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DEFINITION OF “AUTHENTIC RATIONALISM" IN ALDO ROSSI. From the debate on tradition to the comparison with Étienne-Louis Boul

Maddalena GRASSO

DEFINITION OF “AUTHENTIC RATIONALISM" IN ALDO ROSSI. From the debate on tradition to the comparison with Étienne-Louis Boul.

Rel. Guido Montanari, Diane Ghirardo. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea specialistica in Architettura (Costruzione), 2012

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Just one year after the publication of The architecture of the city, in 1967, Aldo Rossi is responsible for translating and writing the introduction to Étienne-Louis Boullée Architecture. Essay on Art. The volume, published for the series Polis, of Marsilio Editori, directed by the Milanese architect since 1965, presents to the Italian architectural culture, involved in the urban planning controversies of the late sixties, in the turmoil that arouse the academic world, and in the more general attempt to redefine meanings, assumptions and tools of their proper discipline, a reflection on the progressive aspects of a rational design system.

According to Rossi, the theory of composition developed by the French master in the essay by late eighteenth century, summarizes two characters of absolute validity and modernity: the construction of a logical process of investigation of forms, therefore, the will to establish, within the act project, the primacy of conceptual moment on operational moment. In the first aspect Rossi get confirmed of that rigorous scientific attitude, that commitment, that he developed since 1964 when he was appointed professor of the course "Distributive features of buildings" at the School of Architecture of the Polytechnic of Milan, aimed at working out a theory of design as rational and autonomous explanation on how to proceed in the practice of the trade. Autonomous, that is, all internal to architecture itself because developed from, and in the sense of, form. On the other hand, the distinction between the theoretical moment of conception and the constructed work, as well as establish the primacy of knowledge on doing, illuminates a continuous tension between rational construction and subjective contribution of the architect, claiming a decisive importance to autobiographical expression.

A prospect that Rossi summed up in the definition of “authentic rationalism" and propose to the public of professionals like the attitude that alone can lead to an improvement of architecture and of its construction, offering itself like an alternative both to the controversial legacy of the Modern Movement, and to the most barrens and arbitraries researches undertaken by the national architectural culture after the Second World War.

The comparison establishes by Rossi with Boullée in the few pages of the Introduction, it has been repeatedly brought to the attention of critics (C. Olmo 1986, A. Ferlenga 2005, A. Vidler 2008), often presented as an occasion in which the Milan architect faces and develops some of the main themes of his poetry. However, it still doesn’t seem to have been started a complete in-depth study of the relevant density and complexity of the messages included in Rossi’s text, whether they are developed, suggested in an indirect way or only prefixed by the author. As a matter of fact, the translation of the French manuscript fit in a short time’s span (1966 - 1970) marked by the working out of the most significant writing of Rossi, a very intense production witnesses to the ripening of interest built up over time: from Enlightenment heritage, to the need of construct a logical and rational system of architecture, until the resolution of the relationship with the history with the definition of a line of research, a "tendenza”, of which we trace the contributions in tradition, Boullée itself, and of which stubbornly we continues the thread of experience.

Against a large productiolished works, personal notes, correspondencnts, or even university lectures, the research herethe productionings as only source and main tool for interetics between 1954 and 1967. The most important attemthe machitectural references, as well as the orign in time of the themes and key terms that convergn ofalism" as presented in the Introduction of 19analysis was completed and accompanied by the study of twork, both subsequently revised and published: the first, I Nuovi Maestri. Architetti tra politica e cultura nel dopoguerra, (Giovanni , focuses on the reconst routl strategies put in place, in the first years of critical training (1954-1958), by Aldo Rossi and a group of architects identified within the chronological limits between 1923 and 1932, the second, Aldo Rossi e L’architettura della città (Elisabetta Vasumi Roveri 2010), evaluates the vast production of writings - published or not - that have preceded the writing of Rossi's first book. An analysis of the process of writing the text in order to reconstruct its maturation over time by not isolating experiences, activities and readings that intertwine and overlap with it.

The first chapter, Concept of tradition and appeal to realism, it is proposed to summarize the context, the places and the personalities that have been in charge and that have characterized the debate on tradition in architecture, almost exclusive protagonist of Rossi’s formation. In addition to being one of the first issues faced, the relationship of the discipline with the history of itself will accompany the thought of the young student in all its subsequent development, defining the comparison with some important masters of the past (Claude N. Ledoux, Jean N.L. Durand, Giovanni Anthonio Antolini, Alessandro Antonelli, Adolf Loos), until been confirmed as a matter solver, even as instrument itself, of the attempt to re-found architectural profession.

