 6u!hllapun aql la lenomar llal!p pue Allleal lo lillol D awo3aq 0.o)bnlual r rlql u! alnllnl pue hlalmr ul ra6ueql aql (Ie moq aar uel am'hlaroll 8001am11 qrlqqnt lo rulelunow lo s~!sq3I!wala Inl#lneaq6u1u61sap hq dn pua l)!m am 'ar<rmaqlg'hlal3os ul II~II~II~ aql lo y'om aql jo (adaq e lo) eapl us lnoql!m 'aml!ulnl u61sap01 lo'u6lrap a~nllwnllnoqe alqlrrod $1 u ~ u ! qIOU ~ op aM ~I~JMOI . s jo ued $1 le!~rlalo>da q l o ~h1111q8sramr aesra~6ord)!a41 r r e l l Su!lnl aql hq parodold riapow jo uolrsa~dra 841 rlsqmAr rnlelr are nx!qo q 'OLU~PUOI 01 luawalnpu~hla~am$1 u6mp e -1041palllrel~o w 0 (rpaau eau fiupnpu! m a 'rpaau Lelund jo I '(q1191q19~1 AlJanod puolar p r: PUB 0 ~ 0 l q ssa11118n) 3 ulewal l l ! rl!sualn ~ aql 'pueq auo aql uo snql ruo!Ielado aldm!s q sl~suajn 'sassel3 6u!lnl aql hq parodm!. am a 6 w ! ar8leu~alleaql 1q611ol am03 AOM 1141 UI 'SUOII~UIWIIUOI ~noln~p!~ 'A~lpom' a ~ r a r u o'an86 l 'wlo]susll lo 311aqled 'molepuelr lrow p(naw 'me 01 paau aql re r6utq1 aqj alnll~rqnrhem am 'er.adnr re 'a3ue3lllu6lr nl ja ualllnllrap aql 'malrAs aq! 01 13a!qo aql pu!q qllqm (apelmdr aql l o ved lelluarra us ~ ~ I ~ M ' S Uspell O I UPUO ~ salljed 1ew1od 6~1pnpu!.ray] ja uorlannap aql "raw a n rlm!qo l o uolllnllrap aql hg palmuuo~Alarol3rluana a l e y l o m ) ~a)~emaddel!paql pue aq1p uollPulu!la aql 'rllalqo 10 u08lmnrap a q l x m .l~uo.ruorn lo uo~sra~dxa saaluelen6 Gu!mla~'~0!13e 183160111 pue monu!luolr!p q6noql rlql pus '.an-aa!d pue q3n1'10111m D 10 alej~ns841 uo amllna ua ra~mjng aql lo a l ! l l s ~ d sc 'AIMQIS 'q. $11lo1 bl "el am 13aIq0 ue l o luqu!ql.uoil~nllrualal.ome'auobana 01 'ra!llledP1 rlq 01 ~UIPIO~IO 'auobana WO.fiu~psagano.al 1el1601oqlhrd a111 q6no~q1pallala Apealle a ~ e qam q l i w OI IPII~SIP 10 h6alelir leg1 l o lled rl1.!qm ul palean $ 1 pare pasol.~ P I ~ U O ~ ~aql J~W a11qh'mql ala1dmo3~1aq1 pull ue.

