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Histories of Postwar Architecture (HPA) (Italie)

Texte intégral

Présentation de la revue

Année de création : 2017.

Institution porteuse : département d’architecture, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna.

Éditeur : département d’architecture de l’Université de Bologne.

Langue : anglais.

Disciplines/thématiques : architecture, urbanisme de la seconde moitié du XXe siècle (articles sans restriction géographique, méthodologique, historiographique ou disciplinaire).
Chaque numéro est thématique.

Objectifs : diffusion d’articles en histoire et théorie. Chaque numéro est porté par des rédacteurs en chef invités.

Lectorat : milieu académique.

Système d’évaluation : évaluation en double aveugle par les pairs lorsque les articles sont reçus suite aux appels à articles. Non expertisés lorsque les auteurs sont invités à participer. Le journal est référencé.

Périodicité : 2 numéros par an.

Mode de publication : numérique.

Site internet :​

Questionnaire filled up by Giovanni Leoni, Editor-In-Chief

The Journal Governance and Committees’ composition

What is the percentage of members holding a PhD on the editorial board?

90 %.

Is there a reading committee? Who participates in it?

HPA is an open-access, double-blind, peer-reviewed journal. The panel of reviewers changes according to the expertise required by the issue.

Does the journal develop a special relationship with an academic institution? If so, what is it?

The journal is owned by the Department of Architecture of the University of Bologna and also involves other departments having researchers in history of architecture.

The journal is under the auspices of AISU Italian Association of Urban History and AISTARCH Italian Association of History of Architecture.

Are there debates within the editorial board? If so, how are they made visible in the journal?

The editorial board discusses the general outline of the editorial programme and decides on call topics. Once the editors of the individual issues have been chosen, the discussion is limited to the editors, and the board follows the editorial process.

What are the economical, formal and intellectual relations to the publisher (resources and constraints)?

The journal is funded by the Department of Architecture. Publication and consultation are free of charge. Publication is facilitated by the University of Bologna’s Alma DL Journals system (, which also handles dissemination and ratings of its journals.

Research and Journal

What milieu does the journal plug into? What audience is targeted?

The magazine addresses scholars interested in history of international postwar architecture.

From the journal’s point of view what are the outcomes expected from the research in architecture? (urban planning and landscape architecture)?

The journal seeks a very precise position in the field of architectural research. The intention is to take studies related to postwar architecture out of the field of militant criticism by favouring the perspective of historical analysis. The basic idea is that it is useful to create — or rather to recognize — a discontinuity between the first and second halves of the 20th century by identifying the specific historiographical themes of the latter. As a result, the research promoted by the journal has a distinctly geographical character and an interest in site-specific topics.

According to you is there a difference between research and innovation? If there is, what does it consist of? And what about research and expertise?

In my opinion, historical research in the architectural field has a specific structure that derives on the one hand from the assumption of the theoretical foundations of historical research tout court, with its strict disciplinary rules, and on the other hand from the possibility (sometimes necessary) of comparing different operational areas: design, not just restoration ; the field of cultural heritage ; the role — today perhaps underestimated — of public engagement and social action. Thus in the context of historical research on architecture there is certainly a difference between research — understood as a philological and documentary activity in which the interpretative act is framed in historiographical production — and innovation, if by this term we mean a contribution that is not only disciplinary that history can offer by comparing itself with other knowledge or operational areas related to the physical transformation of places. For this second aspect, I believe that the most important role that the history of architecture can assume today with respect to contributing to innovation processes — without betraying its disciplinary matrix — is to bring precise, in-depth knowledge of the places examined within the scope of political action on the city and the region by using every possible means to make this historical knowledge accessible also to non-specialists or for those who are specialists in other fields of knowledge.

With regard to the relationship between research and expertise, the reflection is twofold. The identity of research in the history of architecture is well defined because it falls within the broader family of history tout court and from this draws a disciplinary expertise with clear, well-established parameters. On the other hand, there are various types of expertise that are not strictly disciplinary that it contributes to, from that of the designer (a topic that involves the great question of teaching the history of architecture to the various types of designers) to the historical skills of the various actors involved in the processes of transformation of built space, to the means and value of dissemination aimed at a non-specialised audience.

How does research content fit into the journal’s plan?

The journal mainly contains research by specialists in the history of architecture.

During the last year, how many researchers contributed to the journal?

The journal is biannual and on average contains about ten articles chosen through a call for papers.

Considering the past ten years, what transformations have occurred concerning the relationships between research and the profession? between research and public discussion?

