The Architecture of European Integration
A fonctionnaire inspects a maquette of the Berlaymont, the headquarters of the European Commission, late-1960s (Source: Ministère des Travaux Publics de Belgique)
6:00-8:00 pm


The Architecture of European Integration

Sebastiano Fabbrini

Although the architectural discourse is often regarded as too Eurocentric and politicized, we have largely ignored the political dynamic that, more than any other, has been transforming the European archipelago over the past seventy years: the process of European integration. At the same time, the discourse on European integration has rarely engaged with architectural dynamics, limiting itself to the use of metaphors, such as the common European house. In the framework of the research project The Architecture of European Integration, Sebastiano Fabbrini has been trying to bridge this gap, exploring how architecture responded as well as contributed to the process of nation-unbuilding and the construction of a supranational order in Europe after World War II. This lecture will focus on the tensions associated with the need to situate this new form of power in space and house the European institutions at the beginning of this process, tracing two antithetical approaches: on one hand, the un­planned buildings that marked the spontaneous entrenchment of Brus­sels as the primary seat of European power; on the other hand, the unbuilt plans for a single Eu­ropean capital on the Franco-German border. Exposing the difficult relation between the attempt to order and the ability to build, these case studies go as far as to question the possibility of architecture in the purview of European integration, while providing a unique opportunity to grasp how things are actually shaped within our complex, supranational system.

Sebastiano Fabbrini is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University Iuav of Venice, where he conducts the research project The Architecture of European Integration. He holds a Ph.D. in architecture from the University of California Los Angeles, where he also worked as a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design. During this time, he also collaborated with the Getty Research Institute and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. He previously studied at the University of Ferrara, the University of California Berkeley and TU Delft. He is the author of the book The State of Architecture: Aldo Rossi and the Tools of Internationalization (2020) and has published in a multitude of journals, including Thresholds, Ardeth and Architectural Histories.

The lecture was part of the lecture series Built Order: Spaces of Power and was a virtual event that took place in English. The lecture was recorded and is available on