In the Italy of the economic miracle, of the student associations, of the thriving cultural and architectural journalism and, above all, of the strong presence of communist ideology, the School of Architecture are no longer considered as opportunities for intellectual education, encouraging the development of alternative forms. The House of Culture, the Movement Architectural Studies, the International Union of Students, but also magazines such as «Il Contemporaneo», «Società» and, especially, «Casabella-Continuità» directed by Ernesto Nathan Rogers, are the true stage of comparison, criticism and creation of new values that presides over the formation of Rossi.

With the convention of 1954, Modern architecture and national traditions, Rossi is confronted for the first time with the term “tradition” in architecture; associating to it concepts such as "responsibility", "morality" and "historical consciousness", he develops, together with Carlo Aymonino and Francesco Tentori, a first definition completely aimed between the will to take a position with respect to the debated legacy of Modern Movement, the main themes of Rogers’ teaching and the echo of the cultural policy of the PCI as defined by Togliatti and Alicata. After the subsequent controversy triggered by Giancarlo de Carlo in the pages of «Casabella-Continuità», addressed to a group of students of the School of Architecture of Milan, Rossi develops a series of articles, in particular in collaboration with Guido Canella, in which he appropriates of critical tools and argumentative strategies taken from literary and cinematic, leading the reflection on the concept of tradition to the more general question that grips young professionals: the renovation of architectural language, finally arriving at an initial proposal specification. The proposal of a "realist architecture."

First step towards a linguistic definition, dealing only with the article “The concept of tradition in neoclassical Milanese architecture”, published on «Società» in June 1956. In this paper, the deepening of the concept of tradition, begun at the conference of '54, as well as the following argument for a "realist architecture", find their first formulation in the reading that Rossi offers of Neoclassical architecture in Milan. A reading that succeeds both in legitimizes a theoretical position but also that advances a definition of terms more properly linguistic of the architecture so-called realist. The concepts presented above of "responsibility", "morality" and "historical consciousness", traced to a single attitude of rationality, are specified on the one hand in the criteria of simplicity and prmmitment to the practical purpose and to the new tasks that society expressed (Giuseppe Piermarini), on the other hand the ability to convey, in the understanding of the meanings of the forms belonging to the tradition, the new political ideals and morals of society (Luigi Cagnola).

For Rossi, professional consciousness and historical consciousness are two aspects of the same ratio that should govern the construction of architecture as much as that of the city.

The reference to neoclassical architecture, but especially to the characters of modernity that Rossi found in this period of history of architecture, has a crucial debt, besides the positions of some activists historians and philosophers members of the intellectual elite of Milan, to the researches carried out by Emil Kaufmann on the French architecture of late eighteenth century. Comparison with historiography. The methodological contribution of Emil Kaufmann, it is proposed, beginning from an analysis of his education at the School of Vienna and a well-established critical analysis of his work (M. Shapiro 1936, G. Teyssot 1981, C.S. Wood 2000, A. Vidler 2008), to identify the main criteria and methods of historiographical interpretation developed from the Viennese historic, therefore, how their reflected in the writings of Rossi.

In communion with the researches conducted by young historians gathered in the New Viennese School - including Hans Sedlmayr and Otto Pacht - Kaufmann’s analysis are addressed in a special way to the principles underlying styles and to their development, allowing to consider the work of art as a complex structure in which different aspects of reality relate and organize into a whole. However, beyond the autonomy of the a priori formalist method and away from the development of a relationship between society and culture, resuming that between structure and superstructure upon which is based historical materialism, the model developed by Kaufmann, in establishing a homology between different fields - economics, social sciences, philosophy, as well as history -, introduces a new complexity in the interpretative structure of the work of art, continuously commensurate with the developments of thought and culture.

The figure of Ledoux, presented as a spokesman for a new idealism based on reformed horizons of morality and law, fully responds to Rossi’s calls for a renewed architect's social responsibility towards his work. A professional commitment that if on one side is characterized by the will of represent, respond and adhere to its own time, on the other hand is resolved in the definition of an autonomous figurative system, ceaselessly striving to elevate the form to new meanings, to the "new culture".

