An Italian querelle: Radical vs. Tendenza

Pablo Martinez Capdevila*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the late 1960s two groundbreaking architectural movements arose in Italy: the Radical movement and the Tendenza. Over time the rivalry and antagonism between them developed into an outright hostility that reached its peak in the 1973 Milan Triennale, where the latter established itself as the hegemonic trend of Italian architecture. In his manifesto-like text for the exhibition catalogue, Massimo Scolari tried to systematize the foundations of the Tendenza by calling for a reestablishment of architecture based on its autonomy and its internal logic and laws. In doing so, he attacked orthodox modernity and, especially, the Radical movement. The response from the Radicals came from Archizoom’s leader Andrea Branzi who, through a series of columns in Casabella, depicted the Tendenza as a reactionary movement unable to take advantage of the brand new start opened by the crisis of the discipline. The controversy between Scolari and Branzi shows how opposed and incompatible Tendenza and Radical were, not only for their informal spokesmen, but for most of the Italian architectural milieu. However, a closer look, backed on Manfredo Tafuri’s insights, shows some very telling similarities –as well as some unexpected differences- that question not only Scolari and Branzi’s claims, but also most of the later readings of these movements. In order to further nuance the dialectical opposition between Tendenza and Radical, two paradigmatic works of both movements are analyzed (Arduino Cantàfora’s città analoga and Archizoom Associati’s No-Stop City) and compared with canonic representations of Renaissance ideal cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-81
Number of pages15
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


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