TECHNE 21 (2021): Eteronomia dell'Architettura
Essays and Viewpoint

Art and architecture between autonomy and heteronomy. A theoretical perspective

Raffaella Neri
Dipartimento di Architettura, Ingegneria delle Costruzioni, Ambiente costruito, Politecnico di Milano, Italia
Published March 24, 2021
  • Autonomy,
  • Heteronomy,
  • Art,
  • Intellectuals’ role,
  • Realism
How to Cite
Neri, R. (2021). Art and architecture between autonomy and heteronomy. A theoretical perspective. TECHNE - Journal of Technology for Architecture and Environment, (21), 222-229.


The essay revisits the debate about the autonomy or heteronomy of art in a theoretical perspective. The departure point is the famous controversy between Togliatti and Vittorini about the role of intellectuals and the purpose of art in relation with the positions of Italian architects involved in post-war reconstruction – namely, Ernesto Rogers – their ethical and moral concerns, their civil commitment. Such debate affects architecture in a particular way, given how this art is more directly connected than others with society and reality, with the transformations of the means of production and of technology. After so many years, this debate provides an opportunity for meditation around some key issues for architectural design, such as its civil role and purposes, and the relationships among the disciplines, and between art and technology.


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