Grand Dessein du Rationalisme: 18 Architecture Projects from the Student Collectives of Roberto Gargiani’s Superstudio
at EPFL École olytechnique fédérale de Lausanne 2020-2021
Roberto Gargiani, Marson Korbi (Ed.)
EPFL & Accatone, 2021
Grand Dessein du Rationalisme is a hybrid publication that gathers 18 architecture projects from the student collectives of Roberto Gargiani’s Superstudio at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, 2020–2021, and a series of 13 theoretical, practical and historical reflections on (antagonist) rationalism in architecture.
At the outset of this project, we agreed, together with Roberto Gargiani and Marson Korbi, to create a hybrid publication that mediates the format of the collection of student projects with a series of theoretical and practical reflections on (antagonist) rationalism in architecture. They tapped into the diverse list of guests who, during the same academic year, had intervened in the studio for a lecture, soliciting original contributions that, given their quality, could easily make it into a specific book on the topic.
Still, this book intends to respect the provisional nature of student projects by assuming a certain economy of means. The texts in French and English, the working languages of students at EPFL, were included without translation in the project descriptions and in the 13 contributions. We were confident that readers would easily switch between the two languages, or be happy with half. The pair of A0 drawings that each student collective presented as the end result of their work, the “grands desseins” of a Platforme and a Ville Verte, are here reproduced on each side of an A2 poster, simply folded and inserted behind the front cover, unbound. They can be thumbed through as a fascicle or unfolded one by one, while excerpts of the same drawings allow readers to trace them back to the respective manifesto printed near the end of the book.
The concepts that the students manipulated in their projects are set out in the Superstudio Manifesto that they received at the beginning of the academic year, printed on the following pages. After this, Roberto Gargiani’s text “Antagonist Rationalism” inaugurates a series of contributions addressing the different subthemes that structure the book in two main sections: “Incomplete Rationalism / Actualité du Rationalisme” and “Multitude, Commons, Antagonisme, Metropolis”. The collective text by Natalie Donat-Cattin, Silvia Groaz, Boris Hamzeian and Marson Korbi, the course assistants, intercedes between the contributions and the set of manifestos written by each collective to accompany their graphic work.