Superstudio’s Continuous Monument to Political Ambiguity

What are we looking at?

Revisiting Superstudio’s Continuous Monument

Most people involved within the architectural field will be aware (at least by sight) of the series of collages that have come to define the 70′s Italian radical collective “Superstudio” and their seminal project, the Continuous Monument. The project has come to be defined in popular architectural imagination as the seductive set of images of a long icy-cold snake with a stereometry heightened by an elementary support, that was an instant success precisely because it was utterly beautiful, utterly neutral and everyone could see their ideas reflected in it.[2]

Strikingly sublime[3] , highly seductive and visually pleasing[4], the most perfect, most juicy, most professional graphics to emerge from any of the ‘groups’ up to 1973[5]. These images have become so ingrained in the canonical architectural vocabulary that they are commonly cited both in lectures and history books, referenced in several high profile projects[6] as revolutionary images which articulated the voice of a younger generation of architects that was beginning to question the established rules.

Although it received widespread publication during the 1970’s, in a theoretical and critical sense the project was at best scarcely taken into account and at worst entirely ignored.[7] Perhaps due to its ambiguous nature, further confused by the convoluted written explanations of the Superstudio group, or perhaps due to a sense of disillusionment regarding the dominance of Modernist architecture, Superstudio, the project (and the movement of Architettura Radicale in general) was studiously avoided by [Manfredo] Tafuri, placed in the Late Modern category by [Charles] Jencks, ignored by the Americans and the international glossies.[8]

Contemporary criticism of the group, is frequently incapable of articulating the ambiguous character of the project.[10] Yet the rediscovery of the earlier Italian radicals is important for the younger generation… but many clichés of the movement have arisen from romanticising and distorting its radicalism…[11] Renewed interest in the ‘radical’ period of the late 1960’s with several high profile exhibitions and publications[12] suggests a fresh critical analysis of the Continuous Monument, as one of the key projects of the period, is warranted.

 

 

Grids

 

In the early part of this century there began to appear, first in France and then in Russia and in Holland, a structure that has remained emblematic of the modernist ambition within the visual arts ever since. Surfacing in pre-War cubist painting and subsequently becoming ever more stringent and manifest, the grid announces, among other things, modern art’s will to silence, its hostility to literature, to narrative, to discourse.[13]

In almost every rendering of the Continuous Monument the surface of the superimposed form is covered in a grid. Extending to the horizon and beyond the limits of the drawing, the grid provides a perspectival framework which places the monument immutably within the context of the landscape depicted. In order to maintain a realistic sense of perspective within the renderings, each grid varies according to the angle of the background photo taken; each image of the Continuous Monument is therefore drawn site specifically regardless of the apparent uniformity of the series. This grid becomes part of the landscape, establishing its presence over it, at once alien and imposed yet beyond human agency – pure and unchangeable, creating objects which will last, hard and immobile, shining and simple, and at the same time complex and ambiguous, because [they are] built of the materials of memory.[14]

Whilst the perspective of the grid seals the monument in its respective landscape, the geometrical severity often contrasts with the natural backdrops it is set against. The grid becomes a symbol of the alien inserted into a familiar landscape, flattened, geometricized, ordered, it is antinatural, antimimetic, antireal…[15] and  its presence serves to silence any visual discourse between the monument and its environmental context. This purity and severity can be understood as a gesture of finality, a call towards an exalted architectural end-state.

The absolute stasis of the grid, its lack of hierarchy, of centre, of inflection, emphasizes not only its anti-referential character, but – more importantly – its hostility to narrative.[16]

The geometrical perfection of the grid cannot be dissected by the viewer into any constituent components, allied to any cultural events or social norms; it is alien and uncommunicative. It presents a homogenous surface which resists interpretation and classification, it is lifeless, unprovocative, neutral. Architecture’s immutability and ubiquity is presented as a lifeless form which refuses to be categorised or critiqued in its detached state from social reality.

The grid also enforces the sense of the monument’s dominance; it defines the field of monumental vision. As part of a series of nine drawings, the grid becomes a connective visual element between the series, applying its reductive logic throughout the drawings, and symbolically in the project, throughout the world. Often extending off the page of the drawing, the grid suggests within the individual image a sense of inescapable continuity implying a totalitarian architectural power. It enhances the severity of the monument’s platonic forms exaggerating its geometric rigour, and as the sole animating element of the facade it reinforces a powerful and binding order of regularity, certainty and uniformity.