The definition of rationality in architecture, which Rossi developed from the first reflections on the concept of tradition, as consciousness both civil, referred to the needs and ideals of the present time, then historical, that is the formal repertoire of tradition and its belonging to a culture and to a consummate experience ended in the past, it is proposed, in the late fifties, as a response to the controversial search for new figurative paths. In the chapter Searching for a new figurative language: invention or creation?, that include the articles published in «Casabella-Continuità» between 1955 and 1958, Rossi is confronted with the attempts, made especially by young architects his peers, to investigate new approaches to architectural form, from technical innovations to the return to the materials of traditional environment. Therefore, need for experimentation, for original expression, but difficulty to clash with the indissoluble relationship between ethics and aesthetics built by the Modern Movement, together with the unstoppable rationalization and expansion of the production process and the fear to translate a possible confrontation with the ancient cultural and architectural heritage in a fruitless formal inventory.

"Continuity or crisis?"

Look to history but creative s aimed at the future, continuity as the original and conscious combination reaching for a definition of modernity that does not exist a priori but that, precisely in the historicity in which it is expressed, derives its definition; this Rossi’s answer. Following the research conducted by François Calì on Greek temple, the Milanese architect reflects on the concept of a monument for classic architecture, of symmetry as a symbolic moment stretched between the representation of the raison d'etre of the work and the work itself, finding in the definition of Technique the synthesis of the relationship between rational moment of theoretical investigation and contingency of the creative and original aspect of the single realization. According to this dialectic, which is necessary, form avoids the danger of fixity and abstraction obliging themselves to a new temporal perspective: continuity with a past that is memory, which is ahistorical validity of the principles and meanings places by reason, and renewal in the interaction with the possible forms of the present. A meditation on the persistent forms that reports the historical dimension in the foreground.

According to Rossi, from the moment in which the problems of architecture are recognized as immutable, becomes essential to verify, in history, the architectural forms that have already been able to resolve in itself the complexity of a design rationality renewed in places and techniques, therefore, in the singular will of the artist. The particular choice of some masters allows Rossi to define a line of research, to deepen a subject of which he can trace the contributions in the past and of which he decide to stubbornly bring forward the thread of experience: Boullée, as well as Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier, is at this point presented by Rossi as an interpreter of that "authentic rationalism", of that "tendency" of which he wants to convey in the present. The next two chapters, Rationalism exalted, a response for a new disciplinary foundation and The Boullée’s compositional system as an instrument of modernity, after a brief reference to analyzes conducted by Rossi on modern masters, finally addressing the terms of the comparison with the Essay on Art. The description of the compositional system developed by the French master, the issue of the teaching of design, the reflection on the term “invention” and on the temporal dimension of the architectural work, is woven into the Rossi’s discourse solving, in an autonomous disciplinary position, issues open since the early years of its formation.

Relators: Guido Montanari, Diane Ghirardo
Publication type: Printed
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aldo Rossi, tradition, history, historiography, design, rationalism, form, ideology
Subjects: A Architettura > AO Design
AR Art > ARB Visiv arts
AR Art > ARC Drawing and Illustration
A Architettura > AS History of Architecture
F Filosofia, Psicologia, Religione > FC Estetica
SS Scienze Sociali ed economiche > SSD Politica
ST Storia > STH Periodo contemporaneo (dal 1945)
ST Storia > STN Storia
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea specialistica in Architettura (Costruzione)
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/3143



1.1_Concept of tradition and appeal to realism.

The architectural between politics and culture debate after II World War

1.2_First step towards a linguistic definition.

Neoclassicism in Milan: rationality as a problem of historical consciousness

1.3_Comparison with the historiography.

The methodological contribution of Emil Kaufmann


2.1_Searching for a new figurative language: invention or creation?

The debate on "Casabella-Continuità”

2.2_«Exalted rationalism» response to a re-foundation of the discipline.

Survey on Technique between knowing and contingency

2.3_The Boullée design system as instrument of modernity.

Rationality, symbolism and memory in architectural form


3.1_A path through the images.

The illustrations chosen for the Introduction to Boullée

3.2_The relationship between architecture and ideology.

Antolini, Leodux

3.3_The relationship between rationality and invention.

David, Le Corbusier




The bibliography that follows is divided into three thematic areas. Aldo Rossi, includes the most important texts and articles written by Aldo Rossi between 1954 and 1967 who were consulted directly on the magazines concerned; in General overview there are all the works read to contextualize and deepen the reflections of Rossi, the architects and the works he studied; lastly, Étienne-Louis Boullée, gathers the publications related to the French master and his work. In all the three groups the writings were in turn differentiated in books and articles.

