Accepted Paper:

From Paper to the Ground: Architecture and Dwelling in 'the' New Town of fascism.  


Paolo Gruppuso (University of Aberdeen)
Pietro Cefaly (Casa dell'Architettura)

Paper short abstract:

An architect and an anthropologist find a map, dated 1929, with a hand-drawn line representing the boundary of a town that did not yet exist. Based on this find, this contribution aims to reflect on the performative power of drawing in architecture and the meaning of a city.

Paper long abstract:

This contribution to the Museum of Architecture is the result of an ongoing conversation between an anthropologist and an architect discussing the theoretical and social implications of a line, hand-drawn with a red pencil on a map, by an unknown designer. The map, dated 1929, represents the Pontine Marshes in Italy, reclaimed few years later by the fascist regime. The red line marks the boundaries of the New Town Littoria, founded in 1932 on the ashes of the reclaimed Marshes.

Drawing a line on the map, the unknown designer, like a demiurge, accomplished the task of giving shape and bringing civilisation into the perceived chaotic and formless environment of the Marshes. He divided the continuum of nature into discrete objects, identifying and naming what eventually became Littoria, 'the' New Town, a monument, rather than a city, built from scratch to celebrate the conquest and colonisation of the Pontine Marshes.

Our 'piece' displays the map and a number of architectural drawings and aerial photographs concerning the foundation and development of Littoria, renamed Latina after the fall of the fascism. Based on the discovery of this map and its inscription, this contribution addresses questions concerning the performative power of drawing in architecture and the experience of living in a city that, like a monument, was literally drawn on paper before of being built on the solid ground. Our aim is to raise questions that challenge our most fundamental assumptions about architecture, dwelling, and the meaning of a city.

Panel P086
A Museum of Architecture: Challenging Representation(s)