The grid then, fulfils two seemingly contradictory roles. On one hand it creates the stasis that negates any interaction or interpretative deviance with the viewer. Its geometric perfection alienates it from its surrounding context; its ubiquity and extension throughout the series of images implies a vision of an oppressive crushing architectural totality. However, the grid’s tracing of a perspectival framework across the surface of the monument suggests a degree of contextual specificity. The grid is explicitly complicit to the physical rules of the surrounding landscape, suggesting that the monument might not be a totally alien construction, and is clearly intended to be understood within the reality of its surrounding context; it does not exist in the isolation belied by its stark representation. Through its formal perfection the grid also creates the condition whereby the monument can exist in its final state. The inherent opposition of the grid to change or doubt, alludes to a timeless serenity as well as totalitarian megalomania. The monument rests calmly, immovable in the landscape, unchangeable and perfect. The monument which as a presence exerts both an attractive and a repelling force[17] does so because it represents a perfect architecture as much as a horrific one, Looking for the Zen-like essence of architecture, they returned to what they considered its most basic form, the square. Simple and consequently innocent, it was not open to misuse or misrepresentation. The square block was seen as the first and ultimate act of architecture.[18]

Although Superstudio claimed that the use of the square block was not open to misrepresentation, it seems that the grid, as a three dimensional array of these square blocks, represents two opposing ideologies which allow the images to be interpreted as both a terrifying architectural nightmare full of latent oppression, yet strangely sublime, serene and alluring in its presence.

 

Glass

Glass architecture assumes the characteristics of a revolutionary surface for a new subjectivity – an austere and slick surface on which it is hard to leave traces, accumulate commodities, or form habits. It becomes a metaphor, perhaps an instrument for… the possibility of beginning again at the beginning, as a potential of the catastrophic yet cleansing devastation of something like war.[19]

Every drawing of the Continuous Monument is rendered so as to make the monument seem to be completely clad in glass. Faintly transparent, or opaque and milky, the silvery bluish tones, sometimes airbrushed, sometimes coloured by pencil still achieve the same visual effect. Walter Benjamin, writing on the pioneering use of glass in construction by the Modernist architectural avant-garde of the 1920’s, was thoroughly taken by the transformative power of this building material to purge and cleanse society through its architectural application. Living in a glass house would be a revolutionary virtue par excellence… an intoxication, a moral exhibitionism, that we badly need.[20] He understood the use of glass as a symbol for a radically destructive advancement in architecture which would become the signifier of a more transparent, and less divided society to come, linking spatial interpenetration and transparency with the openness and flexibility that are characteristic of a new society.[21] Glass architecture was eulogized as the crystalline expression of man’s noblest thoughts[22] and praised by members of the modernist avant-garde as light, open, clean and above all, temporary.[23] Superstudio’s choice of glass as the monument’s primary visual element becomes part of an architectural heritage dating back to the founding of the Modernist movement.

An immediate contrast exists however with the monument’s portrayal of glass and the view taken by Benjamin. Although every image is suggestive of a glass-clad monument, there is no hint as to its interior. Benjamin’s commentary on the purifying property of transparency is not borne out by a form which although seemingly covered in a transparent facade, in fact hides behind a veil of secrecy. Full of apparent promise of ‘openness and flexibility’, the monument is in fact closed and secretive, more akin to the rigid social structures Benjamin had hoped this radical architecture would overcome.

The implication of the use of glass is therefore to refute Benjamin’s idealistic belief in materiality via a satirical play on the modernist architectural ambition. Superstudio seem to suggest, through their perversion of Benjamin’s revolutionary material that the early Modernist promises have not come true, and what we are left with is an architecture that bears all the revolutionary visual trappings and aesthetics, but remains socio-politically unchanged and unfulfilled.

Things that are made of glass have no ‘aura’. Glass is the enemy par excellence of secrecy. It is also the enemy of property.[24] In many images of the Continuous Monument, the glass facade is rendered so as to subtly reflect the surrounding environment, making the monument seem like a faint mirror of its surroundings. These reflections establish a relationship between the monument and its surrounding context, deflecting attention from the monument’s form and presence as the primary focus of the image. Instead the monument can be understood as a medium through which to view the surrounding context, becoming Superstudio’s critical lens. The extent of the uniform glass facade transforms this materialist ‘lack of aura’ into an immense plane of emptiness, which provides the anonymity and lack of deviance required for the perfect mirror through which to reflect society. This mirror effect is restricted to the facade, irrespective of the totality of the monumental form. However, the social critique is only drawn into play as the viewer juxtaposes the faint reflections alongside the ruthlessly overbearing mass, transporting any of its negative associations to the surrounding social context as co-author. The suggestion is that monument would not exist were is not for the social structure supporting it.

