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Architecture as propaganda in twentieth-century totalitarian regimes. History and heritage

Book edited by Håkan Hökerberg, 351 pages, Firenze: Edizioni Polistampa, 2018

Håkan Hökerberg, Istituto Svedese di Studi Classici a Roma,

It is well known that architecture has the potential to support and promote ideological propaganda. In the totalitarian regimes of twentieth-century Europe, political leaders clearly understood that potential and knew how to exploit it. As a consequence, architecture prospered under totalitarian rule. When the regimes eventually collapsed, they left a rich architectural legacy, which remains today as an evident and sometimes awkward part of the urban landscape. This conference volume explores how prominent architects conveyed the dominant political programmes of totalitarian regimes through buildings, monuments and urban planning. Scholars from a range of academic backgrounds examine the significance of difficult architectural heritage with regards to national identity and historical understanding – whether this heritage is acknowledged or ignored. Examples illustrate different approaches to the management of ideologically controversial heritage, reflecting the varying ambitions of former totalitarian nations to confront their dark past.

Håkan Hökerberg, Introduction
Stefan Berger, National tradition! What national tradition? – Historiographical debates on fascism in italy and Germany from 1945 to the post-Cold War period
Antonello Alici, Giuseppe Pagano and Casabella. In defence of modern Italian architecture
Hannah Malone, Marcello Piacentini: a case of controversial heritage
Paolo Nicoloso, The fascist memory of the war and its legacy. Two cases: the Redipuglia War Memorial and the Ara Pacis of Medea
Raffaele Giannantonio, Fascism/Urbanism: Town, New-Town, Non-Town
Giorgio Ciucci, The Italian, Soviet Union and German pavilions in international Exhibitions 1925-1939
Harald Bodenschatz, Berlin Mitte: the product of two dictatorships
Manuel Blanco, The reconstruction of Spain in the post-war period. The Dirección General de Regiones Devastadas
Sonja Ifko, Slovenia in a Yugoslavian context – practicing architecture on the third side of the Cold War
Patrick Leech, The anxieties of dissonant heritage: ATRIUM and the architectural legacy of regimes in local and European perspectives
Sharon Macdonald, Endorsement effects and warning potentials: Architecture from totalitarian eras as heritage
Valerie Higgins, Hidden in plain sight: the impact of Rome’s fascist past on contemporary heritage management
Håkan Hökerberg, The past in the present – difficult heritage in the contemporary context
Max Page, The Arc of Memory and the Arc of Justice: How memorials to European fascism matter



Políticas urbanas en un contexto de dictadura militar. Algunos interrogantes a partir de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (1976-1983)

Article by Luján Menazzi and Guillermo Jajamovich
Revista Bitácora Urbano – Territorial N° 20, 2012. Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Luján Menazzi, Universidad de Buenos Aires,

This paper analyses the last military dictatorship urban policies for the city of Buenos Aires. It deepens on certain interventions, such as the failure attempts to transfer the National Cattle Market and the urban highways plan, which brought a series of demolitions in an area that would be protected as urban and architectural heritage after a short period of time. These interventions represent certain fissures or disputes which contradict the image of the military dictatorship policies as univocal. The paper identifies the various state agencies involved in producing these interventions, the different perspectives and logics of intervention and the incongruous effects on the territory. Based on these analyses two issues will be discussed: the image of the military dictatorship as univocal, without internal fissures nor disputes, and the idea of an omnipotent dictatorial government, without stakeholders with capacity to oppose its different initiatives.

Key words: city, dictatorship, urban policies, Buenos Aires

El presente artículo busca reflexionar acerca del accionar de la última dictadura militar argentina sobre la ciudad de Buenos Aires. Así, se analizarán las políticas urbanas de la dictadura en general profundizando, en particular, en ciertas intervenciones, tales como los fallidos intentos de traslado del Mercado Nacional de Hacienda y el Plan de Autopistas Urbanas, que supuso una serie de demoliciones y expropiaciones en un área que sería testigo al poco tiempo de medidas de protección patrimonial. Estas intervenciones, entre otras, suponen ciertas fisuras o contradicciones que nos alejan de entender el accionar de la dictadura como algo unívoco. En ese sentido se señalan los distintos organismos estatales desde donde se producen estas intervenciones, las distintas perspectivas y lógicas de intervención y los efectos en ocasiones contradictorios sobre el territorio. A partir del análisis de estas intervenciones se problematizarán dos aspectos: la idea que supone un accionar unívoco, sin fisuras ni disputas internas por parte de la dictadura, y la imagen de un gobierno dictatorial omnipotente, sin actores sociales con capacidad de oponerse a sus distintas iniciativas.

