Villa as Hegemonic Architecture

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* Book: The villa as hegemonic architecture. Reinhard Bentmann and Michael Müller. Humanities Press, 1992



By Franz Nahrada:

"Venice which was a maritime traders nation, vigourously engaged in land cultivation when it lost its sea power. The term "Villegiatura" was coined for the rediscovery of the hinterland, a cultural revolution into beauty and thriving cultural landscapes, and serves as a reference model for a global change nowadays.

Rather than the further growth of already unliveable cities, we foresee the emergence of more and more inside-looking communities, who - with the help of decentralizing technologies - build their own self-sustaining microcosms. They seek to combine the best and most suitable buildings blocks available in the shared knowledge and experiences of humanity across the continents and ages. This turns into new experience for others. A fractal, holotopic world is emerging within the broad planetary land mass, heralded by the solar revolution, with more and more places that become the passion of people because their potential goes far beyond traditional boundaries. Within the virtual presence of the whole world and their cascading "paying forward" support, each place can overcome many of its limitations by climate, geography and historical factors. Global cultures offer an incredible array of choices for different development models, allowing people to develop collective individualities. It is in the best interest of all to make this a universal and inclusive development pathway. By filling needs of others, we enhance their capacities to contribute." (Commoning email list, April 2013)


1. The Dream of the Countryside: The Flight from Venice in the Sixteenth Century 1

2. The Economic Background of Migration from the City 6

3. The Political Basis for the Villeggiatura and the Settlement of Land in the Terraferma 11

4. The Settlement of the Countryside and the Idealization of Agriculture as the Economic and Ideological Foundation of the Villeggiatura 14

5. Alvise Cornaro as Symbolic Figure 18

6. The Relationship between the City and the Country as a Conflict of Authority: The Social and Psychological Background of the Villeggiatura 21

7. The Social and Religious Authority Principle 25

8. Andrea Palladio: The Aesthetic Rationalization of "Irrational Order" in the Countryside 27

9. "Roma qvanta fvit ipsa rvina docet." The Ideal Ruins: Landscape as a Decoration for the Villa 37

10. Architectural and Social Ideal: The Ideal State, the Ideal City, the Ideal Villa, the Villa as Social Model 50

11. The Villa as "Negative Utopia": History as Ideology in the Works of Francesco Colonna, Niccolo Machiavelli, and Tommaso Campanella 59

12. The Villa as "Earthly Paradise" in the Writings of Francesco Petrarch and Antonio Francesco Doni 69

13. A Fresco in the Villa Maser 85

14. Palladianism and Historicism 90

15. The Villa Ideal as Ideology: The Sito Commodo of the Villa as Luogo Privilegiato; the Villa as Patrician Legitimation 94

16. The Dream of the Country in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Spengler, Tonnies, Riehl, and the Grunderzeit Villa 114

17. Theodor Fontane's "Villa Treibel" 122

18. The Dream of the Countryside as a Timeless Ideology 124

19. Satellite Town and Penthouse 131

20. Further Reflections on the Villa (1971) 139