"thus on the one hand, there will remain utensils... on the other, such symbolic objects as monuments or badges... objects that can easily be carried about if we should become nomads, or heavy and immovable if we decided to stay in one place forever."
By ro / lu in architecture
Published: Friday, 30 July 10 - 09:00 AM (GMT -06:00)
Last Updated: Friday, 30 July 10 - 09:11 AM (GMT -06:00)
if, as the boys of superstudio state, we live in a world of utensils and badges, utilitarian and symbolic objects, then superstudio along with many of the other radicals spent most of their time making badges. fresh out of college, they were champions of the left pushing for a rebellion against an inhereted existence which they clearly did not appreciate. like scouts they explored the relationships between man and society, man and landscape, object and maker, among many other things, receiving the appropriate patches of dissent and opposition along the way. many became international stars for the extraordinary badges they crafted. one man, giancarlo de carlo, whom largely remained in the background, spent the majority of his time crafting utensils, championing the same sorts of revisionism, and asking similar questions of society as the superstars of superstudio and archizoom.
as a founding member of team x, a group which had removed itself from the bombastic attitude of the aging ciam, giancarlo de carlo went on to champion a new cause that directly engaged the everyday man. in his 1968 article legitimizing architecture, giancarlo blasted the developments of modernist architecture and politics stating: "... we have a right to ask 'why' housing should be as cheap as possible and not, for example, rather expensive; 'why' instead of making every effort to reduce it to minimum levels of surface, of thickness, of materials, we should not try to make it spacious, protected, isolated, comfortable, well equipped, rich in opportunities for privacy, communication, exchange, personal creativity. no one, in fact, can be satisfied by an answer which appeals to the scarcity of available resources, when we all know how much is spent on wars, on the construction of missiles and anti-ballistic systems, on moon projects, on research for the defoliation of forests inhabited by partisans and for the paralyzation of the demonstrators emerging from the ghettos, on hidden persuasion, on the invention of artificials needs, etc."
in his most notable project, villagio matteotti, a large development for the city of terni, giancarlo turned to the people for assistance by asking for their input in the design process. giancarlo and the local trade union discussed at great lengths the layout and form of the soon to be built housing development. the resulting building is a symbol of the potential of "user participation" very rarely thought of during the generation of earlier modernists like frank lloyd wright who designed the clothes you wear in the chair they've designed for the living room they've designed. in this way, engaging the user to create a better development, villagio matteotti represents a beautiful concept that bridges the gap between a utensil and a badge. after all, couldn't it be both?
enjoy the weekend.
posted by nicolas allinder.