Sustainable cities and Domus

Domus presents Sustainable Cities/Città Sostenibili, a new digital section entirely dedicated to the future of cities that will host stories, visions and dialogues on sustainable living, a topic dear to the magazine founded by Gio Ponti in 1928.

Luc Schuiten, Le panorama vegetal city

Since 1997, the word sustainability has become omnipresent in the pages of Domus: the theme, however, has been central to the magazine since its beginnings, even if it used other names, perhaps more seductive, such as dymaxion or arcology (architecture + ecology). It was 1938, shortly after Austria’s annexation by Nazi Germany, when Gio Ponti invited Austrian architect Bernard Rudofsky to talk about visions of cities of the future. “The new generations will have to choose between the inhabitable cave and the mobile home,” wrote the man who, 24 years later, would curate “Architecture without Architects”, one of the most important exhibitions on the future of cities at MoMA in New York.

In its almost one hundred years of history, Domus has dealt with the theme of sustainability and the future of cities from infinite points of view, proposing avant-garde projects and utopian visions, both in the contents of the magazine and the website, but also in live events, as in the three consecutive editions of Domusforum - The future of cities.

Buckminster Fuller, Domus 294, 1954
Model of the Autonomous House by Buckminster Fuller, exhibited at MoMA, New York in 1953: aluminium structure, covered in plastic. Published on Domus 294, 1954

Going back in time, the year 1966 represents Buckminster Fuller’s geosocial revolution that “modifies and perfects ecology, that is, the science of man’s settlement in the world, or rather in the universe.” On 1976 Domus was publishing the prototypes of five cabs for “a cleaner and more comfortable mobility” that were realized in New York in accordance with the requests for “practicality, comfort, safety, economy of consumption, reduction of pollution and an adequate capacity, both for people and luggage.” In 1980 Pierre Restany sews poetic words on the essence of air, an essential element of our life in the cities: “air as the support of the waves of communication, a common means of transport, an invisible and omnipresent element, a ‘thread without a thread’ that binds the finite to the infinite.”

The photo accompanies an article by Bernard Rudofsky published in Domus 124, 1938
"An important problem for sociologists and economists: the new mobile trailer homes, mass-produced by American industry contain two rooms, entrance, kitchen, toilet, refrigerator, etc." The photo accompanies an article by Bernard Rudofsky published in Domus 124, 1938

Years go by, epochs change, but the questions about the future of cities remain the same and become pressing, especially when the future is uncertain, either because of a global pandemic or, as in Rudofsky’s case, because of a destructive war soon to come. In a dedicated section on Domus website we will collect the ideas and projects by those who today can help us understand the future of our habitat through reflections on sustainability, mobility, urban planning, sociology, philosophy, technology and architecture. Within Sustainable cities / Città sostenibili, contemporary voices will confront yesterday’s in a holistic collection of suggestions, case studies and projects that will accompany the reader towards possible visions of the future of cities.

Domus 474, 1969, Arcosanti
A page of Domus 474, 1969, with a description of Paolo Soleri's projects on Architettura+Ecologia in Arizona, USA (Arcosanti)

The section will be presented during Milano Digital Week 2021, which this year features the theme of “Fair and Sustainable City”. For the occasion, we will tell the city of today and tomorrow from unexpected angles, with Alessandro Melis, who will propose a transdisciplinary glossary on cities, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, who will present the documentary Riders, not heroes on platform capitalism and Roberto Pasi, creator of B-Box, a beehive for DIY urban beekeeping. The round table, entitled “Le città sostenibili raccontate da Domus” (Sustainable cities told by Domus), will be held online on Friday 19 March from 11.30 am to 12.30 pm, coordinated by the web editorial staff of Domus (Alessandro Scarano, Marianna Guernieri).

Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli is the founder of the interdisciplinary agency 2050+. Architect and lecturer, he will curate the Russia Pavilion at the next Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Roberto Pasi in 2017 founded Beeing, with the aim of simplifying beekeeping thanks to safe, easy and smart innovative hives.

Alessandro Melis is a lecturer, architect and curator of the Italian Pavilion at the next Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Opening image: Luc Schuiten, Le panorama vegetal city

Le città sostenibili raccontate da Domus
Milano Digital Week
Friday 19 march 2021, at 11:30

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