Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Made by the ICP (Istituto Case Popolari - Institute of Social Housing) in the years 1920/32
First works 1920, now partly demolished, around Piazza Benedetto Brin by Gustavo Giovannoni (1873/1947) who, with Innocenzo Sabbatini (1891/1984), described as Barocchetto (Small Baroque) the architectural style of the new district
Buildings for 190 homes well separated, mainly on two floors, with various and well harmonized typological solutions
“The fundamental contribution of Giovannoni to Italian architecture in the twentieth century is to be found far more in his work as a scholar and theorist, than in his limited activities as a designer and planner. The field of his research is very extensive, but it can be limited to a specific field: the study of architectural monuments and of the ancient towns with reference, almost always, to the extraordinary series of examples offered by Rome, his hometown” (G. Zucconi - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
Later they were joined by Costantino Costantini (1904/82), Massimo Piacentini, cousin of the more famous Marcello and Mario De Renzi (1897/1967)
“From a linguistic point of view the district testifies of a research for the picturesque, the vernacular, the rediscovery of those elements of the lesser Roman architecture between the '500s and '700s which Giovannoni (...) was advocating on those years and which constituted a form of progressive response to the Eclecticism from which already, in another ways, others, like Piacentini and Sabbatini, were trying to come out with their 'Viennese' solutions. This trend, which was given the name of 'barocchetto' (Small Baroque) to emphasize the nostalgic and resigned tone, characterized for a few years the work of many Roman architects. Among them Debbio, Limongelli, Sabbatini himself (who designed, inter alia, the tall houses of this first nucleus of the district) De Renzi and, at least in part, Aschieri” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)
The population of the district is now approximately 46,500 inhabitants
The inspiration came from the urban English Garden Cities, far from the center but well connected by public transport and consisting of small residential units with gardens also cultivable as vegetable gardens
The district name probably derives from the nickname of the owner “graceful and beautiful” of the family-run restaurant Osteria da Maria, which was at the end of 1800s on the Via Ostiense near St. Paul's cliff
The following buildings were all designed by Innocenzo Sabbatini:
It should have been an experiment of accommodation with shared areas for families displaced from the center of Rome, but the shared areas were immediately divided into apartments
“After the 'Viennese' phase, Sabbatini approached the 'barocchetto' (Small Baroque) and imprinted a particular and recognizable character to the production of the Institute. (...) In this climate can be traced the project for the Hotels, where there is no shortage however, even of expressionistic accents related to how to compose the great mass of buildings. The Albergo Rosso was presented at the 1st Exhibition of Italian Rationalist Architecture and aroused mixed reactions for its atypical style compared to the projects of young rationalists” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)
CASA ALBERGO (House Hotel)
CASA DEI BAMBINI (Children's House)
The homes were inspired by the House of Diana in Ancient Ostia
“With the rise of fascist authoritarianism, the urban development of Garbatella underwent a sudden change, characterized by an intense period of construction to the detriment of public parks in the area. This new phase, the result of changes in the national political scene, sees the Garbatella become a place of accommodation for all those people, not necessarily poor, who were without a home. During this period, in fact, a decision was taken to redesign the city center, through the destruction of many buildings and the consequent need to find new accommodations for evicted tenants. ICP put into effect a building development based on testing of the 'fast house' in the years between 1923 and 1927. This type could be visually associated with the Garden Homes, but, unlike the English model, it provided the use of low cost materials, was characterized by a high speed, the ornamental elements were marginal and green areas were no longer private gardens but public places” (Site of the Associazione Culturale e Sportiva Rione Garbatella - www.rionegarbatella. it)
1925/27 Via Antonio Rubino/Via Roberto De Nobili by G.B. Trotta (1898/1959)
Thirteen two-story houses designed for a competition among seven young talented architects selected by five construction companies on the occasion of the XII Congress of the International Federation for Housing and Town Planning, held in 1929 in Rome:
Mario De Renzi (1897/1967), Pietro Aschieri (1889/1952), Gino Cancellotti (1890/1987), Giuseppe Nicolosi (1901/81), Mario Marchi (1900/96), Plinio Marconi (1893/1974)              AND Luigi Vietti (1903/98)
“From the architectural point of view some projects, those of Aschieri and especially the two houses of De Renzi, highlight the progressive abandonment of those linguistic references to the minor architecture of Rome, which had partially characterized the research of the twenties. In fact, one can perceive in them the hints of works of formal settling, more sensitive to the echoes of contemporary European experiences” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)
1926/27 Via Gerolamo Adorno/Via Giovanni Ansaldo by Plinio Marconi (1893/1974)
“Only by starting from the fundamental contribution of personalities such as Poletti and Calderini, first, to pass, then, through those of G.B. Milani, Giovannoni, Piacentini and, also, Fasolo, Minnucci and Marconi, it may be possible to define in its most authentic dimension and in its specific essence of the complexity of a situation in Rome which, through its aporias and falls, but also through its not insignificant moments of excellence, it is considered now to have had an important and decisive role, not only in Italy, but also internationally. (...) The case of Plinio Marconi, from this point of view is emblematic and exemplary: practically forgotten, neglected and shunned by critics and contemporary historiography like other personalities, however eminent, (see the case in some ways 'similar' of Giuseppe Vaccaro, only recently 'rediscovered'), gravitating in different ways in the vast and varied cultural orbit of Piacentini, and only for this destined to a specific damnatio memoriae (...). Plinio Marconi, in this context, is a good example (...) of the quality of these young architects, well informed about what was happening in the rest of the world (...) and also capable of catalyzing the theoretical arguments of a complex contemporary debate that, especially around the Thirties, created a moment of extraordinary and accelerated vitality. Especially in the relationship between the latest experiments and the assorted theoretical and methodological, technical and aesthetic ideas that were their basis, the reflection of Plinio Marconi suggests us the wealth of theoretical knowledge of the ones who, in ways more and less evolved and aware, were starting to cross a territory still unexplored, heading to the uncertain, yet fascinating, but still, in many ways, obscure objectives of Modernity” (Giorgio Muratore -

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