Architecture as the Ideology of the Plan: Revisiting Manfredo Tafuri's Critique of Ideology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


The paper revisits Manfredo Tafuri's "Toward a Critique of Architectural Ideology" (1969). In the essay Tafuri analyses the integration of architectural ideology - 'project' and 'utopia' - into state ideology, its move from superstructure to base. For him "Architecture as the ideology of the Plan is swept away by the reality of the Plan at the moment the plan came down from the utopian level and became an operant mechanism." Tafuri's essay was a comment on Antonio Negri's "Keynes and the Capitalist Theory of the State post-1929" (1968). According to Negri the economic crisis of 1929 had destroyed confidence in the future. As a consequence the state was "to remove fear of the future", to eliminate its risk and uncertainty. The cure was to project the future according to present expectations, "the state as the plan". For Tafuri though, "It is significant that almost all the economic objectives formulated by Keynes in his General Theory can be found, in purely ideological form, at the basis of the poetics of modern architecture." It was architecture that aimed at the reorganization of production, distribution and consumption in the capitalist city. While his 'critique of ideology' is often discussed, the specific notion of 'architecture as the ideology of the Plan' remains largely overlooked. The paper clarifies Tafuri's critique of ideology, drawing attention to the 'plan' as specific form of representation, organization and administration. It situates the essay within the political context of Italian Workerism and their slogan "contro il piano", against the plan.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Conference Architecture and Ideology
Place of PublicationBelgrade, Serbia
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2012
EventThe International Conference Architecture and Ideology - Ilija Milosavljević Kolarac Foundation, Belgrade, Serbia, 28-29 Sept 2012
Duration: 28 Sept 2012 → …


ConferenceThe International Conference Architecture and Ideology
Period28/09/12 → …

Bibliographical note

© 2012 The author


  • Manfredo Tafuri
  • critique of ideology
  • plan
  • Workerism
  • economic theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Architecture as the Ideology of the Plan: Revisiting Manfredo Tafuri's Critique of Ideology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this