Giuseppe Terragni (1904-1943)

Giuseppe Terragni was an Italian architect who worked primarily under the fascist regime of Mussolini and pioneered the Italian modern movement under the rubric of Rationalism. One of his more famous works is the Casa del Fascio which was begun in 1932 and completed in 1936.

Giuseppe Terragni and his major work, Casa del Fascio in Como, Italy

Image source: https://www.archdaily.com.br/br/785146/7-arquitetos-que-morreram-estranhamente-deixando-um-legado-impressionante


Biography

Giuseppe Terragni was born on 18th April 1904 in a family of builders. In 1921 he enrolled at the Superior School of Architecture of the Polytechnic of Milan, where he studied with particular passion the architectures of the past and appreciated the new rationalist architecture encoded by Le Corbusier. Obtained the degree in 1926, he engaged himself in the study of the theoretical premises of the new architecture, still in elaboration


Giuseppe Terragni

Image source: http://www.ereticamente.net/2017/10/giuseppe-terragni-a-cura-di-emanuele-casalena.html

A pioneer of the modern movement in Italy, Terragni produced some of its most significant buildings. A founding member of the fascist Gruppo 7 and a leading Italian Rationalist. Terragni fought to move architecture away from neo-classical and neo-baroque revivalism. In 1926 he and other progressive members of Gruppo 7 issued the manifesto that made them the leaders in the fight against revivalism.

Terragni was also one of the leaders of the artistic group called “astrattisti comaschi” with Mario Radice and Manlio Rho, one of the most important events in Italian Modern Art. He also contributed to the 1932 Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution. Terragni died of thrombosis in Como in 1943.

Info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuseppe_Terragni

Danteum Project, Giuseppe Terragni
Danteum Project, Giuseppe Terragni

Info Source: http://archeyes.com/danteum-giuseppe-terragni/

In a career that lasted only 13 years, Terragni created a small but remarkable group of designs; nearly all of them are in Como which was then the center of modern Italian architecture. These works form the nucleus of the language of Italian rationalist or modern architecture. In his last designs, Terragni achieved a more distinctive Mediterranean character through the fusion of modern theory and tradition.

Info source: http://www.aboutitaliandesign.info/giuseppe-terragni.html

Danteum, Giuseppe Terragni
Danteum, Giuseppe Terragni

Info Source: http://archeyes.com/danteum-giuseppe-terragni/

 

Gruppo 7

Along with Luigi Figini, Guido Frette, Sebastiano Larco, Gino Pollini, Carlo Enrico Rava and Ubaldo Castagnola, in 1926 Giuseppe Terragni founded the group 7 that contributed to the affirmation of the rationalist architecture in Italy. The Italian Rationalism, came out in the European scene in the conception of an architecture close to logic and rationality, based on the abstract perfection of the pure rhythm and the simple constructiveness, but more particularly in the identification with the roots of the same rationalism in the Mediterranean background.

The architects of the “Gruppo di Como” (to whom Giuseppe Terragni belonged) received by Benito Mussolini in Roma

Image source: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/romanarmytalk/de-architectura-t1842-s10.html

As a matter of fact the adoption of the geometry – that, especially in Terragni’s works, was conceived as the element that allows the control of all the components of an architectonic system – was identified as point of departure of the whole architecture that developed along the Mediterranean basin, subtracting the paternity of the use of the rational forms to the North Europe.

Elaborating a personal rationalist language, marked by the search of classical proportions, the architecture of Giuseppe Terragni starts from a pure geometric shape, already ordered, that corresponds to the square or to the rectangle and for the plan to a solid form that coincides with the parallelepiped – the artist’s study in his house for holidays can be considered a symbolic case.

Info source: https://architextsassociation.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/giuseppe-terragni-and-the-rationalist-architecture-in-italy/

Novocomum

In 1926 Giuseppe Terragni elaborated a personal and rationalist language, marked by classical proportions, as it’s possible to see in his first great project: the Novocomum.

Sketches for Novocomun

Image source: http://www.antithesi.info/testi/testo_2_pdf.asp?ID=363

Initially, Terragni’s work was considered for demolition however, Novocomun became one of the most popular buildings in the city. This was thanks to the unprecedented design comprising a clean, orthogonal volume of reinforced concrete broken at the corners by cylindrical shapes and curves. Over these large openings is suspended the mass of the top floor. Even if this design represented the first modern house in Italy, it didn’t find the agreement of the fascist party and provoked a big scandal.

From 1927 to 1929 Giuseppe Terragni designed the Novocomum, a modern apartment complex

Image source: https://www.mimoa.eu/projects/Italy/Como/Novocomum/

Info source: https://www.archdaily.com/794411/5-emblematic-buildings-by-giuseppe-terragni

 

Casa del Fascio

Built as the headquarters of the local Fascist Party, it was renamed Casa del Popolo after the war and has since served a number of civic agencies, including a Caribinieri station and a tax office.

Giuseppe Terragni, Casa del Fascio, Como, 1932-1936

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Planned within a perfect square and half as high as its 110 foot width, the half cube of the Casa del Fascio established the pinnacle of strict rational geometry. Looking like a giant Rubik’s Cube, the building is a serious game of architectural logic. Each of the building’s four facades is different, hinting at the internal layout and rhythmically balancing the open and closed spaces.  On every side except the south-east elevation which articulates the main stair, the windows and the external layers of the building are employed in such a way to express the internal atrium.

Casa del Fascio ed projection of his architect Giuseppe Terragni

Image source: http://www.artslife.com/2012/10/02/il-primo-architetto-del-tempo-giuseppe-terragni-al-clac-di-foligno/

Slightly elevated on a masonry base, the fascist political purpose of the structure is expressed almost literally through the chain of glass doors which separates the entrance foyer from the piazza. These, when simultaneously opened by an electrical device, would have united the inner agora of the cortile to the piazza, thereby permitting the uninterrupted flow of mass demonstrations from street to interior.

Casa del Fascio, Giuseppe Terragni,Sections

Image source: https://www.archdaily.com/312877/ad-classics-casa-del-fascio-giuseppe-terragni/sections-329

Iit should be recognized to Terragni the merit of having brought back a protagonist role to the characters of the façade, so that in their relationships of space and form, of heavy masses and of light structures have to give to the observer an artistic emotion. In fact, setting aside the free façade codified by Le Corbusier, he conceived in every of his projects a predetermined orthogonal grid, in which he chose an inside articulation, underlining the logical principle of clarity in the legibility of the work.

Info source: https://www.archdaily.com/312877/ad-classics-casa-del-fascio-giuseppe-terragni

 

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