_ALDO ROSSI (books)

ALDO ROSSI, L’architettura della città, (Padova 1966), Milano, CittàStudi Edizioni 1995 (VIa ed.)

ÉTIENNE-LOUIS BOULLÉE, Architettura. Saggio sull’arte, edited by A. Rossi, Padova, Marsilio Editori 1967

ALDO ROSSI, L’analisi urbana e la progettazione architettonica. Contributi al dibattito e al lavoro di gruppo nell’anno accademico 1968-69, Group of research directed by Aldo Rossi, Facoltà di Architettura del Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Clup 1974

ALDO ROSSI, Scritti scelti sull’architettura e la città 1956 - 1972, edited by R. Bonicalzi, Milano, Clup 1978

ALDO ROSSI, Autobiografia Scientifica, (Harvard 1981) Milano, Nuova Pratiche Editrice 1999

ALDO ROSSI, I quaderni azzurri, n.1-7, edited by F. Dal Co, Milano, Electa 1999

_ALDO ROSSI (articles)

ALDO ROSSI, Un monumento ai partigiani, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.208, (November-December) 1955, pp. 65 – 67

ALDO ROSSI, Il concetto di tradizione nell’archtettura neoclassica Milanese, in «Società», n.3, (June) 1956, pp. 474 – 493

ALDO ROSSI, Architetti italiani: Mario Ridolfi, in «Comunità», n. 41, (June-July) 1956, pp. 50 -55

VITTORIO GREGOTTI, ALDO ROSSI, L’influenza del romanticismo europeo nell’architettura di Alessandro Antonelli, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.214, (February-March) 1957, pp. 62 – 81

ALDO ROSSI, A proposito di un recente studio sull’Art Nouveau, [rec. S.Tschudi Madsen, Sources of Art Nouveau, Oslo 1956], in «Casabella-Continuità», n.215, (April-May) 1957, pp. 44 – 46


ALDO ROSSI, Il passato e il presente neeptember) 1958, pp. 16 – 31

ALDO ROSSI, Una carte moderna,958, pp. 32 – 35

ALDO ROSSI, Emil Kità», n.222, (December) 1958, pp. 42 – 47

ALDOCe greco, [rec. F.CALÌ, L’ordre grec, Pari

ALDO ROSSI, Adolf Loos, 1879 – 1933, in «CasSSI, FRbella-Continuità», n.241, (July) 1960, asabella-Continuità», n.246, (December) 1960, pp. 4 – 19

3, (July) 1961, pp. 22 – 27

ALDO ROSSI, Due progetti di abitazione, in «Lotus», n.7, 1970


EMIL KAUFMANN, Da Ledoux a LE Corbusier. Origine e sviluppo dell’architettura autonoma, (Paris 1933) Milano, Mazzotta Editore 1980

PAOLO MEZZANOTTE, GIACOMO CARLO BASCAPÉ, Milano nell’arte e nella storia: storia edilizia di Milano: guida sistematica della città, Milano, Emilio Bestetti 1948

EMIL KAUFMANN, Tre architetti rivoluzionari. Boullée, Ledoux, Lequeu, (Philadelphia 1952) Milano, Franco Angeli Editore 1976

NORBERTO BOBBIO, Politica e cultura, Torino, Giulio Einaudi Editore 1955

HANS SEDLMAYR, La rivoluzione dell’arte moderna, (Hamburg 1955) Milano, Garzanti 1958

ADOLF LOOS, Parole nel vuoto, (Wien-München 1962) Milano, Adelphi 2011(X ed.)

EMIL KAUFMANN, L’architettura dell’illuminismo, (Cambridge 1955) Torino, Giulio Einaudi Editore 1966

GIULIO CARLO ARGAN, Progetto e destino, Milano, Il Saggiatore 1965

GIANNI SCALIA, Critica, Letteratura, Ideologia 1958-1963, Padova, Marsilio Editori 1968

MANFREDO TAFURI, Teoria e storia dell’architettura, Bari, Editori Lata e l’illuminismo, Torino, Giulio Einaud

BENEDETTO GRAVAGNUOLO, Adolf Loos teoria e opere, intrc Architectural History, Architectural Desi) Torino, Giulio Einaudi 2002

CESARE CASES, Lukács e il realiditore 1985

CARLO OLMO, Attraverso i testi, in A. Rossi, Disegni di architettura 1967- 1985, Milano, Mazzotta Editore 1986

ANTHONY VIDLER, The writing of the walls: architectural theory in the late enlightenment, Princeton Architectural Press 1987

