Surfaces of 20th-century façades: reflections on their archaeological awareness

The archaeological approach to the study of elevations is applied here to 20th-century architecture. In particular, post-World War II façades are examined through several case studies. This research uses the method of the archaeology of architecture: the meticulous attention to materials, workmanship, and technological devices, the examination of the socio-economic context, and the analysis of the motivations behind specific choices. These elements contribute to discovering the history of an artefact in a given period of time as completely as possible. The archaeology of architecture has been widely experimented on historical buildings since the 1970s; very rare has been the application to the study of contemporary buildings. The authors, on the basis of the research already started in 2018, at this stage of the study seek to further develop the topic under investigation, also with comparisons on a broader national and international scale. The architectural surfaces of the second half of the 20th century are analyzed here by studying individual components on the façades: the colour and texture of the plaster, any tile, wood, or stone coverings, or the exposed concrete work. The final aim is to develop an overall method of investigation that considers the specificity of the period examined and the possible adaptation of analysis tools that can help in the archaeological study of these contemporary architectures.