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From the 1960s to the 1980s on an international scale, architects studied the recent developments in the field of semiology to seek a way out of the crisis of modern architecture. Bruno Zevi (1918-2000), a leading 20th century Italian architect, historian and critic, proclaimed that the search for a "zero degree of architectural writing" was the only way for architects to overcome this ideological and stylistic impasse. He continued to defend this idea from 1973 to 1997 and borrowed the theory of the degré zéro de l’écriture, also known as "neutral" or "white" writing, from Roland Barthes, a French philosopher and semiologist, who had a major influence throughout the intellectual world during this time. This new form of writing, as envisioned by Roland Barthes, was to be devoid of all external meaning, free of the weight of language and style, and to have the ability to transcend the conflicts embedded in the history of language between popular and literary language. Based on the work of Bruno Zevi, this project aims to investigate the ways in which the notion of a "degree zero" of writing influenced the historiography of modern and postmodern architecture. It will address a gap in the existing literature on the last three decades of Zevi’s career which have received very little attention in comparison to his early work. Of central importance in this phase of his career was his argument for a "degree zero" in architecture - understood as an architecture free of all dogmas and questioning the status quo - in response to the important debate on the conflict between high and low architecture in the second half of the twentieth century.
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• F.R.S.-FNRS et Fonds associés (hors FRIA)