The eccentric outsider. Or why Reyner Banham did not consider Giuseppe Samonà’s mega-project for the University of Cagliari
Keywords:Reyner Banham, Giuseppe Samonà, Città Territorio, Tertiary Society, Italian Postwar Architecture
In 1976 Reyner Banham codified megastructure according to its mere pragmatism and lack of ideology, the essential qualities given by the British contribution – from Cedric Price to Archigram and their celebration of technology for a nomadic homo ludens. On this point he contrasted the Italian mega-architecture of the same period, dismissing it for its political collusions and figurative anxiety. While it is a truism that the postwar Italian architectural discourse was imbued in political ideology, Banham’s dismissal purposely misses out the intricacies of a period still awaiting thorough international reconsideration besides few recognised highlights of theorisation. By reviewing a neglected project whose gigantism is second to none of Banham’s examples – Giuseppe Samonà’s University of Cagliari – this essay digs into a chapter that ultimately reclaims its nature as outsider within the phenomenon of megastructure.
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