In 1914 Antonio Sant’Elia signed the “Manifesto per un’architettura futurista“, a text coming a few years later the more known “Manifesto del Futurismo” (1909) and “Manifesto dei pittori futuristi” (1910). Whereas the basic concepts of Futurist Architecture follow the general lines given by previous Futurist Manifestos (refuse of the past, magnification of dynamism, opposition to academism), there are several points which refer to the specificity of architectural language and express interesting views.
One is about the idea of an architecture which is not meant to last: “Houses will endure less than us. Every generation must build its own city”: even if this sentence seems to collide with Sant’Elia’s drawing for indeed massive and complex buildings, it’s an original concept in the panorama of Western architecture.
Another point is the claim for an architecture which might be defined “ugly”, (“The house of concrete, glass and steel, stripped of paintings and sculpture, rich only in the innate beauty of its lines and relief, extraordinarily “ugly” in its mechanical simplicity“): the refuse of the aestethization of the built environment, where aestetization for Sant’Elia mostly meant “decoration”.
Antonio Sant’Elia is of course the most known Italian architect embodying the term “Futurist”, but he has not been the only one and his visionary drawings inspired several disciples.
These visions have all in common the research for a new language suitable to new typologies: factories, power plants, train and airplanes stations, infrastructures, and whole metropolis; a language which, in Futurist thinking, should have refused to find its roots into the monuments of the past and be autonomous from any previous cultural reference.
Fortunato Depero (the famous painter also elaborated projects for pavillions and scenographies and focused on an architecture which could include advertisement into its compositive elements, “Typographical architecture”) – Related, on Socks: Peugeot Skyscraper In Buenos Aires, A Project By Maurizio Sacripanti (1961)
Controspazio “Futurismo architettura” n. 4-5, 1971