• Terra Infecta
    Andrea Bagnato

A man wearing mosquito face protection at the national antimalarial school, c. 1920, Nettuno, Italy. Courtesy of Wellcome Library, London.

The increase in infectious disease events seen in the past twenty years—from Ebola to Zika—is rarely discussed as a spatial problem. Yet, not only is there a strong correlation between epidemics and the patterns of global urbanization and resource extraction; but some of the worst pandemics (such as HIV) originated at the same time as hygiene was becoming a main concern for urban planners. Terra Infecta is a research on such contradictory relationship between microbes and modernity. It draws in particular on the history of malaria eradication in Italy (1880–1950). The project is a visual archive documenting the different phases of the eradication efforts—the early medicalization, the Fascist projects of land reclamation and new town development, and DDT disinfection backed by the US. Through this case study, the project looks at architecture as part of a broader political agenda of environmental, urban, and social transformation.

Andrea Bagnato practiced architecture before focusing on research and book editing. He worked on the books Forensis (Sternberg Press, 2014), SQM: The Quantified Home (Lars Müller Publishers, 2014), and more recently A Moving Border: Alpine Cartographies of Climate Change (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City/ZKM, 2019). He was part of the curatorial team of the first Chicago Architecture Biennial, and later worked with Kuehn Malvezzi and Tomás Saraceno in Berlin. He teaches history and theory of architecture at Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, and at the Architectural Association in London.