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Andrea Branzi y la “Città senza architettura”: De la No-Stop City a los modelos de urbanización débil

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

The subject of study of this thesis are the urban proposals developed by Andrea Branzi over the last fifty years, with a special focus on the more developed and comprehensive ones: the No-Stop City (1970-1971), produced as a member of the architettura radicale group Archizoom, and two of his “weak urbanization models”: Agronica (1995) and the Master Plan for Philips Strijp in Eindhoven (2000). This area of his work has kept, over time, a remarkably consistent proposal for the dissolution of architecture that can be described with the motto città senza architettura (city without architecture), coined by himself. A determination, already latent in the very diverse production of Archizoom prior to No-Stop City, that crystallizes and becomes explicit in this project which was aimed to "liberate man from the architecture."
Despite the continuity of this idea over time, Branzi’s city without architecture has clearly evolved leading to different types of dissolution. A dissolution that, obviously, does not mean the effective demise of the discipline, but rather, the formulation of an architecture autre based on a radical rethinking of its nature and role. This agenda against the discipline has been developed through a number of issues that undermine the canonical architectural object (its expressive emptying, the loss of importance of the envelope and the finished shape, the anti-compositional character, the independence between form and function, the mutability over time...), but goes beyond it by putting into crisis the role that architecture itself has had in the material, political and symbolic configuration of the human habitat. A loss of prominence and centrality in contemporary society that, in the architect’s discourse, implies a subordinate role.
From this dissolution process, a new type of city arises: a city where urban form has been lost or has become superfluous, in which functional zoning has dissolved, whose interiors are in a permanent process of reprogramming that ignores typologies, that transcends the division between urban and agricultural and becomes, above all, a space of flows and services. Ultimately, the crisis of the traditional city implies a change in the very nature of the urban that moves from being regarded as a physical and built place, to become an immaterial and virtually omnipresent condition that unfolds regardless of its physical medium.
Many of the ideas Branzi has developed on, and from, the different "scales" of professional activity (design, architecture and urbanism) converge in his urban research. These proposals not only question the relations between objects, buildings, cities and territories but also these very categories. Cities without architecture that are based, ultimately, on raising simple questions that are, on the other hand, eternal: What is a building? What is a city?
Translated title of the thesisAndrea Branzi and the "Città senza architettura" : From the No-Stop City to weak urbanization models
Original languageSpanish
Awarding Institution
  • Technical University of Madrid
Supervisors/Advisors
  • María Teresa Muñoz Jiménez (External person) (Supervisor)
  • Fernando Quesada López (External person) (Supervisor)
Award dateOct 2014
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