Marco Biraghi was born in Milan (Italy) in 1959. He teaches History of Contemporary Architecture at the Facoltà di Architettura Civile of the Politecnico di Milano. His most recent books include: Progetto di crisi. Manfredo Tafuri e l’architettura contemporanea (Christian Marinotti Edizioni, Milano 2005), Peter Eisenman. Tutte le opere (Electa, Milano 2007, with P.V. Aureli and F. Purini) and Storia dell’architettura contemporanea 1750-2008 (Einaudi, Torino 2008). He has also edited the Italian edition of Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas (Electa, Milano 2001) and of some books of the English historian Reyner Banham.




Why Manfredo Tafuri and Rem Koolhaas? What do Manfredo Tafuri, the Italian architectural historian who passed away in 1994, and Rem Koolhaas, the Dutch architect whose fame has achieved planetary scale, have to do with each other? Not much, at first glance. In one of his most famous books of the 1980s, La sfera e il labirinto, Tafuri mentions the name Koolhaas a couple of times, almost in passing, and not in what would appear to be particularly flattering terms (he talks about the “cynical game of Koolhaas”, and describes his drawings as “jokes”).1 (fig.1, 2)

On the other side, Koolhaas speaks of Tafuri in an interview with Hans van Dijk in 1978. He says: “I have a strong impression that Tafuri and his co-thinkers hate architecture. They declare architecture dead. For him architecture is a set of corpses in the morgue. But once dead they do not leave the corpses in peace: they are vain enough to want to be the experts of the morgue. They do name-dropping in the morgue”, and he continues: “In the articles of Tafuri about skyscrapers I have never seen a map. For him it is a kind of Totem of the bad side of capitalism and of course he is terrified to discover that there is something else going on.”2 In spite of the severity and precision of the judgments expressed here, which “nail down” Tafuri to a merciless and ideological position regarding capitalism, there is reason to believe that the latter played a central – even decisive – role in the focusing of the positions of Koolhaas. But in order to get a better idea of the relationship that can be traced between the two (clarifying, from the outset, that this is not a personal relationship, one of familiarity or encounters), we need to retrace, however briefly, the intellectual trajectory of Tafuri ...



Auf der Suche nach einer Theorie der Architektur

Band 18 – Marco Biraghi

Identification Parade: Manfredo Tafuri and Rem Koolhaas

Ein Vortrag an der HafenCity Universität Hamburg, Juni 2010

6 Euro


HafenCity Universität Hamburg

Textem Verlag Hamburg, 2011

mit Mitteln der Sutor-Stiftung

Vortragsreihe: Hartmut Frank, Elke Sohn (2001-2006)

und Katrin Peter-Bösenberg,

herausgegeben von Hartmut Frank und Katrin Peter-Bösenberg.

Lektorat: Harald Strauß

Layout-Konzept: Martin Luce

Gestaltung: Julia Lehr

ISBN 978-3-941613-54-6



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