Vol. 20 No. 2 (2023): Time

A proposal for an ideal life: Domestic architecture and social organization in Filarete’s Libro Architettonico

Merve Aksoy Oral
Istanbul Kültür University

Published 2023-07-31


  • Architectural treatises,
  • Domestic architecture,
  • Filarete,
  • Renaissance,
  • Social stratification

How to Cite

Aksoy Oral, M. (2023). A proposal for an ideal life: Domestic architecture and social organization in Filarete’s Libro Architettonico. A|Z ITU JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE, 20(2), 445–462. https://doi.org/10.58278/0.2023.9


During the Renaissance period, the search for an ideal life, ideal society and ideal individual became the core components of the humanist vision of antiquity. Italian Renaissance period architects pursued their search for the "ideal city", which was the clear representation of an ideal life, both in theoretical narratives and in architectural practice. Antonio di Pietro Averlino, known as Filarete (c.1400-69) created the ideal city “Sforzinda” dedicated to his long-term patron, the Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza (1401-66), in his treatise written between 1461-64.

Firstly, the study focuses on the ideal city concept manifested both in the theoretical and practical aspects highlighting Filarete’s Sforzinda and its main characteristics in the framework of Renaissance treatises. Filarete’s depiction of ideal architectural orders by their “quality” gives insight into his portrayal of domestic architecture. The study aims to point out analytically how Filarete aligns domestic architecture with the social stratification by qualità and decorum principles adapted by the Renaissance architects following the Vitruvian tradition: the architectural characteristics as well as the decoration of the houses that reflect the social rank of the owners and their role in the society in the context of the 15th century Italy.

Inspired by Antiquity, Filarete’s approach to domestic architecture is thoroughly discussed while taking into consideration the reflection of contemporary Renaissance practices in his designs. The study will seek to re-read Filarete’s treatise through domestic architecture which has the potential to evaluate the social stratification of the Renaissance.