ALBERTO FERLENGA (edited by), Aldo Rossi architetture 1959-1987, Milano, Electa 1987

PAUL GINSBORG, Storia d’Italia dal dopoguerra a oggi. Società e politica 1943-1988, Torino, Giulio Einaudi Editore 1989

DETLEF MERTINS, System and Freedom. Sigfried Giedion, Emil Kaufmann and the Constitution of Architectural Modernity, in E.S.Somol (edited by), Autonomy and Ideology. Positioning an Avant-Garde in America, New York, The Monicelli Press 1997

FRANCESCO DAL CO (edited by), Storia dell’architettura italiana. Il secondo novecento, Milano, Electa 1997

GIOVANNI DENTI, SILVIA PEIRONE, Adolf Loos opera completa, Officina Edizioni, Roma 1997

ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, Esperienza dell’architettura, edited by L. Molinari, Milano, Skira 1997

GIOVANNI DURBIANO, I Nuovi maestri. Architetti tra politica e cultura nel dopoguerra, Venezia, Marsilio Editori 2000

MARIA GIULIA MARZILIANO, Giovanni Antonio Antolini, architetto e ingegnere, 1753-1841, Faenza, Gruppo editoriale Faenza 2000

CHRISTOPHER WOOD, The Vienna school reader. Politics and art historical method in the 1930, New York, Zone Books 2000

NICOLA ABBAGNANO, Dizionario di filosofia, Torino, UTET 2001

MARIA GIULIA MARZILIANO (a cura di), Architettura e urbanistica in età Neoclassica: Giovanni Antonio

Antolini (1753-1841), in Atti del I Convegno di studi Antoliniani, 25-26.09.2000 Bologna-Faenza, Gruppo editoriale Faenza 2003

RICCARDO PALMA, «Come ho fatto alcuni miei progetti»: letteratura combinatoria e arte della memoria nell’opera di Aldo Rossi, in R. Palma, C. Ravagnati (edited by), Macchine Nascoste. Discipline e tecniche di rappresentazione nella composizione architettonica, UTET, Torino 2004

RENATO NICOLIN (a cura di), Mario Ridolfi architetto 1904-2004, Milano, Electa 2005

GIOVANNI DURBIANO, Il movimento della «Tendenza» e l’invenzione dell’autonomia disciplinare, in F.B. Filippi, L. Gibello, M. Di Robilant (edited by), 1970-2000 Episodi e temi di storia dell’architettura, Torino, Celid 2006

ANTHONY VIDLER, Histories of the immediate present. Inventing architectural modernism, Cambridge, The MIT Press 2008

RICCARDO PALMA, Per un’ «archeologia» della teoria del progetto in Aldo Rossi. Raymond Roussel e I quaderni azzurri, in A. Trentin (edited by), La lezione di Aldo Rossi, Bonomia University Press, Bologna 2008

GERMANO CELANT (edited by), Aldo Rossi disegni, Ginevra-Milano, Skira 2008

ELISABETTA VASUMI ROVERI, Aldo Rossi e L’architettura della città, Torino, Umberto Allemandi 2010

GIOVANNI POLETTI, L’autobiografia scientifica di Aldo Rossi. Un’indagine critica tra scrittura e progetto di architettura, Milano-Torino, Bruno Mondadori 2011


MEYER SHAPIRO, The New Viennese School, in «Art Bulletin», n.17, 1936, p. 258 - 266

CARLO LUDOVICO RAGGHIANTI, Francesco Algarotti e l’architettura in funzione, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.202, (June-July) 1936, pp. 4 - 5

EMIL KAUFMANN, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Inaugurator of a New Architectural System, in «Journal of the American Society of Architectural Historians» 3, n.3, (July) 1943, pp. 12 - 20

FREDERICK ANTAL, Osservazioni sul metodo della storia dell’arte, in «Società», n.5, (October) 1954, pp. 749 - 763

EDOARDO VITTORIA, La fine dell’architettura neoclassica, in «Rinascita», VII, n.8-9, (August-September) 1950, pp. 432 - 436

ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, Continuità, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.199, (December-Jenuary) 1953-1954, riportato in E.N. Rogers, Architettura, misura e grandezza dell’uomo. Scritti 1930-1969, S. Maffioletti (a cura di), Padova, Il Poligrafo 2010, pp. 501 - 503

ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, La responsabilità verso la tradizione, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.202 misura e grandezza dell’uom Scritti 1930-1969, S. Maffioletti (a cura di), Padova, Il Poligrafo 2010, pp. 516 - 522

