fascistic architecture

architettura e fascismo

In Italia durante gli anni del fascismo, nel campo dell'architettura, si svilupparono parallelamente due correnti artistiche diverse fra loro; da un lato l'architettura razionalista che rappresentava il movimento più moderno, in sintonia con le tendenze europee del funzionalismo. Sull'altro versante nell'intento di diffondere i propri ideali tra le masse e trasmettere quindi l'idea di grandezza del regime, il fascismo privilegierà le realizzazioni di edifici monumentali e con forte caratterizzazioni scenografiche.


Stefano Canto

Monumento to Theo van Doesburg

“…Monument to Theo Van Doesburg is an ongoing project by artist Stefano Canto based on historical research into an exemplary fascist monument. The work has developed in collaboration with art critic and curator Mike Watson. Conceived as an ongoing discussion on themes of space, time and modernist representation, the project calls for a consideration of the possibilities offered to critical thinking by architecture in its materiality.
Following the exhibition of a series of photographs, drawings and models for the project, the artist envisages presenting a full scale copy of the obelisk of Mussolini in 2016, disassembled into its components and laid horizontally in a public space in Rome.

…In effectively dismantling the Obelisk of Mussolini and showing its raw component parts, Stefano Canto’s Monument to Theo Van Doesberg (2015) invites the viewer to reconsider the modernist aesthetic stripped of its political connotations and returned to a reflection on fragmented time and space in keeping with the research of the De Stijl movement which strongly influenced the architecture of the early Fascist period…”


(I’ve seen some discussion about fascist architecture on here, a difficult subject, interesting to see an artist working on this topic..)


Fascist Architecture 

Fascist architecture is a style of architecture developed by architects of fascist societies in the early 20th century. The style gained popularity in the late 1920s with the rise of modernism along with the nationalism associated with fascist governments in western Europe. The style resembles that of ancient Rome. However, the fascist-era buildings lack ostentatious design, and were constructed with symmetry, simplicity, and a general lack of ornateness. Both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler utilized the new style of architecture as one of many ways to unify the citizens of their nations and attempt to mark a new era of nationalist culture, and to exhibit the absolute rule of the nation.

Projects identified from the top:

  • Le Palazzo dei Congressi (EUR, Rome) 
  •  Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro (EUR, Rome)
  • The Zeppelinfield Arena (Nuremberg)
  • Prora Holiday Resort (Rugen)
  • The New Reich Chancellery (Berlin)
  • Olympic Stadium (Berlin)
  • World Capital Germania

The 14 Points of Fascism

  1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
    Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
  2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
    Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
  3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
    The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
  4. Supremacy of the Military
    Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
  5. Rampant Sexism
    The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
  6. Controlled Mass Media
    Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
  7. Obsession with National Security
    Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
  8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
    Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
  9. Corporate Power is Protected
    The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
  10. Labor Power is Suppressed
    Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
  11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
    Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
  12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
    Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
  13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
    Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
  14. Fraudulent Elections
    Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~ George Santayana (The Life of Reason, 1905)

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Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano

Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, 1938–’43

EUR, Rome

Façade, cross section, ground-floor plan

Fascistic architecturePalazzo delle Poste - Napoli
La sua realizzazione avvenne nell’ambito dell’opera di risanamento del rione Carità e la sua costruzione durò dal 1928 al 1936, anno in cui venne inaugurato. I suoi progettisti furono gli architetti Giuseppe Vaccaro e Gino Franzi che si adeguarono alle esigenze “monumentali” e razionaliste del regime fascista. Per la costruzione dell’edificio vennero utilizzate lastre di marmo nere e bianche che, con grande precisione e maestria, si compongono assieme a i telai di acciaio degli infissi.

Palazzo Braschi, functioning as the National Fascist Party headquarters, Rome, 1934

Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, EUR, Rome. Designed in 1937 for the 1942 World Fair by Italian architects Giovanni Guerrini, Ernesto Bruno La Padula  and Mario Romano. The exhibition was cancelled and construction of the building finished eventually in 1943.

Angiolo Mazzoni del Grande (Bologna, 21 maggio 1894 – Roma, 28 settembre 1979),  ingegnere e architetto. Fu uno dei maggiori progettisti di edifici pubblici, stazioni ed edifici ferroviari e postali della prima metà del XX secolo. L'ostinata, pubblica adesione al fascismo da parte di Mazzoni (non rinnegata neanche dopo la seconda guerra mondiale, a costo di esiliarsi volontariamente in Colombia dal dopoguerra sino al 1963) ha reso problematico per lunghi decenni, nell'ambito della critica architettonica italiana, il pieno riconoscimento tecnico ed artistico dovuto ad un autore di primissima importanza.