Bad Strategy and Dark Matter. Reframing Italian Architectural Debate on the Post-Pandemic


  • Carlo Deregibus Politecnico di Torino



The paper investigates into the inability of Italian architectural debate to produce sensible effects on the society – architects have not been involved in any task forces, nor their proposals have been taken in account for the norms for the post-pandemic. Our hypothesis is that the suggestions emerging from the debate are much vision-oriented, but are so weak from a strategic point of view that they could even be seen as an example of bad strategy – as defined by Richard Rumelt.

In the first part, through an extensive survey on various sources (e.g., interviews and video-messages on leading newspapers, social media and TV broadcasts; debates on architectural journals and web forums; official proposals and manifestoes by professional associations), the article analyses and reframes the Italian architectural debate, for highlighting and defining its strategic weakness. The second part explains the main reasons for this weakness, showing that such inefficacy comes from the inability to deal with what Dan Hill called dark matter, i.e. the network of organisations, culture, bureaucracy and norms. The final part hints at a different perspective on architectural design for better dealing with the dark matter, thus giving the possibility of changing the generic proposals into strategic ones.

Author Biography

Carlo Deregibus, Politecnico di Torino

Department of Architecture and Design [DAD]






Reflections on the design processes adopted in response to the pandemic crisis