Antonio Sant’Elia Sant’Elia (1888-1916) is thought to be the author of the “Manifesto of Futurist Architecture”, published in Milan in 1914.
The historical document – somewhat influenced by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s declamatory emphasis – exalted “the architecture of calculation, of audacious temerity and of simplicity; […] of reinforced concrete, of steel, glass”; it celebrated the emotional power of oblique and elliptical lines, able to express “an emotive power a thousand times stronger than perpendiculars and horizontals”; it encouraged architects to seek constructive inspiration in “the utterly new mechanical world we have created”; and urged them to “invent and rebuild the Futurist city like an immense and tumultuous shipyard, agile, mobile and dynamic in every detail; and the Futurist house must be like a gigantic machine.”
Sant’Elia, born in Como, started imagining his New City in 1913. It was meant to represent the urban evolution of modernity, bringing new living quarters into a triumph of industrial civilization and technological innovation.
He translated his ideas into a series of drawings known as “architecture dynamisms”, in which pyramids, buttresses, towers, churches, monumental factories and stepped palaces – complete with external elevators and surrounded by multilevel streets – represent different facets of his ideal metropolis of the future.