Earthen Construction. Graphic Mediation in Spontaneous Architecture

  • Alice PalmieriEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Series in Design and Innovation book series (SSDI, volume 6)


This paper proposes a reflection on spontaneous architecture, a theme dealt with in detail by Bernard Rudofsky, who in the exhibition “Architecture without architects” is critical of the author’s architecture that places more emphasis on the creator at the expense of collective logics that have formed the basis of architectural thought. Considering that the evolution of building has not been shaped by architects, but by certain social, political and economic contexts, means reading the history of architecture not on the basis of a scientific production carried out in individual graphic elaborations, but by communitarian reflections and awareness. In this sense, architecture is free from aprioristic thought, and not constrained by a tension that starts from the final form, but generated by the constructive process that progressively occupies the space defining a place. Two fundamental questions are connected to the mediation of design in the project conception (and its possible lack): the first concerns the authorship of the work that is the need -found by Vasari for the first time- to identify an architect and his cultural context in order to attribute meaning and value to a building. The second theme, on the other hand, is closely linked to the constructive reasons and processes that generate a type of participatory architecture, sometimes without overall planning and graphic design representation. This is the case of earthen architecture, its evolutions and the approach to this technique in the contemporary culture.


Earthen architecture Graphic mediation Spontaneous architecture 


  1. Campos, C., Cirafici, A., Fiorentino, C.C.: Del acontecimiento al indumento: traducciones intersemióticas y diseño contemporáneo. In: Proceedings CIMODE 2018: 4º Congresso Internacional de Moda e Design (2018)Google Scholar
  2. Corrado, M.: Quando l’architettura non la facevano gli architetti (2017).
  3. Fathy, H.: Costruire con la gente. Jaca Book, Milano (1986)Google Scholar
  4. Gregotti, V.: Il territorio dell’architettura. Feltrinelli, Milano (2008)Google Scholar
  5. Minke, G.: Building with Earth. Birkhäuser – Publishers for Architecture, Basel (2006)Google Scholar
  6. Ratti, C.: Architettura Open Source. Einaudi, Torino (2014)Google Scholar
  7. Rudofsky, B.: Architecture Without Architects: A Short Introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture. Doubleday, New York (1964)Google Scholar
  8. Vasari, G.: Le vite dei più eccellenti pittori, scultori e architetti, Edizioni la Biblioteca Digitale, Firenze (2015)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Architecture and Industrial DesignUniversity of Campania ‘Luigi Vanvitelli’AversaItaly

Personalised recommendations