La Citta Nuova (the New City) by Antonio Sant’ Elia

1 January 2017

His remarkable work was the design drawing of La Citta Nuova (the New City). Most of his designs were never built since he was killed during World War I as he joined the Italian army. However, his futurist vision has influenced many modern architects. According to the text of Sant’ Elia, many ideas of futurism contradicts with his drawing. The Manifesto condemned static and pyramidal forms as: And I conclude in disfavor of…Perpendicular and horizontal lines, cubic and pyramidal forms, static grave…. 2 This refusal of the ‘Perpendicular and horizontal lines’ does not agree with the lines existed in 1.

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Alan Colquhoun, Modern Architecture, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 100-07. 2. Reyner Banham, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, (New York: Frederic A. Praeger, 1960), 128-30. 1. Alan Colquhoun, Modern Architecture, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 100-07. 2. Reyner Banham, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, (New York: Frederic A. Praeger, 1960), 128-30. ____________________ the drawing. Taking a close look at the building of his design, one can see that the building abounds with perpendicular shape. Some shape of the building looks familiar to the shape of the pyramid.

The ideology of futurist architecture supports lightness and permeability, but the drawing presents mass and monumentality3. Sant’ Elia states that: We have lost the sense of the monumental, the massive, the static, and we have enriched our sensibilities with a taste for the light and the practical4. However, the architecture illustrated in the drawing does not seem to be light; instead, it looks heavy, fills with masses and monuments. The other contradiction between the text and the drawing of Sant’ Elia is a way of presenting the work. According to Ross: The construction of pictures has hitherto been foolishly traditional

Painters have shown us the objects and the people placed before us. We shall henceforward put the spectator in the center of the picture. 5 The last sentence suggests that the futurist should place the spectator within the work. Conversely, the drawing of La Citta Nouva implies that the spectator is an external observer since it is a perspective drawing 6. 3. Colquhoun, Modern Architecture, 100-07. 4. Banham, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, 128-30. 5. Stephen David Ross, Art and Its Significance: An Anthology of Aesthetic Theory, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984). 6.

Colquhoun, Modern Architecture, 100-07. 3. Colquhoun, Modern Architecture, 100-07. 4. Banham, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, 128-30. 5. Stephen David Ross, Art and Its Significance: An Anthology of Aesthetic Theory, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984). 6. Colquhoun, Modern Architecture, 100-07. Yet, the idea of Sant’ Elia presented in the ‘Manisfesto of Futurist Architecture’ shows ways of contradiction to his drawings, but both the ideas and drawings are, perhaps, the influential work on many modern architectures, as one can see that some shapes of buildings nowadays are similar to the one in the drawing. ___________________

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