Palabras clave: Ciudad; Dictadura; Políticas urbanas; Buenos Aires

Download full text (in Spanish) > Políticas urbanas en un contexto de dictadura militar

Plaza San Miguel de Garicoits

Plaza San Miguel de Garicoits, Estudio Serra y Valera. Fuente: Fèvre (s.f.)

El proceso en la ciudad. El caso del traslado del Mercado Nacional de Hacienda de Liniers durante la última dictadura militar argentina

Article by Luján Menazzi
Revista Cuaderno Urbano. Espacio, cultura, sociedad N° 12, 2012. Resistencia: Universidad Nacional del Nordeste.

Luján Menazzi, Universidad de Buenos Aires,

The article analyses the interventions and urban processes initiated during the last military dictatorship (1976-1983) on the basis of a specific case: the failed attempt to move the Cattle Market outside the city of Buenos Aires. The aim is to reconstruct the political dynamics of this process, considering the political decision and the factors that prevented the eradication. This paper seeks to call into question certain statements that conceptualize the dictatorship as a total turning point in terms of urban policy, considering it all-powerful, deliberate and consistent. With this purpose the paper delves into two issues related to this case. On the one hand the different government areas responsible for intervening in urban which defended different positions. This entailed a very partial and inconsistent transformation of the area. Secondly, the resilience shown by some sectors/actors in hindering the political will to move the market.

Key words: Urban processes; Dictatorship; Buenos Aires City

El artículo aborda las intervenciones y procesos urbanos iniciados durante la última dictadura a partir de un caso específico: el intento frustrado de trasladar el Mercado de Hacienda fuera de la ciudad de Buenos Aires. Se pretende reconstruir la dinámica político-institucional de este proceso atendiendo a cómo se tomó la decisión política y a los factores que incidieron en frustrar el traslado. A partir del análisis del caso, se busca relativizar ciertos balances que conceptualizan a la dictadura como un punto de quiebre total en términos de políticas urbanas, asignándole un carácter todopoderoso, premeditado y coherente. En esta línea se señalan para este caso dos cuestiones. Por un lado las distintas áreas encargadas de intervenir sobre lo urbano y la heterogeneidad de figuras en el interior del elenco dictatorial que defendían intereses diversos, lo cual tuvo como correlato una transformación muy parcial y poco coherente del área. En segundo término la capacidad de resistencia que pusieron de manifiesto ciertos sectores vinculados con el quehacer del mercado, entorpeciendo la voluntad política de trasladarlo.

Palabras clave: Procesos urbanos; Dictadura; Ciudad de Buenos Aires

Download full text (in Spanish) > El proceso en la ciudad

Vista aérea de Mataderos

Vista aérea de Mataderos en 1965. Fuente: elaboración propia con base en imagen del Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (2010).

Ciudad en dictadura. Procesos urbanos en la ciudad de Buenos Aires durante la última dictadura militar (1976-1983)

Article by Luján Menazzi
Scripta Nova. Revista Electrónica de Geografía y Ciencias Sociales. Vol. XVII N° 429, 2013. Barcelona: Universidad de Barcelona

Luján Menazzi, Universidad de Buenos Aires,

The article analyzes the most important urban interventions, regulations and policies developed by both the national government and the municipal government of the last Argentine military dictatorship in the City of Buenos Aires. It seeks to investigate degree of coherence and consistency of the interventions examined, considering the government departments involved, the sense of interventions and the political and institutional dynamics developed. Based on this analysis, we can identify certain common characteristics of the interventions, such as the effort to achieve an ordered and hierarchical city, the great capacity to materialize initiatives and the will to carry out drastic and irreversible transformations. These common elements are linked to the general guidelines of the dictatorial government. At the same time, the review of the interventions also reveals a great heterogeneity in their sense, aesthetics and characteristics, while some of these interventions and regulations dialogued with previous urban traditions, materializing old projects and aspirations such as urban highways, widening of avenues, production of large public facilities and some elements of the Planning Code. In parallel, some interventions and regulations developed represented ruptures with these traditions, incorporating perspectives linked to the new tendencies of urbanism, as patrimonial and environmental protection initiatives, and the disincentive to the industrial profile of the city.

