British Museum, London (Top). Strozzi Palace, Florence (Bottom) William Morris' Red House, 1859, Bexleyheath, Kent, UK Functions, Spaces & Containers Habitat 67, Montreal, By Moshe Safdie

About this talk

Running time: 29 minutes

Bruno Zevi is Professor of History of Architecture at the University of Rome, editorial director since 1955 of the magazine "L'Architetettura", and author of many books as well as monographs on Frank Lloyd Wright (see The World's Greatest Architect), Louis Sullivan, Erich Mendelsohn, Theo van Doesburg, and the De Stijl movement. He also writes a weekly architectural column in "L'Esperesso".

The title of his most recent book "The Modern Language Of Architecture" is not to be confused with the subject of his talk in which he distinguishes between the two main languages of architecture, the "classicist" and the opposite "human, organic anti-classicist" which is based on content rather than appearance.

The classicist language, emanating from the École des Beaux Arts in Paris in the nineteenth century, spread throughout the world and persists to this day. It is a language symbolic of power, authority, oligarchy, bureaucracy. The modern organic movement which rebelled against it, has no a priori form of symmetry or balance of volumes; it merely enumerates contents and functions; volumes grow to envelope the spaces occupied by people.

Present-day architecture is accused of ruining the fabric of our cities. But, says, Zevi, it is the building's programmes that are wrong, and they lead to classicist-modern solutions instead of modern.

Please note that a transcript of this talk is available - please contact us for further details.

Bruno Zevi

You might also be interested in...