Giuseppe Terragni


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Terragni, Giuseppe

 

Born Feb. 1, 1904, in Meda, Lombardy; died May 25,1943, in Como. Italian architect.

Terragni was influenced by A. Sant’Elia. Together with A. Libera and others, in 1926 he founded the Gruppo 7, which advanced the acceptance of the architecture of rationalism throughout Italy. His major works include the Novecomum apartment building (1929), the Casa del Popolo (1932), and a kindergarten (1936), all in Como. In these buildings, Terragni organically integrated interior space and the surrounding environment, combining blank wall surfaces with open frameworks of reinforced concrete. He skillfully incorporated elements of traditional Mediterranean architecture into his works, for example, by using a courtyard-atrium as the center of an architectural composition.

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Only at the end of the show do we see Giuseppe Terragni's portraits of soldiers at the Russian front, Corrado Cagli's drawings of bodies piled up at Buchenwald, and a boy staring out dismally from photographs of the demolition works in Rome that made way for the imposing openair archaeological exhibition today known as Via dei Fori Imperiali.
No less striking, for both aesthetic and ideological reasons, is the Sant'Elia armchair designed by Giuseppe Terragni for the boardroom of his 1932-36 Casa del Fascio in Como, a building meant to epitomize another offshoot of Fascist design, modernist rationalism.
Takehiko Nagakura's rendering of the interior of the unbuilt Danteum by Giuseppe Terragni and Pietro Lingeri, a still from one of Nagakura's short films about mythical structures.
It is hardly news that some modern architectural adventures have been associated with undemocratic or even totalitarian historical moments--think of an architect like Giuseppe Terragni, who served Italy's Fascist regime.
In Kindergarten Antonio Sant'Elia, 1932, 1997, Claerbout integrates two different media--a black-and-white image of a playground designed by Giuseppe Terragni is digitally merged with film footage of trees moving subtly in the breeze--to convey the layering of historical time with fleeting human events.
Peter Eisenman, finally, despite having collaborated with Derrida for a garden within Tschumi's park, exhibited in his design for the University of Frankfurt's Biocenter as much reliance on the multiple grids of his earlier experiments with the architecture of Giuseppe Terragni as on any philosophical borrowings.
But Lambri's broadest exposure to date occurred at the 48th Venice Biennale (1999) in the d'APERTutto section, where she had an installation of still and moving images that took visitors on an abstracted, fragmentary journey through Giuseppe Terragni's Sant'Elia Kindergarten, which she attended as a child in Como.
The Triennale is responsible for a recent historical survey of the past thirty years of contemporary Italian design as well as a major exhibition of Giuseppe Terragni, a master of Rationalism.
Marinetti's and Carlo Carra's enthusiastic embrace of Mussolini's fascist state, and reaching into a more recent Modernist fascist culture that included Giuseppe Terragni's architecture for the Casa del Fascio, Curzio Malaparte's novels, and Lucio Fontana's memorial sculptures of the late '20s and '30s.