<Things need to be ordinary and heroic at the same time>, A. & P. Smithson. This contribution triggers from the conference concept – pragmatismoutópico # utopismopragmático - with the aim of investigating that relationship among the theoretical position and the pragmatism of the reality through the work of Alison and Peter Smithson, in particular looking at their design work of the complex of the Robin Hood Gardens in London, which is currently undergoing a process of radical transformation involving its demolition and replacement with a new highly dense project to take advantage from the higher real estate value. The tension among theoretical reflection and the everyday appears an essential characteristic of the work of the Smithsons. Within the British environment, and then within the enlarged European scene, Alison and Peter Smithson stand out for their radical intellectual position, differentiating themselves from that so strongly concrete, high tech and generally non-conceptual British tradition, and soon becoming some of the most published architects and highly intellectual influential, besides the limited number of realised projects or even successful at the real level. At the same time, the Smithson’s theoretical positions spring from the concreteness of reality: the everyday, the realism and the mass culture represent the main interest and sources of artistic expression for the architects and their friends of the avant-gard pop culture. The dichotomy between the two approaches – the theoretical utopian and the everyday – is therefore the object of this paper. Rather than aiming at finding an answer to the dilemma among the two positions, this paper wants to investigate within that gap, in particular among the theoretical ideas behind the RHG design project and the real dimension of the life within those spaces, also through the debate on the demolition of the complex which divided architects from the real world of the economic processes, among the western culture and those of immigration.
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