From a Marxist Arcadia to High-tech Favelas: The Latency of Informality in Archizoom and Andrea Branzi

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The trajectory of Italian architect Andrea Branzi shows an enduring determination to dissolve architecture. This chapter provides a reading of said agenda from the point of view of today’s predicaments surrounding architectural and urban informality. Already in 1970, his group Archizoom Associati published the No-Stop City, a theoretical project that systematically undermined the canonical architectural object, advanced adaptable and transient habitats analogous to ecosystems and opened the door for an understanding of the city as an immaterial an ubiquitous condition. Paradoxically, this model for total urbanization also entailed the recovery of a number of anti-urban themes, such as nomadism or a pastoral dimension linked to a surprising neo-primitive condition. Later on, Branzi developed the “weak urbanization models” that further challenged the physical, functional, temporal and conceptual stability of architecture and, more recently, he put forward a vision of the 21st century city as a “high-tech favela.” Overall, the work of Andrea Branzi may help us challenge the dominant understanding of architectural and urban informality from a number of new, ignored or forgotten perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformality through Sustainability
Subtitle of host publicationUrban Informality Now
EditorsAntonino Di Raimo, Alessandro Melis, Steffen Lehmann
Place of PublicationLondon, United Kingdom
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780367354770
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


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