Like most things in today’s society architecture has a disguised link to politics and is believed to be “two separate domains of activities” according to Albena Yaneva. It is like the elephant in the room that everyone knows is there yet does not entice one’s curiosity enough to address and explore it to its full potential in order to understand its significance. Architectural manifestos are to some extent a deliberate obscurity that could help us to uncover that camouflage and draws a parallel between these two worlds. According to the Oxford dictionary, a manifesto is described as “a public declaration of policy and aims” that is especially known to be used by politicians before the election to unite and convince people to vote for them. As one of the founding fathers of the Dada art movement, Tristan Tzara, explain; that a manifesto’s aim is to be a cure for all of the impurity found within a certain society. In order for this device to be effective, successful and useful it “may be pleasant, and good-natured, it’s always right, it’s strong, vigorous and logical”. In order for an architectural manifesto to truly be an effective and useful tool for architects, it must be persuasive, concise and concise, which in turn help the targeted audience, to utilise and practice in their work. This essay will be looking at how architecture and politics have shaped past manifestos that over time became a useful and effective tool in an architect’s pencil case and to some extent were integral for the fabrication of their designs. It will focus on the ‘Manifesto of Futurism Architecture’ that was published 1914, by Italian architect Antonia Sant’Elia and was edited by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, in order to understand how useful of a tool a manifesto is.With the publication of the ‘Manifesto of Futurism’ by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909, it was evident that Italy was headed in a different direction. The ‘Unification process’ of the Kingdom of Italy proved a failure because of the major challenge of integrating the political system of all the states. This provoked a political instability due to the social differences between the South and the North. The lackluster domestic politics enabled politicians such as General Gabriele D’Annunzio to gain popularity and use their revolutionary futurist ideas to call upon the youth to reshape Classical Italy. Inspired by the ‘Manifesto of Futurism’ architect Antonia Sant’Elia wrote the ‘Manifesto of Futurist Architecture’ in order to help Italy move into its new Nationalistic era. Sant’Elia describes the need for “reappearance of forms, the multiplying of machinery” and “the speed of communications” to keep up with the progression of technology as well as the world itself. This was a positive step from the Northern Italian population who wanted to capitalise on the defects of the political situation in their country to unite it and get rid of the Italians that were “so far from the ideas of progress and civilization” that Futurists had in mind. The political situation in Italy brought about the need for a reform that would give birth to the future Nationalist and Fascist regimes who would later dominate the next 4 decades of Italy’s political scene. Therefore, it could be argued that from a political lackluster came a new wave of enthusiasm and creativity that would, in turn, create a manifesto that would steer the country to a political direction. Sant’Elia “Manifesto of Futurist Architecture” was an attack on the outdated principles of architecture. In his manifesto, he states that:”No architecture has existed since 1700. A moronic mixture of the most various stylistic elements used to mask the skeletons of modern houses is called modern architecture … Architecture now makes a break with tradition. It must perforce make a fresh start. … The decorative must be abolished.”He was not the first architect to realise this. Other famous intellectuals of the profession also argued that there has not been a distinct new style of architecture between 1750 to 1870. Both Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1841 and Thomas Leverton Donaldson in 1847 questioned whether the 19th century had a palpable architecture that represents their era. This manifesto is somewhat overlooked for its influence and importance to the modern period of architecture. It questioned foundations of every architect’s education and the “Historicisation” of architecture, a term used by Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlege to describe the constant recycling and mixture of architectural elements to create a so-called new architectural style. Therefore, to some extent, the context that Sant’Elia’s manifesto was born from made a lot of sense. He wanted to create a framework that would help future architects to challenge the classical style of Italy at the time and develop a new architectural language. It would contain the use of materials such as “concrete, glass and steel”. This suggests that Sant’Elia knowing the problem with Historicisation wanted his abstract to set a precedent that moved away from revivalist architecture. He knew full well that this creation would never be as beautiful as the “ornamented architecture” he fought against. Although he believed that the true aesthetic of his buildings would come from the “innate beauty of its lines and relief” conceding to the fact that it would become “extraordinarily “ugly” in its mechanical simplicity”. Consequently, the context of the manifesto is what makes it a useful tool for architects as it gives them a way out of being conventional architects and gives them a new direction where they could create new designs that are less traditional.One of his proclamations in Sant’Elia’s manifesto stated that “Things will endure less than us. Every generation must build its own city.”, which is a very powerful statement that should inspire any architect. By this, he means that architects have endless opportunities and creativity that should result in a creation of their own style. The word “must” really emphasises this. It is as if they don’t have a choice other than making new designs