The Interior City. Infinity and Concavity in the No-Stop City(1970-1971)

Pablo Martínez Capdevila

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In the late 60s it had become clear how the environment technification had allowed some typologies (supermarkets, car parks, factories) to reach potentially unlimited built depths becoming, therefore, independent from the outside. The No-Stop City is born from a very simple idea: to extend this technification to the totality of built reality encompassing, not only almost all functions, but ultimately, the whole city. This operation has paradoxical effects: as architecture grows, it loses most of the features that have traditionally defined it. A dissolution by hypertrophy that gives rise to an homogeneous, concave and potentially infinite space.

But beyond the pure technical feasibility, there are two key influences, seemingly contradictory, that explain this endeavor for an interior and endless city: Marxism and Pop Art. The project is, in many senses, a built manifesto reflecting the militancy of the group members within the Italian Marxism. But it is also the embodiment of the group's declared interest in Pop Art, popular culture and mass society. The cross-influence of communism and consumerism explains this "quantitative utopia" in which the society and the factory, the production and consumption, would match. A city based on the centrality of consumer products and the subsequent loss of prominence of architecture, in which the urban phenomenon, while spreading endlessly over territory, ignoring its rural exteriority, dissolves the home as a sphere of privacy, ignoring its domestic interiority.

A project, also in the wake of Marshall McLuhan, that illustrates like few others the conversion of the urbane into a virtually omnipresent "condition" and that still interrogates us with questions that are, on the other hand, eternal: What is a building? What is a city?

Palabras clave

Branzi, dissolution, pop, Marxism, neo-avant-garde

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