The dominant creative structure of the early 20th century, that of an inspired and hieratic architect-artist, required the presence of a double, a critic whose work was no less artistic and whose expression was also inspired, necessarily without scientific foundation because his/her authority was based on absoluteness, on the absence of constraints. The symbiosis between an architect-artist who stands out for his/her personality and a critic who, endowed with equal personality, certifies the other’s value is today broken and outdated and has generated new roles. On the one hand, the architect-curator — of buildings, parts of cities, cultural projects or commercial and real estate brands — who is simultaneously author and critic, for whom the built work, its material quality, is a secondary impact compared to the cultural or simply communicative design. On the other hand, the muted architect, who refuses both roles and rejects (or hides, or reinvents) an intellectual profile, entrusting everything to the built work, its collective dimension, its presence and effectiveness. And, of course, varying combinations of the two extremes. This new condition, on the one hand radically redefines the role of criticism with respect to the world of the profession, on the other hand I believe it offers history new opportunities to be able to play an important role (and perhaps new roles) in the public debate relating to the transformation of the built environment.

How do you select peer-review experts? How do you deal with peer reviewed assessments and disclose them to the authors? (Problems and anecdotes)

HPA dedicates each issue and corresponding call to a specific topic and thus chooses reviewers for each issue based on their specialised expertise on the subject. The double-blind review process is strictly defined by the Alma DL Journal IT structure and is designed for national and international ratings.

What is the part played by the lay out management? (Text/image, typography, cover-front)?

The magazine has two graphic and design editors (a senior who is entrusted with the graphic design of the journal and its revisions, and a junior who is entrusted with the layout of the individual issues).

The Journal is digital but ready for printing.

Editor-in-Chief’s Statement

What kind of journal did you have in mind when the journal was launched or when you were appointed Editor-in-chief and has it evolved?

The cultural project underlying HPA concerns “discussion”, discussions about the late 20th century. The issues that justify this chronological framing can be summarised in three terms: militancy, criticism, historiography.

In the field of architecture, militancy is the scarlet letter of the contemporary historian. The possible fault — and the relative presumed methodological impoverishment — lies not so much in the narrowness of the time difference with respect to the object of study (except for those who naively suppose that chronological proximity simplifies the task and impoverishes the methodology of the historian) as in the possible militant nature of research applied to events that still claim to be topical. À powerful and successful narrative of continuity between the innovation that took place in architecture at the beginning of the 20th century and the field of reflection and action of the discipline throughout the entire century and to date has also dominated the historiographical production that has mainly engaged in the analysis — even critical and problematic — of the Modern Movement in its variants and revisions and its protagonists and heirs. Guidelines of this study: the artistic personality, thus the languages of the protagonists and the networks of international elites formed by them. The sense of a heroic, radical refounding of the discipline at the beginning of the 20th century, led by masters and still active today as a matrix of operations, albeit in the form of a perennial critical review, seems to be able to subjugate historical narration, making it ancillary to the project of architectural Modernity. I think there is no doubt that if one is interested not in touching up or repainting the Modern architectural canvas in one’s own style, but rather in identifying the tears, the cuts that, like in a painting by Fontana, show what has been and what is beyond this dominant representation, the latter half of the 20th century offers specific occasions if not urgencies of historiographical enrichment. Occasions that remove the risk of militancy (or update its objectives, if you prefer) but that discount their extraneousness to the framework already outlined with risks of marginality and invisibility. To cite a topic that is not subtle among the many possibilities: all the studies of what is “local” and not included — sometimes not includable — in major historiographical series because it is functional only to a specific right or simple desire of historical knowledge. The issue of the new relationship between criticism and history was already touched on above.

The exercise of contempt that research on the late 20th century allows us to carry out with respect to militancy and criticism — the lifting of historiography from those tasks even for topics that are closest to us chronologically — can be the act of opening the way for historiographical topics that have escaped the dominant narrative or that have been removed from it.

What journals in the field of architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture do you read regularly? Occasionally? What journal do you read outside the field?

Rather than following specific publications, I follow the topics that interest me regardless of where they are published. I don’t consistently follow journals outside the field of architecture, preferring instead to read books.


Do you have remarks or suggestions in relation to the call for papers?

The call seems to me to be well structured and promises to aid in reconstructing an area of editorial production that is certainly lacking. I don't have any additional suggestions.

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« Histories of Postwar Architecture (HPA) (Italie) »Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale urbaine et paysagère [En ligne], Matériaux de la recherche, mis en ligne le 01 mars 2022, consulté le 20 août 2022. URL : ; DOI :

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