Nonviolence and Architecture

Nonviolence and Architecture
Georges Seurat (1882), "Paysage au piquet" [oil on canvas].
I believe that the Buddhist "point of view" can be the best way to read our present – even in architecture – and to better anticipate the near future.

Tommaso Antiga
Udine, Italy
Team members
Tommaso Antiga
Field of work
Architecture, Urban planning, Landscape architecture, Ecology, Research
Project category
Project submitted

I was born on 31 January 1998 in Conegliano, in the Veneto region, Italy. I am an architect and PhD student in architecture at the University of Trieste, in an inter-university course with the University of Udine, university and city where I graduated in June 2022 with a thesis on the theme of death and of its places. I was an intern at the SpaceLab of the University of Udine and I participated in the XIX edition of the Piranesi Prix de Rome at Villa Adriana in Tivoli in 2021, as well as in the Entre Acto 2020 workshop in collaboration with the Universidad de Morón (Buenos Aires , Argentina).
Within my PhD course I am working on the theme and on the relationship between two "figures": the city and the forest. I'm still looking for my way in a rather dense and intricate theme – as is well suited to a forest –, but I am convinced it will continue to be a "complex" theme and vague enough to make me lose my bearings and take unexpected paths and interesting so as to make me think again about what I believe to be true, every time.
On a professional level, I'm trying to learn as much as possible the profession of architect from my father, an architect-builder from other times and from another school, the Venetian one.
On a personal level, I have been attracted to the Eastern world for a long time now, especially the world of Zen Buddhism. If I had to say a book that changed my life I would definitely choose "101 Zen stories" for one big reason: that I hardly ever read before, now I can't help it.
I have also always been a great lover of art and philosophy and, in my spare time, an aspiring writer – even if I believe that architects are among the most boring writers, but like everyone I live on contradictions.

The spark was ignited by a quote by Zygmunt Bauman, who reads: "The postmodern mind opens up to Buddhism with greater fullness than its predecessors" (Bauman, 1992).
"Only the one who has already guessed some of the things expressed here will understand this work," Ludwig Wittgenstein once wrote. Well, not Wittgenstein, but Bauman caused a "resonance" in me, a sort of small illumination – just to open the topic.

At 2023, we are almost 120 years away from the first publication of "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism", a grandiose work in which Max Weber – what he really does, I mean – talks about his present (in this case, the condition by rampant bourgeois industrial capitalism) making his contemporaries wear "Protestant lenses" to better understand and see what surrounds them. Weber tries to better explain his days by means of a metaphor with a world of images, metaphors, customs and traditions: the Protestant one.
Here, today I believe that, if reading Weber is certainly still useful, in some respects (in an optimistic vision that certainly distinguishes me) I believe that we will get a little closer to the truth, in 2023, trying to use "Buddhist lenses". Above all then, the Buddhist metaphor – instead of the Protestant one – I think can work better to try to overcome the current moment of ecological and environmental crisis to which, by continuing to move within the logic that has always guided us, we will hardly be able to give real answer.

Rebecca Solnit often says that "every crisis is also a narrative crisis": I'm trying to tell a new narration, with new "lenses". I'm looking for a new storytelling for a present in crisis.

Here, at this moment, even architecture has to try to be nonviolent – a condition and practice very close to the world of Buddhism -: towards nonviolence, or extinction will occur. And I believe that many recent projects are heading in this direction.