The ephemeral visual quality of the monument’s glass skin suggests that it might not be physically real, but its critical position depicts a state of social relationships that exists immaterially, outside the image. There is therefore a duality of innocence and threat within the image. The monument represents both an architectural fantasy, and its critical reality.

In this sense, the use of glass is much closer to Benjamin’s analysis. As a reflective material it carries heroic and transformative connotations through its critical social exposure, acting as a cleansing agent by casting light on the social structure which has given rise to the monument’s existence. Glass is presented as an ambiguous material, heroic and transformative in one sense, yet rigid and impenetrable in the other.

 

Monumentality

Having to mould large masses according to a general rule dominated by multiplicity, the general case and the law emphasized and made evident, while the exception is put aside, the nuance is cancelled. What reigns is measure, which constrains chaos to be form; logical, univocal, mathematical form.[25]

Superstudio’s portrayal of the monumental and totalizing potential of architecture is often interpreted as a critique of the Modernist movement’s utopian architectural ambitions. As a monumental entity deployed to express concepts that are the opposite of their literal meaning, representing an ironic rhetorical form[26] , they interpret the homogenizing effect of the International Style as a stifling of the human will, preferring to reject the notion of design altogether. By evading the traditional tasks of the architect, Superstudio hoped to evade [the] everyday dreariness” of a modern architecture “always without surprises and without hope.[27]

Giedion, Sert and Leger once eulogized the role of the monument declaring that monuments are human landmarks, which men have created for their ideals, for their aims, and for their actions[28], however, to Superstudio, the representation of monumentality visually enacted a collective failure of these ideals in relation to the capitalist system which denied their fulfilment. If design is merely an inducement to consume, then we must reject design, if architecture is merely the codifying of the bourgeois models of ownership and society, then we must reject architecture… We can live without architecture… Architecture is one of the superstructures of power.[29] This rejection of the power and utility of architecture seems to lie at the heart of Superstudio’s philosophical position yet it is only manifested visually in its opposite ironic form, monumentality. It is through this cloak of monumentality that the project maintains its polemical influence. The pervasiveness and sense of inescapability, which are direct results of monumental form and presence, are essential components of the social critique which other elements within the image need to align to. The role of the grid or of glass for example, could not be understood in the same manner without the notion of the monument’s totality and ubiquity.

The monument’s scale relative to its surrounding context distinguishes it and brings it to the fore of the image; its size is almost wholly responsible for the atmosphere of latent oppression its presence creates. However, its size also defines the mute silence of the monument as it is simply impossible to animate its entire mass with intention. Its vastness exhausts architecture’s compulsive need to decide and determine.[30] The use of monumental form creates a state where the monument cannot be animated precisely because of its monumentality. The monument exists as a formal entity in the image, but through its absolute rejection of human influence, does not exist as architecture. It is an alien presence whose authorship and intent remains completely unknown.

Rem Koolhaas’ essay on ‘Bigness’ puts the issue succinctly as, Where there is nothing, everything is possible. Where there is architecture, nothing (else) is possible.[31] The monument cannot be considered a total architecture since its negation of social interaction and influence, coupled with its ‘render-deep’ presentation, hardly form a convincing proposal. However, the monument is more than a void cut into the social fabric, as its endless planes form a new species of emptiness arrived at through conflict and destruction; a new tabula rasa from which it will be possible to ‘begin again at the beginning’. These two opposing poles form the boundaries within which the pendulum of personal interpretation can swing.

Commenting on the monumentality of the Berlin wall[32], Koolhaas says it was clearly about communication, semantic maybe, but its meaning changed almost daily, sometimes by the hour. I would never again believe in form as the primary vessel of meaning.[33] This rejection of the primacy of form and the allusion to a continuously shifting interpretation forms a neat critical summation of the Continuous Monument. Depending on the balance of view, the monument represents a swing towards total architecture, or total emptiness.