EDOARDO VITTORIA, La retorica nell’architettura fascista, in «Società», n.2, (April) 1954, pp. 210 - 223

ROBERTO GUIDUCCI, A proposito di retorica nell’architettura, in «Società», n.4, (August) 1954, pp. 731 - 735

ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, Le preesistenze ambientali e i temi pratici contemporanei, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.204, (February-March) 1955, pp. 3 - 6

GIANCARLO DE CARLO, Problemi concreti per i giovani delle colonne, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.204, (February-March) 1955, p. 83

GIUSEPPE SAMONÀ, Architetture di giovani, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.205, (April-May) 1955, pp. 7 - 10


CESARE LUPORINI, La consapevolezza storica del marxismo, in «Società», n.3, (June) 1955, pp. 415 - 542

ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, La tradizione dell’architettura moderna italiana, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.206, (June-July) 1955, pp. 1 - 7


ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, Il metodo di Le Corbusier e la forma nella «Chapelle de Ronchamp»

in «Casabella-Continuità», n.207, (September-October) 1955, pp. 2 - 6

LE CORBUSIER, La chiesa di Notre dame du Haut a Ronchamp, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.207, (September-October) 1955, pp. 7 - 29

ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, Politica e architettura, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.208, (November-December) 1955, pp. 1 - 5

ENZO PACI, Problematica dell’architettura contemporanea, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.209, (Jenuary-February) 1956, pp. 41 - 46

GIANCARLO DE CARLO, ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, Discussione sulla valutazione storica dell’architettura e sulla misura umana, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.210, 1956, pp. 2 - 7

VITTORIO GREGOTTI, Alcune opere di Mario Ridolfi, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.210, 1956, pp. 22 - 48

SILVANO TINTORI, Un dibattito sui problemi delle Scuole di Architettura, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.210, 1956, pp. 67 – 69

MARCO ZANUSO, Il documento del Movimento di Studi per l’Architettura-M.S.A. sulla Triennale, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.211, (June-July) 1956, pp. III – VI

ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, L’architettura moderna dopo la generazione dei maestri, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.211, (June-July) 1956, pp. 1 - 5

ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, Problematica di Mies van der Rohe, In «Casabella-Continuità», n.214, (February-March) 1957, pp. 5 - 19

ROBERTO GUIDUCCI, Una polemica sulla razionalità in architettura, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.214, (February-March) 1957, pp. 46 - 53

ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, Continuità o crisi?, In «Casabella-Continuità», n.215, (April-May) 1957, pp. 3 - 6

GAE AULENTI, GUIDO CANELLA, FRANCO BUZZI-CERIANI, VITTORIO GREGOTTI, ALDO ROSSI, SILVANO TINTORI, Per l’approfondimento di una problematica, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.215, (April-May) 1957, pp. 49 - 50

ROBERTO GABETTI, AIMARO ISOLA, VITTORIO GREGOTTI, L’impegno della tradizione, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.215, (April-May) 1957, 63 - 75

ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, Ortodossia dell’eterodossia, In «Casabella-Continuità», n.216, 1957, pp. 2 - 6

ENZO PACI, L’architettura e il mondo della vita, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.217, (August-September) 1957, pp. 53 - 55

SERGIO BETTINI, Critica semantica e continuità storica dell’architettura europea, in «Zodiac» n.2, (May) 1958, riportato in S. Bettini, Tempo e forma. Scritti 1935-1977, A. Cazio vissuto, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.227, 1959, pp. 9 - 10

ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, L’evoluzione dell’architettura. Risposta ai custode dei frigidaires

in «Casabella-Continuità», n.228, (June) 1959, pp. 2 - 4

ERNESTO NATHAN ROGERS, Classicità di Mies van der Rohe, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.228, (June) 1959, pp. 5 - 13

ARIALDO DAVERIO, Ispirazione romantica nell’architettura di Alessandro Antonelli, in «Rassegna tecnica», n.2, (February) 1960, pp.

