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IE University

Architecture History and Theory III

Claudia Pitti
23 of November 2017
Professor: Laura Martinez de Guereu

Italian Rationalism

= Abstraction and Monumentality

During 1930s rationalism starts with gruppo 7 founded by Giuseppe Terragni,

whom is called one of the father of rationalism, and many others.
They professed their need for a middle ground between the classism of the
Novecento with the industrially inspired Italian futurism.

They didnt want to break the traditions, but being able to show that traditions can
evolve and respond to what is the socio-political context in the country. For
example, in Italy during the time they left as pyrrhic winners from WWI; apart from
that we can add the economic crisis, the high rate of unemployment, the crisis of
the liberal government and the creation of new political parties with very different
visions and fragmented on the inside, creating insecurity in the citizens. Hence
when Mussolini appeared with a concise social agenda, he could start his
dictatorship achieving the majority of the votes.

Giuseppe Terragni developed a rationalist language shown by the search of the

classical proportions but mixing it also with the importance of the faade and the
new methods of construction mixed well together, as well as stripping away the of
applied decoration allowing the viewer to contemplate the true beauty of the

Shown perfectly in the Novocomum, how it plays with a strong visual in its
geometry: the square contrasting with the cylindrical shapes and curves, as well as
the orthogonal grid in the faade focusing on the principle of clarity throughout
the building. Of course, as different things tend to create scandal this building
wouldnt be the exception, as it didnt fulfilled the fascist mentality and it evoked
more towards the emancipation of Italy and it's way of aligning more with other
European countries.
Rationalism not only became a political tool, but a structured way to respond to
the social needs of the 30s in Italy and re-visioning new ways of constructing with
the technologies that were emerging.