Superstudio: The Architects Who Dreamt of a Future With No Buildings

FLORENCE, Italy — One recent afternoon, the architect Gian Piero Frassinelli, 81, stopped on a walk through a piazza near his home, and pointed at a fresco high above on a building’s facade.

The illustration depicts an entourage of local luminaries, including Dante, the poet, and the painters Leonardo da Vinci and Giotto. Many would view the scene as a tribute to Florence’s historic golden age. For Frassinelli, however, it represents the city’s disrespect for its creative sons.

“Until after their deaths, this city’s artists are destined to be rejected,” he said.

As the last surviving core member of Superstudio, Frassinelli should know. That radical architecture collective galvanized the design world during a MoMA exhibition in 1972, and its futuristic vision zigzagged the globe. Although Superstudio built very few actual buildings, its witty photo collages and designs, presented in exhibitions and glossy magazine spreads, opened up new possibilities for what

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