This week’s guest speaker, Pablo Martínez Capdevila, is Senior Lecturer at Portsmouth University. Previously he taught at the Bergen Arkitekthøgskole (Norway) and the Salamanca Pontifical University (Madrid). He received his PhD from the Polytechnic University of Madrid with a dissertation on the urban models by Archizoom and Andrea Branzi. His research investigates the links between architectural discourse and praxis and their wider cultural, social and political environment. He is particularly interested in the critical potential enclosed by radical attitudes and in the role of the extreme opposing stances that define the boundaries of the discipline itself. In 2006 he founded, together with David Franco, MISC Arquitectos in Madrid. The office work, which includes the Casa de la Juventud in Santoña, has been awarded several prizes, published in international magazines and displayed in venues such as the Cité de l´Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris or the Intermediae-Matadero Madrid Art Center.
This seminar explores the urban proposals developed by Andrea Branzi over the last fifty years, focusing on the No-Stop City (1970-1971), produced by the Group Archizoom Associati, and his later Weak Urbanization Models, such as Agronica (1995) or the master plan for the Strijp Philips in Eindhoven (2000). This area of his work has maintained a remarkably consistent agenda for the dissolution of architecture, one that can be described with his motto ‘Città senza Architettura’ (City without Architecture). This dissolution does not imply the demise of the discipline, but instead the formulation of an architecture autre based on a radical rethinking of its nature and role.
These proposals not only question the relations between objects, buildings, cities and territories, but also these very categories. They are cities without architecture that arise from posing simple but, at the same time, eternal questions: what is a building? What is a city?