Seen in the Rationalist Movement in Italy after WWI
Table of Contents
Gruppo 7’s Architectural Views1
Design 1: The Novocomum3
Design 2: Casa del Fascio4
Design 3: Cassa Elettrica6
“The practice of architecture begins as a process of design, involving a wide range of aesthetic and cultural issues, and concludes as a process of construction intimately connected with economic and material concerns. The study of architectural history, therefore, offers a unique opportunity to gauge the relationship between the cultural and economic dimensions of modernization.”  One of the key movements that was found in Italy after WWI was the Rationalist movement which broadened the scope of modern architecture by formulating clear strategies for dealing with the industrialization and the urbanization of Italy. The movement illustrates different aspects of the response of Italian architects to the challenge of building in the twentieth century. In 1926 the Gruppo 7 emerged and was one of the main architectural groups during the Rationalist movement. The Gruppo 7 was made up of seven young architectural students at the Politecnico in Milan. The members of Gruppo 7 include – Sebastiano Larco, Guido Frette, Carlo Enrico Rava, Luigi Figini, Gino Pollini, Giuseppe Terragni, and Adalberto Libera . This paper will focus specifically on three architectural designs of Gruppo 7 which include the Novocomum, Casa del Fascio, and Casa Elettrica. Through the design philosophy and works of Gruppo 7 its three designs demonstrate how the Gruppo 7 was affected by post WWI cultural, political and social issues and the designs show how they move from the neo-classical into their view of modernist architecture that had not been seen before. Gruppo 7’s Architectural Views
In order to understand how the three architectural designs of Gruppo 7 demonstrate the idea of modernization in Italy during the rationalist movement, it is important to understand Gruppo 7’s personality and objectives. Since Gruppo 7 emerged from the rationalist movement the two share the same qualities and objectives. Gruppo 7 was looking to architects and places outside of Italy for new inspiration. Gruppo 7 was greatly influenced by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. They took aspects of Le Corbusier’s designs such as the use of concrete slabs, steel, columns and integration between inside and outside of the building into their own architectural views. Gruppo 7 believed that architects should work with new materials and they should sensitize themselves with the style of the new architecture . They did not want to equate architecture with machines or to reduce the act of design to calculations and mechanical formulas. Instead they wanted to point out that type was not the same thing as formula. Type can always change because different functions and forms can be added to the same type. Also, Gruppo 7 addressed the issue of the relationship between historical and contemporary architectural languages by trying to move away from neo-classical to modernist architecture. Gruppo 7 was not trying to change or break tradition; instead they believed that tradition should change for the new and the present . Tradition should change to satisfy current issues and to satisfy the needs of society. Gruppo 7 was not trying to change Italian traditions or the Italian identity but was trying to adapt the international style into Italy and Italian architecture. Gruppo 7 did not reject the idea of national spirit expressed through architectural style, they did however argue that a manipulation of a set of forms derived from the architecture of the past would blind architects and the public to the true role of architecture, which is to give form to the spirit of the age . Gruppo 7 also believed that...