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wh~ch flllr the cavern 1toccup8er. each one of which has a dtarneler 32 fcet less than theane beneah Each level IS 8 feel high. through the.000 leel. heads (ma lheopenrngr gwng on lo the central space. a>rand water became rurplur Any residue.Eighth Clty. Conlcal Tanaced City The clly rlrer ~nthe mcdrlof a groat plain. while llle d~ameter01 the lorverl level lr 16.dualrwllh lam~l~pr.ivo~kadmanulactureabteclr to ral~rtylhedemands01 the Inhabilanr of the upper levels Twice aday. oblectr. ~ h a t ~wllllrn r. thmgr are rlanlng logo really well. 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. 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.Its rows of gear-mechan~rmr. lhar Is. and from .. the roads reparato rquaro blorkr. stretch away out of rqhtrh~cheve. wandall other med~aronl~nually advert~reIhe marvellous novetller af the new houses. 11recreawr.000 leel. and ale 29 y x d r rvlde roclenjr rejects. each rccerr8ve level has 13 doors less The 5Wlh level has only 13doorr. apprenlly. Ninlh City.lr t<anrlormed rile machine producer ferl~ltierr . alter thlr penod.one has eue. roll dare to wander amongst Ihe rulnr.45 yearr later.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. 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. Its p~peltner.l~ke everyone else. 11opens up a recllon for a few seconds to admit the I ~ c k yone. Ihe cltlzenr that lump the Ilghlr. lrom the lhoure for more lhan four yearr after 11s conrlrucl#on. but na. The Ville-Mechina Habiles The clly 8s a machine. and almartaluay. 111s porriblelorelure to obey Iheofderr comng fromtlle mhab8enIr of the llmr abave. nor rtlll less lo those llvlng a b u e Theorel8cally. a body has never bean laund . ~ 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. all ~nhab~tants of the citq. the lerhaaal 8nnovat8onr. the never-before.eme. ca-ordinator. squarer.500doorr. ~nthe dim hall.conveyorbells. 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. meif. and $1I S for thsa fearon lhal the nervrpaperr. In the c~aumlerencewall of each level are daatr 2 1 7 feet A1 giound level there are 6. ready for use. 261 x 261 yards.where the mhab~tanlrl a m [he land.raundrog the cupala.way one looks. rom~nually endeavour to gel 8nto 1he rupala. lharedethraned On the terrace ru.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 .iulth anellon. which apparently has noopenlng at all 118s sad lhal 11one tauihcr a paillculal spa1 on ltr surface. never needs anything It Is sad that Ihe cupola has plied up hew and lherolerl~tqtothe lerm~tqollhelr llghlr Aclually. 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. receive. he thought of rumng the inhab~lantrlo thetr clry Now. lhur the lotal height 8s 4. whoivant lo lake them along. nolh~ng strange aboul~r11has rseelr. 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. 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. are at ad~rartrantagel The lnhabllanls 01 Iho hlgherl levels who have very lew orders. City ol Order Thlr c t y has. compla~nabout the unpunclual~tqofthe buses or !he lark oftvalerat the timer 11s most needed.and lhore walls have never beenreen The mhabllantr ltve m Ls machine endlessly dragged along by conveyor bells. anflhtnr) that d~er.Tenth City. as soon as a cit~zencomm~o some 159 .unt#l~tieaiherground level.11ghL grey and foggy. and erperlally thore on the very hlghert.ged l r m the ("pala la jell the others about 11. es are ever fewer Aclually. damage clly property. ~ t i a k e r * from the outrldeivorldanly some rays 01 runllghl. ruch a large mach~nethat not even 11s lnhabllanls knmv 11s rze. ~ t ' r not pars8ble to trallrmll impulses to tha 8nltab1tants01 levels ye1 lurther dhvn nor lo ~nhab~tanoolone's wmlevel. 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. who have none at all. by chutes and pneumatic tuber The marlllne ISrcll-ruffoent.The mart myrler8our querlron rr what happens la the prev80ur mhab~lantrof the cupola. 118s h e p8ler 01 bodler lhal prowd. but everybody maginpi hlrn to be happy because he never orders anflhing.. surrounded bya canal 600 feet w ~ d eI1 lr lormedaf MOc~rcular levolsane above the oher. gardens.?Ihemorl urelul means of cllmblnglnalurally ~ndiu. putl8ng the).al flred tlmer.wkrng 1118 mlll~on~ n l ~ a b ~ t aon n tar rlde lllraugh valloyi and hlllr. 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. connecung rods.

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