 

Utopia

Where do you think you’ll end up by taking the Utopian Road? Do you really believe that this is the way out of the mistakes and the misery that surrounds us? Have you forgotten that this road is as long as the existence of man and that no one has ever found a resting place along it? Can’t you see that it is illuminated by a false light; that the footsteps you can hear advancing are the sounds of dreams; that the lakes you can see from it are a mirage, a shimmering fata morgana provoked by the blinding sun?[34]

The Continuous Monument is often categorised as a utopian project with the implication of a positive vision being offered, yet Superstudio repeatedly insist that their project represents a negative utopia; merely a vehicle to carry the group’s critique. We put forward negative utopias, forewarning images of the horrors which architecture was laying in store for us with its scientific methods for the perpetuation of existing models.[35] Naturally there were those who could not see beyond the metaphors and treated everything as yet another utopian proposition. Too bad for them.[36]

There is something to be said however, for the notion of the monument as one of the first elements of a positive vision being offered. The reduction and destruction of architecture whilst manifestly negative in its critique and implication also provides the grounds for a new beginning according to Benjamin.

These negative utopias are acts of destruction that bring about an endpoint of architectural significance[37] by exaggerating and warping its presence and influence. These acts of destruction can be seen in a Benjaminian light in their potential for the removal of established values to lead to new and improved social constructs. His comments seem to reflect Superstudio’s ambitions in their struggle against capitalist architecture. This ‘monstrous unfolding of technology’ with its capacity to destroy entire cities and erase all traces of the past, has brought to mankind ‘a wholly new impoverishment’, a kind of barbarism whose destructiveness had a positive moment, eliminating ‘the dreadful mishmash of styles and worldviews in the last century’ to create a tabula rasa on which humanity is once more free of ‘human experience in general’, able to begin living again at the beginning.[38] The act of destruction is interpreted by Benjamin as an uncomfortable utopian proposition. The process involves a degree of barbarism which may be unpleasant; however its ultimate goal is to establish a point from which to embark on a new social beginning. The monument’s destructive character manifests itself as a horrific dystopian proposition; however, its implication as a tabula rasa suggests a more positive utopian outlook for architecture.  Superstudio… were working and designing for another society, utopia, a different society that didn’t exist.[39] They present utopia as a conceptual framework for critical debate… In so doing they deconstruct the modern type of utopia – and replace it with their own: utopia as a tool for critical reflection.[40] The denial of the utopian element within the project does not reflect this positive aspect of its dual nature. When considered alongside Benjamin’s notion of destruction, the monument can lay claim to be seen within the avant-garde history of heroic projects aiming to expose pretence and illusions, which are according to Benjamin the real aim of those who have the concern of ‘true humanity’ at heart.[41]

The monument is described as a purely figurative and symbolic project by the Superstudio group, We never for a moment thought of a future in little squares, of a world all beauty and reason.[42] Its strength seems to lie in its ability to capture and manipulate a critical atmosphere within a tangible reality – the images are symbolic but the message is real. By consciously moving away from the realism of the image, Superstudio begin to distance themselves from the social relationships that give rise to their polemical proposition. The rigour with which they pursued their solution towards architectural reduction is undermined by its symbolic status. If it isn’t necessary to live in little squares, is it also necessary to destroy architecture? Symbolism undermines the seriousness of the projects intention and conception. In their own words, their involvement was manifestly didactic: to analyze and annihilate the discipline of architecture by using ‘popular’ means of illustration and consumer literature[43], however – the reluctance of the critique to slip beyond the realm of the image and into the real world, represented by the project’s ‘symbolic’ status, remains a quite unsatisfactory conclusion to an extremely radical position. This lack of seriousness of intention within the critique attracted criticism from the left for being overly focussed on style and short on action. Manfredo Tafuri, the Marxist architectural critic in particular was scathing of what he perceived to be a charade of shameless political stunts with no substantive agenda, a project solely interested in its self-promotion and stylistic perpetuation than in real revolutionary anti-capitalist activity.[44]

The notion of utopia is perhaps the most difficult element to unlock within the project. Despite Superstudio’s denial of the positive utopian vision, the monument’s destructive character and endless plane of emptiness represent a tabula rasa which is undoubtedly hopeful. This positive vision is not necessarily indicative of any form of universal solution. Adolfo Natalini has been clear that In architecture, critical activity has always been connected with the concept of utopia; utopia is not an alternative model: it puts forward unresolved problems (not ‘problem-solving’ but ‘problem-finding’).[45]

However, the project’s inability to move beyond the symbolic questions the integrity of the critique underpinning it. The project seems to offer great potential and social insight through its possible interpretations, but its deciphering is left to the viewer. Its presentation solely as an image leaves it firmly within the disposable world of the poster image or the record sleeve and perhaps does not sufficiently interrogate the deep conceptual conclusions it generates.

