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Italian Rationalist Design: Modernity between Tradition and Innovation

Department of Planning Design Architecture Technology, Sapienza University of Rome, 00196 Rome, Italy
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 12 February 2019 / Accepted: 15 February 2019 / Published: 22 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technological Progress as a Basis for Modern Architecture)


This article is devoted to the Italian modern project of the 1930s, which involved architecture and design. The main theme is the influence that the autarchic economic policy of the Fascist regime had in the choice of materials and technologies, and, above all, the manner in which this choice led to innovative practices and figurative research. Through significant examples, the essay provides some insight into the style of Italian rationalism, whose contradictory aspects—conditioned by the regime’s policy—shaped urban planning, architecture, and design in the 1930s. I show that the Italian rationalist culture is a field of investigation that is of considerable scientific interest because it represents the idea of an integral project comprised of all the elements associated to a building, including those that are still used today. In particular, I present a case study centered on the Physics Institute of Rome’s Sapienza University (1933–1935) designed by the architect Giuseppe Pagano Pogatschnig, analyzing its materials, technologies, and architectural features, as well as its furnishings. Along these lines, the objective of this investigation is the transmission of a specific knowledge, looking at objects as essential parts of the aesthetics of Rationalism in order to protect and enhance the cultural heritage of modernity. View Full-Text
Keywords: rationalism; modern architecture and design; autarchic materials and technologies rationalism; modern architecture and design; autarchic materials and technologies

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Dal Falco, F. Italian Rationalist Design: Modernity between Tradition and Innovation. Arts 2019, 8, 27.

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