that are not reminiscent of any other past architecture. Moreover, Sant’Elia again used the auxiliary verb “must” as a compulsion that “architecture now makes a break with tradition. It must perforce make a fresh start” as well as “the decorative must be abolished”. It becomes evident that in his choice of words is intense and forceful in order to intimidate the reader into accepting his points. This is a technique that is useful as it sets a very strict tone within the manifesto. This dictatorial touch forces the reader to oblige to the “proclaims” and not challenge Sant’Elia’s beliefs. This makes the manifesto even more useful as it gives a very rigid guideline as to what is expected of the architect to create at the time. This does not come as surprise as Futurists were fond of aggression, violence and hated the democracy. His manifesto was the message that stood beside his drawing of La Citta Nuova (fig. 1), of what he expected Milan to have become by the year of 2000, that he portrayed at the 1914 Nuove Tendenze group exhibition. It was a powerful tool that marks the beginning of futurist architecture, it became like the benchmark for architects to look at and get inspired and create their designs from it. Ashley Gardini has concluded Sant’Elia’s “La Citta Nuova” series made him into “the figurehead of Futurist architecture”. From his legacy came buildings such as his came designs such as the Hong Kong skyline, the classical 1927 film Metropolis, the 1982 blockbuster Blade Runner and probably the most famous Le Corbusier’s unrealised Ville Radieuse or Radiant City. It is evident that many architects and designer drew from the Sant’Elia’s ‘Manifesto of Futurist Architecture’ as his dialogue was clear to be as far away as possible from the “traditional” architecture that was so prominent before the turn of the 19th Century. Moreover, the manifesto also influenced the architectural styles of other countries. For example, Russian Constructivism was an architectural movement within Soviet Russia that stemmed from Russian Futurism, which was born out the Italian Futurist movement in 1913 and was highly influenced by it. This is why it was a useful tool for architects because they used the ideas of “geometry, kinetic and fast-paced” in order to create their own outlook of architecture and did this by the influence of Antonia Sant’Elia’s ‘Manifesto of Futurism Architecture’. Therefore, it can be determined that Sant’Elia’s manifesto is a useful tool for architects. This is because it has a clear set of guidelines that architects need to follow that are understandable, it helped create amazing projects such as Le Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse and helped architecture to start distancing itself from the Historicisation letting architects have more freedom and creativity in the field.Figure 1. Perspective drawing from La Città Nuova by Sant’Elia, 1914.On the other hand what is interesting to remember is that Sant’Elia’s ‘Manifesto of Futurist Architecture’ was not actually fully written by the architect. Instead after the Nuove Tendenze group exhibition, Sant’Elia was approached by the creator of futurism Filippo Tommaso Marinetti who suggested to amend some of Sant’Elia’s Messaggio, which was the abstract that accompanied his work at the exhibition. It is also important to remember that Sant’Elia never actually had a piece of architecture that was constructed, all of his work was conceptual and more of a fantasy. From this, we could suggest that his manifesto may have been useful for him to realise what his goal actually was and what sort of design he wanted to pursue, rather than saying it was useful for all architects. Many scholars believe that there was no an architecture of a Futurist-style has ever truly existed in Italy and that failed in their attempt to create a legacy and cohesive architectural program. Making us question the usefulness of the manifesto as to how effective it was for architects to use that a source of guidance at the time to produce new architecture. It may have been more useful in the long-term as previously discussed in the essay but we could question the short-term success of the manifesto. Even though Futurist architecture was largely cam in the form of furniture, interior design and temporary pavilions or buildings used to showcase their work. It didn’t gather as much traction as expected. Examples of such work came in the shape of table and chairs specially designed for the 1919 La Casa d’Arte Italiana and the 1928 Esposizione di Torino Futurist Pavilion designed by Enrico Prampolini. Here we can raise a question of whether or not a manifesto is an architects guide or a political statement? Marinetti used Sant’Elia’s to promoted his architectural intent of avoiding Historicisation to create a close link between the raising Fascist government of Mussolini and Futurists. It is evident that Marinetti’s intentions were purely political as during the 1921 ceremony, to celebrate Sant’Elia’s death at the hands of WWI in Como, fellow Futurist and fascist Luigi Russolo praised the invention of the superior city that Sant’Elia developed through the “La Citta Nuova” series as well as receiving a wreath upon his coffin from the Squadra d’Azione Fascista Antonio Sant’Elia. Additionally, after the death of, his architecture puppet, Sant’Elia; Marinetti turned his attention to a young Italian architect, by the name of Virgilio Marchi, in order to renew his efforts to progress the Futurist architecture regime. Marinetti’s mentor Marchi became more and more involved in the Futurist regime and even published a new ‘Manifesto of Futurist Architecture’ in 1920 which followed the same sort of structure as a typical Futurist manifesto. This suggests Marinetti’s influence can be felt in the manifesto’s dialect and believes. It could be suggested that the only reason why he took the influence of Sant’Elia to create a political backing from the futurists, and used them as propaganda and link them to the fascist movement. Consequently, creating a deliberate obscurity that could help camouflage this parallel between the two worlds. It could be deemed as not being as useful