LUDOVICO QUARONI, L’avvenire della città, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.236, (February) 1960, pp. 18 - 23

VIRGILIO VERCELLONI, Milano 1861-1961: un secolo di occasioni mancate nello sviluppo della città, in «Casabella-Continuità», n.253, (July) 1961, pp. 28 - 41

EZIO BONFANTI, Emblematica della tecnica, in «Edilizia Moderna», n.86, 1965, riportato in E. Bonfanti, Scritti di architettura, L. Scacchetti (a cura di), Milano, Clup 1981, pp. 53 – 80

EZIO BONFANTI, Autonomia dell’architettura, in «Controspazio», anno I, n.1, (June) 1969, pp. 24 - 29

GIANNI MEZZANOTTE, Edilizia e politica. Appunti sull’edilizia dell’ultimo neoclassicismo, in «Casabella», n.338, 1969, pp. 42 - 53

CARLO OLMO, Funzionalismo e storicismo, in «Controspazio», anno I, n.7, (December) 1969, pp. 23 - 31

EZIO BONFANTI, Elementi e costruzione. Note sull’architettura di Aldo Rossi, in «Controspazio», anno II, n.10, (October) 1970, riportato in E. Bonfanti, Scritti di architettura, L. Scacchetti (a cura di), Milano, Clup 1981, pp. 281 - 296

CARLO MELOGRANI, FRANCO BERLANDA, RENATO NICOLINI, ALDO ROSSI, PAOLO PORTOGHESI, Cronaca di una polemica, in «Controspazio», anno III, n. 10-11, (October-November) 1971, pp. 2 - 11

ANTHONY VIDLER, The Ledoux Effect: Emil Kaufmann and the Claims of Kantian Autonomy, in «Perspecta», n.33, 2002, pp. 16 - 29

HUBERT DAMISH, Ledoux avec Kant, in «Perspecta», n.33, 2002, pp. 10 - 14


LOUIS HAUTECOEUR, Histoire de l’Architecture classique en France, tome VI-V, Éditions Picard, Paris 1952

HELEN ROSENAU, Boullée’s Treatise on Architecture, London, Alec Tiranti LTD 1953

HELEN ROSENAU, The ideal city in its architectural evolution, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London 1959

JEAN CLAUDE LEMAGNY, Les Architectes visionnaires, cat. expo. (in collaboration with) Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris, Paris 1964

J. BALLADUR, Y. FRIEDMAN, H. JONAS, P. MAYMONT, M. RAGON, N. SCHOFFER, Les Visionnaires de l'Architecture, Laffont, Paris 1965

D. DE MÉNIL, JEAN CLAUDE LEMAGNY, Visionary architects: Boullée, Ledoux, Lequeu, cat. esp. (in collaboration with) University of St. Thomas, Huston 19 Ottobre 1967 - 3 Gennaio 1968

JEAN-MARIE PÉROUSE DE MONTCLOS, Etienne-Louis Boullée (1728-1799). De l’architecture classique à l’architecture révolutionnaire, Arts et Métiers Graphiques, Paris 1969

FRANCO VENTURI, Utopia e riforma nell’illuminismo, Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi, Torino 1970

KLAUS LANKHEIT, Il tempio della ragione. Disegni inediti di Boullée, (Basel-Struttgart 1973) Milano, Editrice Magma 1977

WERNER SZAMBIEN, Symétrie goût caractère : théorie et terminologie de l' architecture à l' âge classique 1550-1800, Paris, Picard 1986

WERNER SZAMBIEN, Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand (1760-1834). Il metodo e la norma in architettura, preface by B. Huet, Venezia, Marsilio Editori 1986

MADEC PHILIPPE, Boullée, Fernand Hazan, Paris 1986

MARC-ANTOINE LAUGIER, Saggio sull’Architettura, edited by V. Ugo, Palermo, Aesthetica edizioni 1987

DENIS DIDEROT, Saggi sulla Pittura, edited by M. Modica, Palermo, Aesthetica edizioni 1991

MONIQUE MOSSER, Situation d’Emil Kaufmann, in E. KAUFMANN, De Ledoux a Le Corbusier. Origines de l’architecture moderne, Paris, Éditions de la Villette 1991

JEAN-LOUIS AVRIL, Les architects de la «seconde révolution», in E. KAUFMANN De Ledoux a Le Corbusier. Origines de l’architecture moderne, Paris, Éditions de la Villette 1991


ANTOHONY VIDLER, Architecture de lumières ou architecture révolutionnaire?, Id., L’espace des Lumières. Architecture et philosophie, de Ledoux à Fourier, edited by C. Fraixe, Paris, Picard 1995

GALLET MICHEL, Les architectes parisiens du XVIIIe siècle. Dictionnaire biographique et critique, Mengès, Paris 1995

GIORGIO SIMONCINI, Ritorni al passato nell’architettura francese tra Seicento e primo Ottocento, Milano, Jaca Book 2001

