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EXCHANGE SEMESTER at The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

HTC Studio Angelika Schnell | Eva Sommeregger Fall 2012-2013

ANALYZING THE DESIGN In 1969, Superstudio created the Continuous Monument series as a criticism to the consumerism culture, warning the dangers of a world rendered uniform by technology, wiping out traces of local culture. Superstudio used the series of realistic looking photo collages to raise awareness about where the world is heading. The ambiguity of the images played a large role in its success, where everyone can see their own thoughts reflected on the clean surface, leading to a paradox between utopia and dystopia.

“New New York� El Monumento continuo Graz 1969 Photo-montage

The storyboard for “The Continuous Monuments� 1971 MoMA, New York In the storyboard, Superstudio presented a series of monumental architecture to prove that all of them follow some fundamental rules of geometry, proportion and cosmic relationship. These monuments basically belong to two categories, one based on elementary geometric forms (the Kaaba, the pyramids) another one based on linear structures (the Great Wall, the superhighways). This geometry finally in NNY, somehow, can be seen as the combination of these two categories.


there’s a void inside the structure which is filled with skyscrapers. According to Superstudio “The plot is preserved in memory of a time when cities were built with no single plan.” The huge white object and the surviving part of the cities, both are becoming monument. The two seems to mirror each other, reflect each other and there would be a quite subtle relationship of inside and outside.


From the construction lines, Superstudio used perspective view with a wide-angle. The image is even deformed a little bit; it feels like a fish-eye lens in a bird-eye view. In this way, Superstudio emphasized the continuity of the structure, its indifferences toward the surroundings or any obstacles, it can penetrates every corner of the world, embrace the planet.


This would allow for a truly democratic human experience: because every point on the grid is identical, no place is better than any other. But on the other hand, it’s warning of the horrors architecture had in store with its scientific methods for perpetuating standard models worldwide. “The square block is the first and ultimate act in the history of ideas in architecture. a closed immobile object that leads nowhere but to itself and to the use of reason.” By Superstudio


Refer to 1972 project: Fundamental Acts/ Five stories: Life, Education, Ceremony, Love, Death It’s trying to build contact between architecture and life. Life itself rather than architecture was to serve as the starting point. Freedom and equality is deeply rooted in Italian youth culture at that time: enthusiasm for the social and critical theories of Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels


Cities like New York constitute a didactic example of the functional utilization of territory through a Cartesian grid: the Manhattan peninsula has vanished under the unifying action of induced value. Why the storyboards end up at New York City? Is it because the city is swallowed by consumerism through products, ads and media?


It reminds us of the megastructure, which is the big issue in 1960s, from Yona Friedman's, Archigram to Japanese metabolists. In their cases, the out-of-scale is normal, is a way of life. Is this over-sized structure an implicit criticism towards their contemporaries?

It exists in two worlds simultaneously, both as a critique and satire as well as the first tentative step of a utopian vision. This dichotomy between the images of hell and utopia, negativity and positivity, is what generates the ambiguity within the project and also within the image. Where there is nothing, everything is possible.

BUILDING THE DESIGN Is it possible to describe the architectural design process in the 20th century as a certain kind of general cultural or social practice? Should we see the conceptual design visuals of the 20th and 21st century rather as part of information design than of architecturedesign? Is contemporary architecture’s understanding of creativity typical late-captalist productivity? Can architectural design- as a kind of production of knowledge be unferstood as research itself?

Re-Interpretation Version 1

Re-Interpretation Version 2

When we are seeing this project in the 21st century, over 40 years since its creation, we asked ourselves what has changed in thinking over the last half century. To some extent, Superstudio’s reality became reality – consumerism, and more importantly, globalization, is dominating the world. It is no longer a future prediction or vision, globalization has happened at a rapid pace, and most places of the world have been rendered uniform by consumerism to a certain extent. Large corporations have claimed a dominant position throughout the globe. No matter if you’re in Europe, Asia, or America, the same brands, products, and companies, traces are omnipresent. Commercialization of cities meant that the focus has turned from the vernacular to the international. Thus, in our recreation of Superstudio’s famous photo collages, we criticize the fact that consumerism is the focal point of the 21st century world. The consumerist culture crosses over the globalized landscape ruthlessly just as Superstudio suggested what technology would do half a century ago.

Re-Interpretation Version 3

3D COLLAGE background

“The New Continuous Monument”



Unlike superstudio’s Continuous monument series, which consisted of collaged images of one single city at a time, we chose to represent the background as a collage of multiple cities of different continents of the world as a comment on the globalized world, linking all the places that are geographically far apart but closely connected in today’s world. These places are rendered with a dull colour, since they have already lost their local flair amidst the ever-present global companies.

Existing old-world monuments of the new cityscape are encased by the logo monster. They have also lost their original meaning and culture due to commercialization. They are reduced to objects that have high commercial value due to tourism, rather than being the spiritual centres that they once were.

The New Continuous Monument is a strip of megastructure running through the middle of the globalized city. The surface is no longer a reflection of the sky as Superstudio envisioned it, in the contrary, it is covered with the logos of international brands and companies. With the monument being clearly visible over the city, it will undoubtedly offer valuable business opportunity and taken over by the most powerful companies of the world. The New Continuous Monument is the only true monument left in the 21st century world. It is where the most vibrant activities happen, from design to marketing to shopping. It is inseparable from people’s lives, no matter for work or for leisure, we cannot escape from these global companies. We are attracted to this Continuous Monument, performing activities, for example, shopping, like rituals.

Following Superstudio’s apparitions of creating the Continuous monument, different openings are made on the New Continuous Monument in respect to the urban context, large span for natural landscape, the rhythm of opengings in town and large holes for bunches of skyscrapers

anonymous environment

encased monuments

“The New Continuous Monuments”

reaction from nature to city






Freedom of movement for workers in European countries


Toyota Production System was in development



Air travel increases following the introduction of the microchip in 1971.




The World Wide Web is introduced by Tim Berners-Lee




The Monument to be Continued

The Continuous Monument, An Architectural Model For Total Urbanisation



First container ships with a capacity of more than 3,000 TEU were completed





China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)


The opening up of the USSR and the start of disengagement movements from the Soviet Union

This recreation of Superstudio’s Continuous Monument is intended to be a reflection of today’s world, globalized and commercialized. It is up to you to decide consumerism dominating the world is a good thing or not. Consumerism and globalization has liberated thoughts and created a lot of new opportunities, but on the other hand also contributed to blandness of losing local culture. Like Superstudio’s Continuous Monument image, our recreated image is also a paradox in itself, which can be seen optimistically as utopia or negatively as dystopia.

Portfolio_Fall 2012-2013  
Portfolio_Fall 2012-2013  

Studio work of Exchange semester in The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.