Architecture and Labour: Part 2

Architecture and Labour
Space and the Production of Subjectivity

Video of the Symposium organised by the ‘City/Architecture’ PhD programme, Friday 13 November 2015.

Part 2 of 3: Fabrizio Ballabio, Andreas Rumpfhuber, Fabrizio Gallanti

Scroll down for abstracts and timing of the presentations

00:06:30 min

Fabrizio Ballabio (Architectural Association, AYR)

The Palace, the Pulpit and the Plant. Labour, Subjectivity and the Architecture of the Albergo dei Poveri in Naples

This paper explores the complex history behind one of the largest architectural endeavours of eighteenth-century Europe: Ferdinando Fuga’s ‘Albergo Reale dei Poveri’ in Naples. Commissioned by Charles of Bourbon in 1749 to address the unsettling threat that mendicity represented to both the spiritual and economic integrity of the newly formed kingdom, the project of the Albergo inscribes itself within that moment in modern history in which labour understood as ‘the condition of human life’ came to be an increasingly architectural matter. At once a poorhouse, a palace, a prison and a factory, this peculiar enterprise distinguishes itself from analogous European experiments by the distinct role played by ecclesiastical bodies in the formation of its subjects, ie, ‘the poor’. In point of fact, herein, secular and religious practices stand in almost daunting proximity, and it is precisely in the Albergo’s typological hybridity that one can gauge the mixed circumstances leading to capitalism’s actualisation. If as Giorgio Agamben maintains, the emphasis on labour through the lens of productivity has long prevented us from accessing the ‘central mysteries’ behind contemporary forms of government, the architecture of the Albergo offers an effective instance towards alternative renditions.

Andreas Rumpfhuber (Staatlichen Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart, Expanded Design, Vienna)

Remote Control Space: The Architecture of the Edufactory

This paper focuses on the transformations within knowledge production in the 1960s and 1970s that ultimately led to what today is discussed as the Edufactory. My argument will be twofold: (1) I will be discussing the very shift and alteration of knowledge production by analysing the late 1960s vision of the then future university through four significant projects: Hans Hollein’s University Extension (1966), The Open University in the UK (1969) and Archizoom’s and Superstudio’s contribution to the University of Florence competition (1970). (2) I will be asking about the status of the practice of architecture to actively intervene in processes of society, about the possibility of a critique of the system.

Fabrizio Gallanti (Université de Montréal, McGill University, Fig Projects)

‘Arquitectura e trabalho libre’. The use of concrete in the Escola Paulista and the reorganisation of labour in Brazil

‘Arquitectura e trabalho libre’ is the title of an anthology of texts by the Brazilian architect Sergio Ferro. Member of the Escola Paulista, Ferro explored the relationship between architectural design, industrial production and labour. The use of concrete as the characteristic material of the architects of Sao Paulo, Vilanova Artigas and Mendes de Rocha among others, was the result of a political stance, leading to unexpected consequences for the organisation of work and the employment of unskilled migrants from rural Brazil in the production process, substituting experienced masons and carpenters. The paper will argue that design choices at the level of architectural detail are influenced by economic and political conditions and therefore participate in the control and organisation of labour.