for architects as a tool they could use for their architecture. This is because it is more useful for the politicians who use the influence of the manifesto to appeal to more people for support ultimately forgetting about the goal of changing architecture. Moreover, using it as a tool to embed their ideologies into literature as propaganda for what they could achieve if they came to power.Another reason why Sant’Elia may be deemed as not so useful for architects because his vision was soon altered as mentioned by Marchi who transformed the manifesto as well as Sant’Elia’s great invention of the La Citta Nuova and drafted the plans for La Citta Fantastica. Sant’Elia’s influence was not long lasting and it was evident in the work of his successor Marchi who tried to stick to the futuristic way of design yet to fall into the trap of ‘Historicisation’. This was due to the fact that when he was commissioned to transform the lower ground of the Palazzo Titoni into the Teatro degli Indipendenti he failed to repeat his preachings in practice. Instead of using his Futuristic beliefs he reverted to using Baroque-style balconies with decorations on every found surface of the theatre. The space reminded him of the great Giovanni Battista Piranesi and that’s what stopped him from inducing his “progressive” Futuristic ideas into the design. It could also be the fact that his client, Anton Giulia Bragaglia, was a cultural impresario and would have definitely reject the prospect of creating a Futurist interior for the Teatro degli Indipendenti.Did Sant’Elia actually revolutionise architecture and got rid of classical architecture in his work? The answer is simply no. There is a parallel between pre 20th-Century modernist architecture and the futurist architecture. The use of the lines and geometry is one very important aspect of that connection. Sant’Elia mentions the fact that he believes that “innate beauty of its lines and relief” would make his buildings “rich”. It is interesting that he used this word to describe his proposed revolutionary idea. It could be suggested that the beauty of classical architecture doesn’t actually come from the ornaments used in it but it is actually the “line” that makes the building as impressive as it is. Even though many Ancient Greek and Roman buildings elude from using straight lines, opting to use slightly curved linear geometries. This is only to trick one’s eye into an optical illusion that makes those geometries look straight under the influence of perspective. Even though Sant’Elia wanted to get rid of the ornaments in architecture he still emphasized the importance of lines and geometries. It is regarded by Morgan Meis that the Futurists ran into a problem and discovered that they will be pulled back into the history and tradition of Italy. Yes, they were trying to break the norms of society and revolutionise the world with the use of the machine. They did declare a new era where violence, speed, and youth. One of the examples that could be given for this is the artworks of Futurist Ivo Pannaggi were reminiscent of the work of Expressionists such as Cezanne, especially his paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire, and early Renaissance artist Paolo Uccello. This could also be linked to the fact that Sant’Elia also tried to reform architecture but ultimately failed due to the constraints of the economy and the fact that he used certain fundamental beliefs of classical architecture in the use of geometry. However, Morgan goes on to say that:”Futurists discovered was that once you’ve expressed enthusiasm in response to war and the machine age, you can go about repairing your civilization’s ties to the past under the protection of that enthusiasm.”At the time of the publication of ‘Manifesto of Futurist Architecture’ in 1914, it was hard for architects to create architecture especially due to the WWI due to lack of funding and creative force as they were all conscripted to the army. This could be part of the reason for the failings of the manifesto and why it was not so useful for the architects at the time. Therefore, it can be concluded that the manifesto is not as useful as it looks on the surface as it failed to create a platform for Italian architects to build in the early 1900s, it was used more as a political tool my Marinetti to enhance the support for the fascist party and it also to some extent suffered from ‘Historicisation’ as seen from the work of Marchi. In conclusion, after looking at the Sant’Elia’s ‘Manifesto of Futurism Architecture’ it is evident that there is a clear link between architecture and politics. Such a political event as the ‘Futurist manifesto’ by Marinetti could influence architects into creating their response to the proposed direction of the manifesto. However, this relationship could hinder the usefulness and effectiveness of an architectural manifesto as politicians could use the opportunity of having a movement of artists to manipulate them into creating political propaganda used as a campaign, as seen from Marinetti’s involvement in the Futurist movement. On the other hand, it is evident that the ‘Manifesto of Futurism Architecture’ was actually very influential creating movements such as the Russian Constructivist Architecture and inspiring projects such as the Blade Runner film which would become very influential in popular culture for its use of architecture. Moreover, it questioned foundations of every architect’s education and encouraged architects to take a step into the unknown, to create new exciting architecture that has not been seen before. It did not accommodate to the fact that the architecture would be seen as too radical by many and thus would not be built as seen from the absence of Futurist architectural monuments. Overall, the manifesto proved to be less useful to architects in the short term as people were not prepared to conform to such radical ideas with social and financial pressure, but in the long-term its legacy helped create a variety of new architecture that stemmed from architects being able to get out of the conventional practice of architecture and create new designs that are less traditional.