 

Ambiguity

Throughout this analysis, the issue of ambiguity has been a key recurring feature. Almost every element in the project’s depiction can be construed in one of two distinct manners. This dichotomy of interpretation is pervasive throughout the entire project, both in its visual representation and its theoretical underpinning.

Superstudio’s political position manifests itself in its entirety within the single image. Their rejection of design and architectural hegemony are linked to the resultant manifestation of the monument in both a positive and negative way. The project is more than a socio-architectural critique since it symbolizes the rejection and nullification of architecture as much as its horrific persona; it is a vision of architectural death whilst simultaneously being a tabula rasa of hope from which a new conception of humanity can rise again.

We are given a hint as to the inhabitation of the monument via a series of drawings under a later project entitled Supersurface. In these renderings people are seen inhabiting a surface which affords them a blank start from which to live their lives, a situationist unitary urbanism with inhabitants endlessly drifting from event to event. The Continuous Monument represents a moment when the radical procedure of destruction and progressive reduction of the architectural object culminated [46]. This culmination suggests the existence of a utopian outcome within the project which runs contrary to the statements of the architects.

In a guttural and visually physical sense the ambiguity in interpretation seems to manifest itself in a quite uncanny simultaneous sense of serene beauty and quiet terror. Contemplating the monument we perceive an impossible, unalterable image, whose static perfection moves the world through the love of itself that it creates[47] contrasting with the harshness, the shock, the obvious insanity – but at the same time the incredible eloquence[48] of the vision.

The Continuous Monument is a project that resists classification and criticism through its theoretical and representational ambiguity. It exists in two worlds simultaneously, both as a critique and satire as well as the first tentative step of a utopian vision. This dichotomy between the images of hell and utopia, negativity and positivity, is what generates the ambiguity within the project and also within the image. This inherent ambiguity, which makes the project resist interrogation, may also explain its high regard in architectural circles. The iconic status of Superstudio’s imagery may owe more to the fact that it does not represent a fixed ideological position and so can never be comprehensively categorised. The images do not attempt to prescribe a future conception of architecture; they are a visual dialectic which show both sides equally through their ambiguity, they are no longer a scaled-down anticipation of reality, but an already realized discourse.[49] As Superstudio member Piero Frasinelli commented, the Continuous Monument was a success precisely because it was utterly beautiful, utterly neutral and everyone could see their ideas reflected in it.[50]

 

 

 

 

[1] Formed in 1966 out of the fervour of the turbulent Florentine university system, Superstudio was an Italian “radical” architectural collective comprising Adolfo Natalini, Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, Piero Frasinelli, Roberto Magris and Alessandro Magris. They disbanded in 1979. For a detailed history of the events surrounding the group’s conception, the educational situation in Florence, and the definitive printed chronicle of Superstudio’s work see LANG, Peter and MENKING, William. (2003) Superstudio, Life Without Objects, Milan: Skira.

[2] Piero Frasinelli in LANG, Peter and MENKING, William. (2003) Superstudio, Life Without Objects, Milan: Skira. p.79

[3] LANG, Peter and MENKING, William. (2003) Superstudio,  Life Without Objects, Milan: Skira.  p.20

[4] LANG, Peter and MENKING, William. (2003) Superstudio,  Life Without Objects, Milan: Skira.  p.46

[5] COOK, Peter. (1982) Natalini Superstudio, The Architectural Review. vol. 171, no. 1021. p.49

[6] Rem Koolhaas final project at the Architectural Association, The Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture, bears a striking resemblance to the Continuous Monument. A great fan of their work, he invited them to lecture at the AA in 1971. Bernard Tschumi also references Superstudio’s Continuous Monument in Architecture and Disjunction. Tschumi, Koolhaas and Hadid learnt the value of critical practice from Superstudio contends William Menking, a legacy which endures in young practices today. http://www.metropolismag.com/story/20040106/superstudio-pioneers-of-conceptual-architecture

 

