Pier Vittorio Aureli, Jolanda Devalle, Theodora Giovanazzi, Marson Korbi – History as a Project. The translation of Selected Essay and Interviews by Manfredo Tafuri 1964-1994

Manfredo Tafuri is the most important modern historian of architecture. The magnitude of his work and impact can be measured by his unparalleled scholarship on a wide range of topics that included different periods and themes, from Jacopo Sansovino to architecture in Soviet Russia. The root of his enduring relevance can be traced to the radical quality with which he questioned the discipline of architecture vis-à-vis capitalist development. Yet, to this day, much of his work remain opaque. For example, of his enormous body of written work, very few publications are available in English and even in Italian his books are out of print. Moreover, Tafuri seems to entertain two audiences: those interested in his critique of modern architecture (mostly activists and theorists), and those interested in his work on Renaissance architecture (mostly historians and scholars). These audiences are so remote from one another that they split the reading of Tafuri’s work in two distinct areas which are perceived independently as if they were not developed within the same historical project. Indeed, theorists and scholars interested in Tafuri’s writings on modern architecture completely ignore his studies on other periods, considering them inconsequential to his more ‘political’ work–and, vice versa, historians of Renaissance architecture think that Tafuri’s critique of ideology is of no relevance to his more philological investigations of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century architecture. This research from the TPOD consists of translating Tafuri’s seminal essays and interviews dating from 1964 until Tafuri’s untimely death in 1994. The selected work is largely both unpublished in English and unavailable in Italian. This material traces the evolution of Tafuri’s historical projects, from his early essays on urban planning and building speculation, to his critique of architectural ideology, to his seminal essays on specific architects, such as Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Le Corbusier, Aldo Rossi and Carlo Scarpa. As a collection this research from the TPOD was developed as a course held during the Spring of 2023 and will result in a forthcoming book set to be published in 2024.