How to See Architecture: Bruno Zevi (MArch ’42)

This exhibition begins with a 1941 student memo to the GSD, entitled “An Opinion on Architecture.” In this memo, Bruno Zevi, along with other student authors, states the importance of discourse in architecture in general, specifically calling upon GSD students to create their own publication. To evidence the importance of his position, we have created a bifurcated timeline: on the top are the suite of books authored by Zevi throughout his lifetime, and running along the bottom are the multiple GSD student publications created since “An Opinion on Architecture,” culminating in Platform 11, a new turn on the yearly Platform series that has shifted the editorial role from faculty to students.

One hundred years after his birth, the prolific work of Roman architect Bruno Zevi continues to engage current problems in theory and criticism, and deserves to be revisited. From the publication of Towards an Organic Architecture, in 1945, to his monograph on Erik Gunnar Asplund published the very year of his death in 2000, many of his books have had an electrifying effect on architects and historians. Active as an educator and as a political activist, he was an engaged, charismatic contributor to the public discussion through his weekly chronicle in L’Espresso. Beyond Italy, Zevi has had a determining presence in Latin America and other parts of the world.

Held at a school where his passage between 1940 and 1942 was far from uneventful, the GSD’s fall Zevi symposium addressed issues relative to Zevi’s life, to his writings and to his brave fights for his ideas. His position in Italian politics and in the historical interpretation of architecture will be questioned, as well as the theoretical, narrative and rhetorical strategies at work in his engaged texts.

Exhibition curated by K. Michael Hays, Eliot Noyes Professor of Architectural Theory and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs