Architectural design education through history of architecture: the lesson of Bruno Zevi
Document typeConference report
PublisherGIRAS. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Rights accessOpen Access
Bruno Zevi, born in 1918 and died in 2000, is one of the most important Italian theorists of architecture. His anti-historical and critical reading of the classical historiography has highlighted a different architectural geography, recognizing the merits of that architecture which had been improperly defined as minor or peripheral. His reading method aims to minimize the contemplative attitude in favour of the involvement and the actualization of the history of architecture, far from a historicist vision that prevents from reading the past as an irreplaceable occasion to understand and deal with the contemporary season of architecture. In his vision of history as a “methodology of architectural practice" he draws not a philological portrait of the past, but a breeding ground for "extracting the forgotten subversive components". According to Italo Calvino’s statement, a classic (in art, literature, music, architecture etc.) is something that has never finished saying what it has to say; Bruno Zevi strengthens the concept emphasizing that when good architecture of the past was built, the solutions adopted were most of the times extremely modern, so they are worth to be analysed to understand processes and ideas they subtended, and actualised in contemporaneity. Thus, it is important to learn history of architecture by the methodology of investigating what the masters of the past wanted to achieve rather than the final building just as a successful solution. It is a complex and engaging method because it is not only about “knowing how to look at architecture" but he sets forth new categories of judgment that enables to learn and judge contemporary architecture and the urban aspects, in an actualization that becomes immediate. It is very useful to unleash oneself, as Zevi suggests, from that compact vision of the historiographical process like the ones handed down to us by the various Giedions, for instance to reconsider the contributions that would make the architectural periods of Countries considered "peripheral", substantial. This useful means of updated reinterpretation can be of educating and stimulating for planning in today’s cities, considering that it is also able to define new aspects and contradictions in the history of so-called “official architecture”. This paper will focus on the strong interaction suggested by Bruno Zevi between the architectural design education and the history of architecture as methodology of teaching, considering several examples extrapolated from his numerous texts.
Ponencia presentada a Session 3: Educación y arquitectura en las universidades / Architectural education in the universities
CitationArdizzola, P. Architectural design education through history of architecture: the lesson of Bruno Zevi. A: Arquitectonics. "International Conference Arquitectonics Network: Architecture, Education and Society, Barcelona, 4-6 June 2014: Final papers". Barcelona: GIRAS. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, 2014.