ANTONIA PIZZIGONI, Composizione architettonica e filosofia naturale. La Théorie des corps brûts di Étienne-Louis Boullée, edited by R. Palma, C. Ravagnati, Macchine Nascoste. Discipline e tecniche di rappresentazione nella composizione architettonica, UTET, Torino 2004

ÉTIENNE-LOUIS BOULLÉE, Architettura. Saggio sull’arte, edited by A. Ferlenga, Giulio Einaudi, Torino 2005

CAMILLA CASONATO, La teoria nel segno. Rossi e Boullée, disegni tra ragione e memoria, edited by A. Trentin, La lezione di Aldo Rossi, Bonomia University Press, Bologna 2008

IRENE BRANCASI, Architettura e Illuminismo: aspetti del pensiero di Étienne-Louis Boullée, Università di Firenze, 2012


EMIL KAUFMANN, Étienne-Louis Boullée, in «The Art Bulletin», vol. 12 n.3, (September) 1939, pp. 213 - 227

JAQUES DE CASO, «Venies de tumulos. Respice Sepulcra». Remarques sur Boullée et l’architecture funéraire à l’âge des Lumières, in «Revue de l’Art», n.32, 1976, pp. 15 -22

RICCARDO PACCIANI, Retorica e Sublime aspetti del «progettar grande» di Boullée, in «Psion», n.6, (Jenuary-March) 1976, pp. 48 -67

EDUARD FRANZ SEKLER, Formalism and the Polemical Use of History. Thoughts on the Recent Rediscovery of Revolutionary Classicism, in «The Harvard Architecture Review», vol.1, (summer) 1980, pp. 33 - 39

WERNER SZAMBIEN, Notes sur le recueil d’architecture privée de Boullée (1792-1796), in «Gazette des beaux-arts», VI période, tome XCVII, (March) 1981

WERNER SZAMBIEN, Les architectes parisiens à l'époque révolutionnaire, in «Revue de l'Art», n.83, 1989, pp. 36 - 50

LEE PAULA YOUNG, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants. Boullée’s " Atlas " Facade for the Bibliothèque du Roi, in «Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians», vol.57 n.4, (December)1998, pp 404 - 432

Images note:


Fig.1_G. A. ANTOLINI, Foro Bonaparte a Milano

Source: Fig. 155. Foro Bonaparte a Milano, in G. MEZZANOTTE, Architettura neoclassica in Lombardia, Napoli, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane 1966, p. 268.

Fig.2_G. A. ANTOLINI, Foro Bonaparte a Milano

Source: Fig. 163. Foro Bonaparte a Milano (1801), in G. MEZZANOTTE, Architettura neoclassica in Lombardia, Napoli, Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane 1966, pp. 270 - 271.

Fig.3._C.-N. LEDOUX, Casa di un impiegato

Source: Fig. 408. Maison d’un commis, in M. GALLET, Clause-Nicolas Ledoux 1736-1806, Paris, Picard 1980, p. 228.

Fig.4_C.-N. LEDOUX, Cimitero di Chaux

Source: Tav. 141. Coupe du Cimetière de la Ville de Chaux, in C. N. LEDOUX, L’Architecture de C. N. Ledoux, New York, Princeton Architectural 1983.

Fig.5_J.-L. DAVID, Il giuramento degli Orazi

Source: Il giuramento degli Orazi, in J.- L.D, Jacques-Louis David 1748 - 1825. Paris, 26 octobre 1989 - 12 février 1990 Paris, Edition de la Réunion des musées nationaux 1989, p. 423.

Fig.6_É.-L. BOULLÉE, Teatro

Source: Salle d'opéra projetée sur l'emplacement du Carrousel. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Parigi (http://gallica.bnf.fr).

Fig.7_É.-L. BOULLÉE, Museo; interno di Biblioteca

Source: Coupe géométrale de museum; Perspective intérieure de la nouvelle salle projetéepour l'agrandissement de la bibliothèque du Roi. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Parigi (http://gallica.bnf.fr).

Fig.8_K.F. SCHINKEL, Cattedrale nel bosco

Source: Fig. 24. Cattedrale nel bosco, in A. ROSSI, Étienne-Louis Boullée, Architettura. Saggio sull’Arte, Padova, Marsilio 1967, p. 55.

Fig.9_LE CORBUSIER, Convento de La Tourette, esterno

Source: ALDO ROSSI, Il Convento de la Tourette di Le Corbusier, in «Casabella-Continuità», n. 246 (December) 1960.

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