Between Urban Renewal and Nuova Dimensione: The 68 Effects vis-à-vis the Real
Keywords:1968 events, Nuova dimensione, Urban renewal, Real, Italy, United States
This article scrutinizes the effects of 1968 student protests and events on architectural pedagogy and epistemology within the European and American contexts. Through the juxtaposition of the transformations that followed the 1968 events, mainly within the north-American and Italian contexts, it shows how the approaches vis-à-vis the concept of urban renewal, in the case of Italy, and the concept of “nuova dimensione”, in the case of Italy, were reoriented and progressively abandoned. The central argument is that the strategies elaborated, in the American context, to criticize urban renewal architecture were based on principles that pushed architectural discourse away from the real, either neutralizing the real, as in the case of Peter Eisenman, or reducing the real city into its image, as in the case of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. In parallel and in contrast with the situation in the United States, in Europe, and mainly in Italy, the effects of a network of significant events that preceded and followed 1968, extending from the battles at Valle Giulia in 1963 to the occupation by students of the 15th Triennale di Milano in 1968 and the event “Utopia e/o Rivoluzione” at the Politecnico di Torino in 1969, triggered the rejection of the concept of “nuova dimensione” in favour of the rediscovery of the immediacy of reality, the "locus" and the civic dimension of architects' role in society. The purpose of the article is double-fold: firstly, it unfolds the mutations of pedagogical strategies and epistemological tools of architecture that were shaped because of the student protests in Italy and North America; secondly, it explains why the 1968 effects on architectural pedagogy and epistemology in Europe, and especially in Italy, were linked to the demand to reinvent and reinforce the relation of architecture to the real, in contrast with the North-American context, where the 1968 effects were associated with the invention of strategies that reinforced the liberation of architecture from the real.
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