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10.03.2021

Alessandro de Magistris (). On the sincere flattery to technology and the international Fortune of italian EnfgineeRing after the WWII

Rooted in a historical path with solid academic roots and conditioned by the economic policies of the fascist regime (Autarchy), the Italian engineering culture developed in the first decades of the twentieth century original theoretical and application paths that are summarized by the work and figure of Pier Luigi Nervi.

Passing through the experience and the “construction site” of the conflict , in the period following the Second World War, the Italian "school", represented by the work of Nervi himself - designer and entrepreneur -, by Riccardo Morandi  and others, actively participated and characterized the historical moment of the so-called italian  "miracle" but knew at the same time, on the theoretical and operational level, a huge international success that went beyond the boundaries of the “Iron Curtain”. This success was favored by a complex picture of cultural, economic and design factors and opportunities  summarized by Rayner Banham who, in an article published in the magazine "Architectural Review" right in the barycentric phase of this season (1960), underlined "the sincere flattery to technology" and "the … gaze shown towards certain categories of engineers who enjoyed an unprecedented status, both as collaborators of architects, and as creators of forms to be imitated ".

The paper intends to highlight some key-aspects of this complex phenomenon, which in itself represents a fundamental and only partially written page in the history of architecture characterizing the developments of the design culture in the years of the Cold War, both in the West and in the Socialist world