The celebrated Italian architect, architectural historian, critic and politician, Bruno Zevi, died last Sunday in Rome aged 81, after a bout of influenza. A world figure, the energetic and indefatigable Zevi, was best known for Towards an Organic Architecture, which looked at the variety of traditions within Modernism.
Born in Rome in 1918, he attended the University of Rome School of Architecture before enrolling at the aa. He went on to Harvard to complete a masters course under Walter Gropius. In 1945 he became the co-editor of Metron, worked for the us Information Service in Rome and became director of town planning for the first post-war Italian democratic government. In the years following, he taught architecture at Venice and Rome, becoming in 1955 architectural correspondent for the news magazine L'Expresso and founder editor ofL' Architettura - Cronache e Storia. In 1963 Zevi was appointed to the History of Architecture chair at Rome University and made an Honourary riba Fellow.
In the 1980s Zevi immersed himself in Italian politics as a president for the Radical Party. He hoped for a world transformed by a socially responsible architecture. For him, democracy and architecture were inextricably linked, just as they were for Frank Lloyd Wright, his lifetime master.