Key words: Buenos Aires, military dictatorship, urban processes, urban policies

El artículo analiza las intervenciones, reglamentaciones y políticas urbanas más importantes desarrolladas tanto por el gobierno nacional como por el gobierno municipal de la última dictadura militar argentina en la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. Se busca indagar los sentidos que adquieren estas intervenciones, el grado de coherencia y homogeneidad de las mismas, considerando los actores intervinientes, sus objetivos y la dinámica político institucional desarrollada. A partir del análisis se pueden identificar ciertas características que atraviesan a todas las intervenciones del período, como la búsqueda de lograr una ciudad ordenada y jerarquizada, la gran capacidad para materializar iniciativas y la voluntad de concretar transformaciones drásticas e irreversibles. Estos elementos comunes, se vinculan con los lineamientos generales del gobierno dictatorial. A su vez, el repaso por las intervenciones también deja en evidencia una gran heterogeneidad en el sentido, estética y características de las mismas, en tanto algunas de estas intervenciones y normativas dialogaban con tradiciones urbanísticas previas materializando antiguos proyectos y aspiraciones como las autopistas urbanas, ensanches de avenidas, la producción de grandes equipamientos públicos y algunos elementos del Código de Planeamiento. En paralelo se desarrollaron intervenciones y normativas que representaban quiebres con estas tradiciones incorporando miradas ligadas a las nuevas tendencias del urbanismo, como iniciativas de protección patrimonial y ambiental, y el desincentivo al perfil industrial de la ciudad.
Palabras clave: Ciudad de Buenos Aires, dictadura, procesos urbanos, políticas urbanas.

Palabras clave: Ciudad de Buenos Aires, dictadura, procesos urbanos, políticas urbanas

Download full text (in Spanish) > Ciudad en dictadura


Demoliciones para la construcción de autopistas. Fuente: Zicovich Wilson, 1983.

Madrid. Transformation einer Großstadt – Madrid. Transformación de una gran ciudad

1 February 2018, 9h00 – 18h00
Thomas-Dehler-Straße -10787 Berlin
Organized by the FH-Potsdam/Potsdam School of Architecture and the TU-Eindhoven with the support of the Embassy of Spain in Berlin

Silvia Malcovati, Potsdam School of Architecture,
Bernd Albers, Potsdam School of Architecture,

Download invitation > Madrid_Symposium_Einladungskarte
Download programme > PROGRAMM



Modernism, modernisation and the rural landscape

Call for papers,
10-13 JUNE 2018 (Tartu, Estonia)

Simon Bell, Estonian University of Life Sciences,
Axel Fisher, Université Libre de Bruxelles,
Vittoria Capresi, Technische Universität Berlin,

The impact of the Modern Movement and modernisation processes on rural landscapes in Europe and beyond is a widespread but little known, recognised or understood phenomenon which still exerts effects today. Within the third joint research programme of HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) dedicated to “The uses of the past” which started in 2016, this subject is now being studied through several lenses within the MODSCAPES project.

Read more > MODSCAPES_conference2018


Abstracts should be submitted by January 7 2018 (23:59@EET) to the conference management system (via submission Platform

Abstracts will be double peer reviewed and decisions on acceptance, rejection or revision will be sent out by February 9 2018.

Revised abstracts should be submitted by February 19 2018

Full paper text should be submitted by March 31 2018

Papers will be double peer reviewed and decisions on acceptance or revision will be sent out by April 30 2018

Final papers should be submitted by May 14 2018


Padise Kindergarten (Estonia). Architect: Anastasja Varus, 1970ies-80ies. Source: Museum of Estonian Architecture, Eesti Arhitektuurimuuseum (EAM Fk 7801)

Townscapes in transition. Transformation and reorganization of Italian cities and their architecture in the interwar period

Call for papers,
Amercian Association for Italian Studies
AAIS – Annual Conference / Session 24

Luigi Monzo, University of Innsbruck,

Social change after WWI led to an accelerated change in the built environment. Within a broad stylistic scope of architectural and urban design projects, the structural ‘DNA‘ of Italian historic cities offered a basic planning guideline. Historic paradigms determined not only trends in conservation but guided new approaches to architecture as well as urban and landscape design. The result was not a single strategy to ensure continuity in urban planning and architecture, but a multiplicity of formal principles and trends. The session proposes to clarify what methods Italian architects and urban planners used to take possession of a ‘Roman’ or ‘Italian’ building and planning tradition, and how they accommodated it to the modernization of their country.

Please submit via email a 200-250-word abstract of the presentation, a brief biographical note and affiliation to Luigi Monzo ( by December 30, 2017. Please comply with conference guidelines:

The conference languages are Italian and English.
Session organizers and chairs:

Luigi Monzo, University of Innsbruck (Austria)

Carmen M. Enss, University of Bamberg (Germany)

Download call for papers: AAIS_2018_Panel-24_CFP_v2.0_web


Mario Paniconi: landscape plan for Fiuggi. Source: Architettura 1933, p. 327