Posts Tagged ‘ Architecture ’

Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, Rome, Italy

Approximately ten years ago as a student I had to go to Rome for a briefing at the IBM’s italian headquarters in Rome’s EUR district.
While traveling by taxy to via Cristoforo Colombo I suddenly saw it, I was really surprised because I had never been to EUR, I had not studied history of modern architecture, I didn’t know it … but I had seen it, when, where? I’m going to reveal you … follow me.

It’s Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (Palace of Italian Culture) also known as the Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro (Palace of Italian Culture of Work ) or simply the Colosseo Quadrato (Square Colosseum) and it’s an icon of Fascist architecture.

Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana

It was designed by the architects Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano and constructed between 1938 and 1943. It was inaugurated on 30 November 1940 as the centerpiece of the EUR and continues to be its most iconic building. The structure is also considered one of the most representative examples of Fascist architecture at the EUR.

The design of the “Square Colosseum” was inspired more to celebrate the Colosseum, and the structure was intended by Benito Mussolini as a celebration of the older Roman landmark. Similar to the Colosseum, the palace has a series of superimposed loggias, shown on the façade as six rows of nine arches each.

Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana (Particular)

At the top of each of the four façades there is an inscription in capital letters:
(In English)
A nation of poets, of artists, of heroes,
Of saints, of thinkers, of scientists,
Of helmsmen, of transmigrants

Where did you see it?
You have seen it in a Nike’s advertisement of the nineties, where famous football players retrieved a ball kept inside the building.

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Danteum, Giuseppe Terragni, Rome, 1942

The Danteum is an unbuilt monument to Dante Alighieri designed by the modernist architect Giuseppe Terragni at the behest of Benito Mussolini‘s Fascist government. The design was presented at the 1942 Exhibition in Rome but it was not constructed.


Compositionally, the Danteum is conceived as an allegory of the Divine Comedy. It consists of a sequence of monumental spaces that parallel the narrator’s journey from the “dark wood” through hell, purgatory, and paradise. Rather than attempting to illustrate the narrative, however, Terragni focuses on the text’s form and rhyme structure, translating them into the language of carefully proportioned spaces and unadorned surfaces typical of Italian Rationalism.

In june 2007 Alessio Nanni composer and Rodolfo Migliari visual artist created a compositing and creative concept about acoustic and visual materials called Danteum.

Visual and acoustic "Danteum" Preview

This project wants to merge the visual and acoustic sensations in an unique body, where it’s impossible to watch the instalation without the sound and viceversa. The visual and acoustic ambient is defined by a very well-balanced background where the three elements earth, fire and water symbolize the three parts of the poem.

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Criticizing what you can’t criticize

Le Modulor

The architecture is a discipline that designs both small and everyday items, such as furniture components, and extremely large and complex structures dealt by planning.
Architecture is not an exact science, there aren’t scientific experiments or laboratory tests that indicate the right way to design.
During the construction work there might be another designer ready to ‘criticize’ our work because he says he knows a better way to projet.
Rarely it happens that who take charge of designing something is the same person who criticize harshly it, because he saw the difficulties encountered during implementation.
Necessarily you need a figure to judge from an external point of view as objectively as possible the architectural item.
In fact the architects’ world can be divided into two distinct roles as two sides of same coin: on one hand, the ‘designer’ that seeks to create something from nothing, despite many difficulties, on the other the ‘critical’, that retrospectively analyzes what has already been created.
How to design today comes from an old tradition, but in the future it will not be in this way. A day would be a designer who suddenly disrupts the “rules”. For exemple Le Corbusier with his ‘Five points of new architecture’ radically twisted the way to plan: he had the daring idea of using reinforced concrete for the buildings’ structure instead of the usual bearing masonry.

Villa Savoye

To be able to plan coul not “copy” the style of a master like many architects use as a secure foothold for a claim professional. The architecture is in harmony with its environment, with its limitations, its technical problems and the landscape. If not we would always have the same item, mass-produced in assembly lines, which go well both in the desert and in the Himalaian snowy peaks.
“Criticizing” it is equally difficult for an inexperienced designer that when he would try to criticize might run the risk to create a vicious cycle that only paralyzes any idea.
Many “Archistars” on the international scene are able to embody both figures, but their criticism born to learn from mistakes and to continually seeking the perfection of their architectural language.

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Brion Cemetery, San Vito d’Altivole (TV), Italy

The Brion Cemetery is in San Vito d’Altivole near Treviso, Italy. Carlo Scarpa (1909-1978) designed the addition to a previous cemetery. He is buried in this cemetery in a well hidden spot under a very simple tombstone for a great architect like him, within the interstitial space created by the walls of the old and new cemeteries.

The perimeter walls are the same height as the surrounding corn, which deemphasizes the cemetery. It also includes an island which the visitor cannot access (arguably a metaphor for the afterlife).

Brion Cemetery

The window of the pavilion of meditation is in the form of a Vesica piscis, a repeated leitmotiv in Scarpa’s architecture. He had seen this mystical symbol in the absolute union betwen man and woman.

The Creator’s Words

“I would like to explain the Tomba Brion … The place for the dead is a garden….I wanted to show some ways in which you could approach death in a social and civic way…”

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Velasca Tower, Milan, Italy

Two years ago I had to go to Milan for work.
Just out of the city subway, I raised my head and I suddenly saw it in all its majesty.

Velasca Tower

It was built in 1954 by the BBPR architectural partnership, in the city centre of Milan.

The tower, approximately 100 metres tall, has a peculiar and characteristic mushroom-like shape.

As a consequence, the shape of this building is the result of a modern interpretation of the typical Italian medieval castle.

The tower is located in the city centre of Milan near the Duomo (Milan Cathedral) between Corso di Porta Romana and via Larga.

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