the supreme achievement

with contributions by Amid/Cero9, Aristide Antonas, Behemoth, Dogma, Didier Faustino, FORA+ Beth Hughes, MAPOffice, Alex Maymind, Microcities, Miniatura, Philippe Morel, Raumlabor and photos by Antonio Ottomanelli


In 1971, Superstudio published their twelve Ideal Cities, “the supreme achievement of twenty thousand years of civilization, blood, sweat and tears”. After 44 years, CAMPO and Black Square ask twelve groups of architects to give their own answer to the original brief. 

The Superstudio piece was less about imagining the Future than it was about re-imagining Architecture as a form of knowledge and as a platform for thinking rather than mere practice. 
The format itself – one image and one text for each of the twelve cities –implies a project of an Archetype rather than a pragmatic solution to a problem. In fact, these visions of ‘supreme achievement’ are not answers, but open questions. 

Perfect and dystopian urban mechanisms where any incoherence is eliminated, they challenge the idea that space and bodily presence might not matter anymore in the future, while at the same time they provide an ironic commentary on the architect’s curse: that we have to be projective and optimistic by default, even (or maybe especially) when civilization seems in fact to have come to an end. 

While Superstudio's response was intentionally dystopian, there might be other ways to interpret today the same brief. We still need architecture to put forward not only ideas for new forms of life, but also new possibilities for our political imagination to go beyond the current conventional models.



Dogma team: Pier Vittorio Aureli & Martino Tattara with Luciano Aletta and Ezio Melchiorre

Microcities team: Mariabruna Fabrizi & Fosco Lucarelli with Cristina Crippa, Francesca Guidoni, Giacomo Nanni and Raffaele Alberto Ventura