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Cronache di architettura

The Cronache (Chronicles) begin ten years after Liberation. They first appeared in 1954 in the weekly magazine l’Espresso, and were later published in 24 volumes from 1970, edited by Bruno Zevi himself. This is Zevi’s summary of the period when he began writing the articles:

“With the impetus of the Resistance thwarted, the party of action disbanded and Elio Vittorini’s Politecnico magazine disappeared; with the triumph of DC in the 1948 election, all revolutionary hypotheses are gone and the democratic order becomes pre-fascist. Carlo Levi’s The Watch attests to this process. Mario Pannunzio’s ‘Il Mondo’ has been appearing since 49; this is followed, in 54, by the weekly ‘Cronache’, edited by Gualtiero Jacopetti. Khrushchev takes power in the USSR, but the Cold War limits the thawing effects; in the USA the aberration of McCarthyism culminates in the Oppenheimer case. Nasser triumphs in Egypt; the battle of Dien Bien Phu marks the end of French rule in Indochina. While Vietnam splits into two states, divided by the 17th parallel, Algeria rises up, initiating a drama which deeply affects Albert Camus. Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan encapsulates the crisis of youth. The American protest films On the Waterfront and River of No Return, are joined by Federico Fellini’s La Strada confirming the end of Italian neo-realism. In urban planning, the ideas of the thirties are contested (no. 21) and the focus is on the heart of the city (no. 15). Le Corbusier’s architectural language is spreading in Brazil (no. 25), but no one succeeds in translating its tributary – Wright’s message – into European codes (nos. 4, 17 and 22). The most significant Italian events include the rebuilding of the Ponte Santa Trinità in Florence (no. 3) and the refurbishment of the Carlo Felice theatre in Genoa (no. 29)”.

The 24 volumes of the Cronache di Architettura

  1. 1/29: the memorial to the Ardeatine Massacre to Wright on the Grand Canal
  2. 30/72: the filth of the Lungarno to the Ronchamp Chapel
  3. 73/131: the celebration of Biagio Rossetti to the controversy of Sant’Elia
  4. 132/190: the Berlin Interbau to Utzon’s work in Sydney
  5. 191/257: the Brussels Expo to Unesco in Paris
  6. 258/320: the death of Frank Lloyd Wright to the inauguration of Brasilia
  7. 321/384: Le Corbusier’s La Tourette to Louis Kahn’s medical research laboratories
  8. 385/451: Kenzo Tange’s plan for Tokyo to the battle for the Jato dam
  9. 452/518: the Tel Aviv-Jaffa competition to the Scharoun Ensemble
  10. 519/581: the recovery of expressionism to the Rome regulatory plan
  11. 582/637: the death of Le Corbusier to the Pampus project for Amsterdam
  12. 638/692: Cumbernauld town centre to Moshe Safdie’s Habitat
  13. 693/759: the rebuilding of Jerusalem to the signature of James Stirling
  14. 760/824: the utopia of the Archigram group to general strikes for housing
  15. 825/884: the Las Vegas apologia to Johansen’s Mummers Theater
  16. 885/952: the obliqueness of Claude Parent to London’s Brunswick Centre
  17. 953/1012: Umberto Boccioni’s originality to the self-harm of the Triennale
  18. 1013/1080: The New York Five to Bernini and plagiarism
  19. 1081/1130: the Vancouver conference to the death of Aalto
  20. 1131/1180: the American bicentenary to the Beaubourg Centre
  21. 1181/1228: anti-classicist Brunelleschi to the Machu Picchu Charter
  22. 1229/1276: Pei’s National Gallery to the controversy of the “false” Bolognesi
  23. 1277/1329: university “refusal” to the competition for Les Halles
  24. 1330/1379: the failure of post-modernism to social commitment in design


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Bruno Zevi was born in Rome in 1918. He attended the Tasso High School and became a close friend of Mario Alicata and Paolo Alatri. Having graduated from high school, he matriculated at the Faculty of Architecture. Following the introduction of racial laws, he left Italy for London in 1939, and later moved to the United States. Here he graduated at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, led by Walter Gropius, and discovered the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose teachings on organic architecture would inspire him throughout his career. […]

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