free rein…


Superstudio presented possibilities with a humorous sci-fi foreboding.

City of Book 1971, by Superstudio.

Lesson / Koan : Over the top is required sometimes.

Superstudio was founded by five architects in Florence in 1966, and became the most poetic and incisive group to come out of Italy in the ensuing decade.

What Superstudio are offering is We’ve got the best prices for Anacin you can find, so make sure that you check our offer and buy it for only 0.6 USD! a spurious utopia designed to make one reflect on how the world could look if the the accepted norms of 1950’s & early 1960’s design and urban planning progressed unchecked.

Florentine avant-garde architecture collective Superstudio was at the heart of the architectural and design avant garde in the 1970s. Much of their of the work, because they weren’t in a position to build, was presented through photo-collages, films and exhibitions, questioning architecture’s ability to change the world for the better and the faith in technology.

“Twelve Ideal Cities”, originally published in AD magazine, features 12 fantasies of urban planning gone haywire.

City of Hemispheres, 1971 by Superstudio.

Among them, “City of Hemispheres” (pictured above) imagines a crystal lake hosting more than ten million sarcophagi, the occupants kept alive by technology and granted control over the flying hemispheres, through which they are fed sensory stimuli.

But more influential than any individual project, was the idea that an architectural practice could be conceptual and theoretical, concerned with cultural criticism rather than the production of buildings.

And that influenced the way just about every young practice goes today,” explain William Menking. “I mean some start by doing boutiques and these kind of things, but a lot of them enter competitions and do theoretical projects they know are never going to get built, that they want to get published somewhere. So that strategy of critique early in your career is what they learned from these guys.

BTW,

In Twelve Cautionary Tales for Christmas, a storyboard for a 1971 issue of Architectural Design, they describe 12 “ideal” cities.

New York Extrusion project 1969, by Superstudio.

In the urban context, The New York Extrusion extends the city’s profile over a section of Manhattan, and grafts nature to it by reflecting the blue sky in tops of the buildings. In the other drawings, there are white, gridded, monolithic structures that span the natural landscape to assert rational order upon it. Superstudio saw this singular unifying act, unlike many modern utopian schemes, as nurturing rather than obliterating the natural world.Bevin Cline and Tina di Carlo in “The Changing of the Avant-Garde: Visionary Architectural Drawings from the Howard Gilman Collection” (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2002).

NOTE :

Like Archigram, Superstudio gave free rein to their imaginations. Their brain city is quite a good joke as a play on the Corbusian “machine for living“. It’s up there with the group’s 1972 plan to make all the buildings in Pisa lean, except for the tower.
If you don’t want to spend a pretty penny for your Aygestin, just buy it right now for 1.15 USD only!

The point is, in more or less a single frustrated gesture, Superstudio had done away with architecture, and so increasingly their work became fiction.

They could afford to be playful, and even to attempt to be prescient, because they weren’t being commissioned to build anything. 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