[7] STAUFFER, Marie Theres. (2002) Utopian Reflections, Reflected Utopias, Urban Designs by Archizoom and Superstudio. AA Files, Architectural Association, vol. 47. p.25

[8] COOK, Peter. (1982) Natalini Superstudio, The Architectural Review. vol. 171, no. 1021. p.51

[9] SCOTT, Felicity D. (2007) Architecture of Techno-Utopia, London: The MIT Press. p.140

[10] WOERTMAN, Sander. (2005) ‘The Distant Winking of a Star, or the Horror of the Real’, in SCHAIK, Martin van and MACEL, Otakar. (ed) Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations, 1956-76, Munich: Prestel. p.154

[11] MENKING, William and KAZI, Olympia. (2007) Radical Italian Architecture Yesterday and Today, Architectural Design, vol.77, issue. 3 p.100

[12] A Superstudio retrospective was held at the Design Museum in London in 2003. Prior to that, an exhibition entitled The Changing of the Avant-Garde was held at MOMA New York in 2002 to showcase the Howard Gilman collection of visionary architectural drawings. The British group Archigram has recently concluded a 12 year worldwide touring exhibition, but still exhibits regularly. These high profile shows have sparked and maintained an interest in the fertile architectural period of the late 1960’s.

 

[13] KRAUSS, Rosalind. (1997) The Originality of the Avant Garde, London: The MIT Press. p.9

[14] Adolfo Natalini in a lecture at the AA in 1976 from LANG, Peter and MENKING, William. (2003) Superstudio, Life Without Objects, Milan: Skira. p.166

[15] KRAUSS, Rosalind. (1997) The Originality of the Avant Garde, London: The MIT Press. p.9

[16] KRAUSS, Rosalind. (1997) The Originality of the Avant Garde, London: The MIT Press. p.158

[17] WOERTMAN, Sander. (2005) ‘The Distant Winking of a Star, or the Horror of the Real’, in SCHAIK, Martin van and MACEL, Otakar. (ed) Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations, 1956-76, Munich: Prestel. p.155

 

[18] WOERTMAN, Sander. (2005) ‘The Distant Winking of a Star, or the Horror of the Real’, in SCHAIK, Martin van and MACEL, Otakar. (ed) Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations, 1956-76, Munich: Prestel. p.154

 

[19] MERTINS, Detlef. (1996) The Enticing and Threatening Face of Prehistory: Walter Benjamin and the Utopia of Glass. Assemblage, No.29. p.17

[20] MERTINS, Detlef. (1996) The Enticing and Threatening Face of Prehistory: Walter Benjamin and the Utopia of Glass. Assemblage, No.29. p.11

[21] HEYNEN, Hilde. (1999) ‘What belongs to architecture. Avant-garde ideas in the modern movement’, The Journal of Architecture, vol. 4, no. 2. p.138

 

[22] MERTINS, Detlef. (1996) The Enticing and Threatening Face of Prehistory: Walter Benjamin and the Utopia of Glass. Assemblage, No.29. p.15

[23] MERTINS, Detlef. (1996) The Enticing and Threatening Face of Prehistory: Walter Benjamin and the Utopia of Glass. Assemblage, No.29. p.14

[24] HEYNEN, Hilde. (1999) ‘What belongs to architecture. Avant-garde ideas in the modern movement’, The Journal of Architecture, vol. 4, no. 2. p.141

[25] Ludwig Hilberseimer from TAFURI, Manfredo. (1976) Architecture and Utopia, Design and Capitalist Development, London: The MIT Press. p.106

[26] STAUFFER, Marie Theres. (2002) Utopian Reflections, Reflected Utopias, Urban Designs by Archizoom and Superstudio. AA Files, Architectural Association, vol. 47. p.28

[27] LANG, Peter and MENKING, William. (2003) Superstudio, Life Without Objects, Milan: Skira. p.117

[28] GIEDION, S., LEGER, F. And SERT, J.L. (1943) 9 Points on Monumentality, [Online], Available: http://www.apha.pt/boletim/boletim1/pdf/NinePointsOnMonumentality.pdf [08 Apr 2010]

[29] LANG, Peter and MENKING, William. (2003) Superstudio, Life Without Objects, Milan: Skira. p.167

[30] KOOLHAAS, Rem. (1998) S,M,L,XL, New York: The Monacelli Press. p.512

[31] KOOLHAAS, Rem. (1998) S,M,L,XL, New York: The Monacelli Press. p.200

[32] Rem Koolhaas observations on the Berlin wall have informed his studies into Bigness, a state of architectural monumentality that bears similarities to the Continuous Monument. Bigness implies that “the size of a building alone embodies an ideological program, independent of the will of its architects.”

