Friday, June 28, 2013

Antonio Sant'Elia, Visionary Draftsman

Antonio Sant'Elia (1888-1916) was a highly influential architect, almost none of whose designs were ever built. One reason why little was built was because he was killed during the Great War, age 28.

His fame rests on an early modernist/Futurist theoretical architecture project called La Città Nuova (The New City) carried out around 1914. This was essentially a series of speculative architectural sketches and renderings that astonished architects of a modernist bent over the years as well as the architecture-appreciating general public, myself included.

A fairly brief Wikipedia entry on him is here. This Italian language site has both a brief biography and a link to a timeline.

It's out of print, but so far as I know, this book by Esther da Costa Meyer is the most comprehensive work in English dealing with Sant'Elia. She mentions that the Città Nuova concepts were largely un-buildable as depicted.

Regardless, Sant'Elia's renderings make for very nice art in themselves, regardless of their architectural merits.


Station for airplanes and trains, La Città Nuova - 1914

Temple of Fame - Monza cemetery - with Italo Paternoster - 1912
A design for an architectural competition. The rendering is by Sant'Elia. According to da Costa Meyer, the extent of Paternoster's participation is unknown.

La Città Nuova - study of structure with terraced floors

La Città Nuova study - 1914

Electric power station, La Città Nuova - 1914

La Città Nuova, particolare - 1914

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