The idea of a centro direzionale was advanced by many in Italy during the 60s as a solution to several urban planning problems. To alleviate congestions and reverse the conversion of housing stock to office use in central cities, the strategy proposed was to build complexes of offices and municipal administrative facilities outside historic city centre. The scale of a complex imagined as a centro direzionale was large enough to constitute a self-contained new district and determine the direction of urban expansion. Competitions for the design of such facilities have frequently become the ideological battlefields on which opposing ideas about land use and the future development of historic cities are advanced and criticized. In this projects, submitted under the name of locomotive 2 to a competition for a centro direzionale outside Turin, the nature of the program as a large-scale intervention in the suburban landscape is emphasized: the main building masses¨C four blocks defining a large square ¨C are held nearly 30 metres above ground. Beneath them, elevated highways carry traffic through the complex.
Locomotiva 2: Aldo Rossi’s Entry for the Centro Direzionale di Torino Competition collection
Beginning in the 1960s a number of urban planning problems began to be recognized as a consequence of transformations of the postwar Italian city. These concerned congestion of the urban core and concerns over the conversion of housing stock, desperately needed to serve a growing influx of workers from rural areas, into offices for business. One solution proposed at this time were the Centro Direzionale, entirely new complexes of municipal and administrative offices located outside of the city’s historic core. The proposed scale of these new developments was large enough to constitute entirely new self-contained districts, while their siting in brownfield or suburban locations could determine the direction of future urban expansion1. However it is no coincidence that such solutions were put forward at the same time that architects began envisioning megastructures and finally building megaprojects. Rossi’s unsuccessful entry to the competition for a new Centro Direzionale outside of Turin, titled Locomotiva 2, emphasizes its scale rather than trying to blend into its low-level surroundings. The main complex presents a fortress-like appearance, representing “a modern conception of the centralization of services and vertical communications.” 2 Walls nearly 30 metres high are punctuated by elevated highways and surround a vast open-air public square that is dominated by the steel dome of the conference hall. Rossi’s continued research on urban planning culminated with the publication in 1966 of his L’architettura della città . 3 1
Pen and ink on translucent paper, 89.2 x 103 cm. Aldo Rossi fonds, CCA Collection. AP142.S1.D4.P1.2
Peter Arnell and Ted Bickford, Aldo Rossi : Buildings and projects (New York : Rizzoli International Publications, 1985), p. 40. 2 Alberto Ferlenga, ed. Aldo Rossi : The life and works of an architect (Cologne : Könnemann Verlagsgessellschaft mbH, 2001), p.34. 3 On Rossi’s ideas about urban planning in the Italian context, see : Mary Louise Lobsinger “The new urban planning in the Italian context : On Aldo Rossi’s Architettura della città” in Journal of Architectural Education, Volume 59, Issue 3 (February 2009), p. 28 – 38.
Keywords: Locomotiva 2, Aldo Rossi, Centro Direzionale di Torino, Turin, L’architettura della città , Italy, urban planning, Error 404
16. Aldo Rossi, Gianugo Polesello, "Peter Behrens e il problema dell'abitazione moderna," Casabella Continuita, n. 240 (1960); also in Scritti ,ceiti, 107-11. 37. Ibid., 107 38. Rossi, The Architecture of the Ciry, 45. 39. Manfredo Tafuri, a 1960 graduate of the...
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