Manfredo Tafuri: Progetto storico (the historical project) as Political Project

author: Teresa Stoppani, London South Bank University
published: Oct. 20, 2017,   recorded: September 2017,   views: 948

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Tafuri’s celebrated and often misappropriated Progetto e Utopia (Architecture and Utopia, 1973) expands upon his 1969 essay Per una critica dell’ideologia architettonica. In Architecture and Utopia’s preface Tafuri dismisses the criticism that his essay had received as 'an apocalyptic prophecy', the ultimate pronouncement of the 'death of architecture', and explains that the book aims to identify 'those tasks which capitalist development has taken away from architecture'. Far from defeatist, the book looks for a form of engagement that can see beyond 'pure architecture/form without utopia/sublime uselessness' in order to return architecture to an active role in society. This paper argues that with this work Tafuri sets the grounds for his long-term project of reinventing architectural history as a necessary voice within architecture. This would redefine the role of the historian of (and in) architecture, but also expose the complex intersections of architecture with power, thus both revealing and instigating its powerful environmental agency.

Discussed case study will focus on Tafuri’s analysis and criticism of Le Corbusier’s Algiers projects.

Teresa Stoppani is Professor of Research in Architecture at London South Bank University, where she directs the Centre for Research in Architecture, Urbanism and Digital Construction. Her research interests are the relationship between architecture theory and the design process in the urban environment, as well as the influence of other spatial and critical practices on the specifically architectural. She is the author of Paradigm Islands: Manhattan and Venice (Routledge, 2010) and of the forthcoming Unorthodox Ways to Rethink Architecture and the City (Routledge, 2018), and co-editor of This Thing Called Theory (Routledge, 2016).

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