• Terra Infecta
    Andrea Bagnato

Aerial view of Yambuku, the site of the first outbreak of Ebola, 1976, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Courtesy of Public Health Image Library, CDC.

The recent increase in infectious disease events—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, resource extraction, and landscape transformation; but some of the worst infectious diseases (such as HIV) emerged 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 (18801950). The project seeks to construct a visual archive documenting the different phases of the eradication efforts—the liberal-period medicalization, the Fascist projects of land reclamation and new town development, and the Rockefeller Foundation–backed DDT campaign. Through this case study, the project aims to position architectural production within a broader political agenda of environmental, territorial, and social transformation.

Andrea Bagnato practiced architecture before focusing on research and book editing. He assisted in the making of the book Forensis (Sternberg Press, 2014), edited SQM: The Quantified Home (Lars Müller Publishers, 2014) and The State of the Art of Architecture (2018), and was part of the curatorial team of the first Chicago Architecture Biennial. He subsequently worked with Kuehn Malvezzi and Tomás Saraceno in Berlin. Bagnato is currently a lecturer at Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, and is editing, with Studio Folder, a book on the Italian Limes project (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City/ZKM, 2018). He began work on Terra Infecta while at the Centre for Research Architecture in London, and was a 2016 research fellow at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.