Bruno Zevi

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Bruno Zevi

Bruno Zevi (born January 22, 1918 in Rome ; † January 9, 2000 ibid) was an Italian architect , architectural historian, author and university professor.


Bruno Zevi, a Jew born in Rome, graduated from high school in 1933 and decided to study architecture. Due to the political situation, he moved to London in 1938 and studied at the Architectural Association , then went to the USA . From 1940 to 1942 Bruno Zevi was a student of Walter Gropius at Harvard University and graduated from the Graduate School of Design before returning to Europe in 1943 and joining the Resistancea , the anti-fascist resistance in Italy.

The first years of the architecture magazine Metron , published by Zevi and first published in 1946, testified to a strictly analytical language in the style of classical modernism. Fascinated by Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural work, however, Zevi's stance changed, and his basic work Verso una architettura organica , published in 1945, already clearly moved away from this stance and elevated Frank Lloyd Wright's theoretical formulations to the actual source of inspiration for his architecture.

In July 1945, Zevi was the founding father of the Associazione per l'Architettura Organica (APAO) (Association for Organic Architecture). With the founding of the APAO, Zevi intended to detach itself from any architecture that was associated with fascism . After the official neoclassical-monumental state architecture of Marcello Piacentini and the Razionalismo , he propagated a third way towards a completely new, politically unencumbered architecture. With the Architettura organica , a liberal, social and humane force should emerge. For Zevi, their political orientation was important, which he saw - in the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright - in the American-style democracy. Zevi was a political person all his life and from 1978 to 1988 a member of the Italian Parliament.

After the end of the war he became full professor of architectural history at the University of Venice (IUAV) in 1948 ; In 1964 he moved to the architecture faculty at La Sapienza University in Rome.

In 1951 Bruno Zevi organized an exhibition on Frank Lloyd Wright in the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence in order to bring the followers of organic architecture closer to the great American model. The international architecture symposium “Man and Space” held at the Vienna University of Technology in 1984 , attended by Bruno Zevi, for example, Justus Dahinden , Dennis Sharp , Pierre Vago , Jorge Glusberg , Otto Kapfinger , Frei Otto , Paolo Soleri , Ernst Gisel , Ionel Schein , attracted international attention u. a. participated.

Zevi was an internationally recognized architectural historian and critic, in particular as a scientist he worked with Erich Mendelsohn and Frank Lloyd Wright . His book Verso un'architettura organica , published in 1945 - deliberately alluding to Le Corbusier's Vers une Architecture from 1923 - was published in 15 languages. In 1955 he founded his own magazine, Cronache di architettura , which existed until his death. Since 1954 he wrote weekly columns in the newspapers Cronache and L'Espresso .

Zevi represented an architectural philosophy based on the old Italian building cultures. The Luigi Einaudi library built by Bruno Zevi in Dogliani (1962–1963) and the Italian pavilion at the World Exhibition in Brussels (1958) are particularly noted . In the sixties and seventies, he and colleagues like Paolo Portoghesi were often the target of architectural-theoretical attacks, in particular by Manfredo Tafuri.

Bruno Zevi has received numerous awards, including honorary doctorates from the Universidad de Buenos Aires , the University of Michigan , Ann Arbor and the University of Haifa . He was an honorary member of the British Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Zevi was General Secretary and later Vice President of the Italian Istituto Nazionale di Urbanistica (INU) and emeritus of the International Committee of Architectural Critics ( CICA ) (1965–1977). He was a long-time professor at the International Academy of Architecture (IAA) in Sofia .

Zevi was married to the journalist Tullia Zevi (1919-2011) since 1940 . He died of flu in his home in Rome a few days before his 82nd birthday.


  • "Art doesn't need philosophy, it provides it with the material."

Works (selection)

  • La costituzione dell'Associazione per l'Architettura Organica a Roma , in: Metron, Heft 2, 1945, p. 756
  • Verso un'architettura organica. Einaudi, Turin 1945 (Engl .: Towards an Organic Architecture. Faber & Faber, London 1950)
  • Frank Lloyd Wright. Milan 1947 (German-French edition: Birkhäuser, Basel 1998, ISBN 3-7643-5987-0 )
  • Saper vedere l'architettura. Einaudi, Milan 1948
  • Storia dell'architettura moderna. , Turin 1953
  • Il linguaggio moderno dell'architettura. Einaudi, Turin 1973 (Engl .: The modern language of architecture. Da Capo Press, New York 1994, ISBN 0-306-80597-9 )
  • Erich Mendelsohn. Opera completa. Milan 1970 (Engl .: Erich Mendelsohn. The Complete Works. Birkhäuser, Basel 1999, ISBN 3-7643-5975-7 )

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