 

[33] SCOTT, Felicity D. (2007) Architecture of Techno-Utopia, London: The MIT Press. p.263

[34] DEYONG, Sara. (2002) ‘Memories of the urban future – the rise and fall of the megastructure’, in RILEY, Terence. (ed.) The Changing of the Avant Garde, New York: MOMA. p.32

[35] NATALINI, Adolfo. (2005) ‘How great architecture still was in 1968’, in SCHAIK, Martin van and MACEL, Otakar. (ed) Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations, 1956-76, Munich: Prestel. p.188

 

[36] NATALINI, Adolfo. (2005) ‘How great architecture still was in 1968’, in SCHAIK, Martin van and MACEL, Otakar. (ed) Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations, 1956-76, Munich: Prestel. p.186

 

[37] SCOTT, Felicity D. (2007) Architecture of Techno-Utopia, London: The MIT Press. p.257

[38] MERTINS, Detlef. (1996) The Enticing and Threatening Face of Prehistory: Walter Benjamin and the Utopia of Glass. Assemblage, No.29. p.17

[39] MENKING, William and KAZI, Olympia. (2007) Radical Italian Architecture Yesterday and Today, Architectural Design, vol.77, issue. 3 p.100

[40] STAUFFER, Marie Theres. (2002) Utopian Reflections, Reflected Utopias, Urban Designs by Archizoom and Superstudio. AA Files, Architectural Association, vol. 47. p.34

[41] HEYNEN, Hilde. (1999) ‘What belongs to architecture. Avant-garde ideas in the modern movement’, The Journal of Architecture, vol. 4, no. 2. p.140

[42] LANG, Peter and MENKING, William. (2003) Superstudio, Life Without Objects, Milan: Skira. p.114

[43] NATALINI, Adolfo. (2005) ‘How great architecture still was in 1968’, in SCHAIK, Martin van and MACEL, Otakar. (ed) Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations, 1956-76, Munich: Prestel. p.154

 

[44] Felicity D. Scott develops a comprehensive understanding of Tafuri’s dismissal of Superstudio and the rest of Architettura Radicale in Architecture or Techno-Utopia (MIT Press 2007). Tafuri was unable to understand the Continuous Monument as a utopian proposition due to the lack of rigour applied to the project’s socio-political position. He understood Superstudio as covering the same ground as that of previous avant-garde movements, not adding anything substantive to the debate. Tafuri was incredibly sceptical that the Continuous Monument, and the Architettura Radicale movement in general could affect any institutional reform. “Tafuri believed the work simply threatened to enhance the automatic relays within the commercial system.” “He saw any action without a subject as leaving the architect simply a cog in the capitalist machine.”

 

[45] LANG, Peter and MENKING, William. (2003) Superstudio, Life Without Objects, Milan: Skira. p.166

 

[46] WOERTMAN, Sander. (2005) ‘The Distant Winking of a Star, or the Horror of the Real’, in SCHAIK, Martin van and MACEL, Otakar. (ed) Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations, 1956-76, Munich: Prestel. p.154

 

[47] From the Continuous Monument storyboard in LANG, Peter and MENKING, William. (2003) Superstudio, Life Without Objects, Milan: Skira. p.130

 

[48] Rem Koolhaas commenting on the audacity of Le Corbusier’s Plan Voisin for Paris. Koolhaas goes on to say how Corbusier’s scheme “closed the book” on the idea of tabula rasa for generations to come. Superstudio’s use of the tabula rasa would have been a controversial image to evoke, especially around the time when Post-Modernist architecture with its emphasis on contextual and historical specificity was gaining ground. KOOLHAAS, Rem. (1998) S,M, L,XL, New York: The Monacelli Press. p.1103

[49] STAUFFER, Marie Theres. (2002) Utopian Reflections, Reflected Utopias, Urban Designs by Archizoom and Superstudio. AA Files, Architectural Association, vol. 47. p.31

[50] Piero Frasinelli in LANG, Peter and MENKING, William. (2003) Superstudio, Life Without Objects, Milan: Skira. p.79



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