In the shadow of the opulent and colourful Renaissance buildings and bright modern glass architecture hides Brutalist architecture. Its rough and grey appearance certainly does not match the image Italy gives of itself. The ‘Bel Paese‘ in fact, colourful and rich in history, hardly seems to accept the shameless sincerity of Brutalism that cares little for aesthetics. In the course of time, the buildings that have sprung up since the 1950s, have become the force behind a participatory, straightforward and ethical architecture and have been forgotten by the administrations that have written their sad fate. Today most of these buildings are in a state of decay and subject to vandalism or even, as is happening with the Vele in Scampia (Naples) designed by architect Franz di Salvo, destined for complete demolition. Others, on the other hand, more fortunate because of their central location – think of the Torre Velasca in the centre of Milan, designed by the BBPR group – continue to be part of the urban landscape with no little criticism.
In reality, however, opinion on Brutalist architecture is divided in two. There are those who appreciate it, those who understand its sincerity, and those who think that its aesthetics are timeless. In recent years, thanks to the numerous Design Weeks and the spread of a decidedly urban aesthetic, we are witnessing a rediscovery of these grey, sculptural buildings. Many photographers, designers and experts are dedicated to the study of brutalism, contributing to its spread. We recently found out about the release of a photographic book – published by FUEL – that offers a selection of more than 100 Italian Brutalist buildings. It is entitled Brutalist Italy and is a true Brutalist itinerary through 146 images by architectural photographers Roberto Conte and Stefano Perego.
Among these hundred, we have selected five that we think are worth discovering and, if you have the chance, visiting.
#1 Arredo Urbano, Collevalenza – Todi, Julio Lafuente
#2 Complesso residenziale Pegli 3 – “Le Lavatrici”, Genova. Aldo Luigi Rizzo, Aldo Pino, Andrea Mor, Angelo Sibilla (1980-1989)
#3 Casa Albero, Fregene. Giuseppe Perugini, Raynaldo Perugini and Uga De Plaisant (1968-1971)
#4 Estensione del Cimitero Monumentale, Busto Arsizio. Luigi Ciapparella (1971)
#5 Estensione del Cimitero, Jesi. Leonardo Ricci (1984-1994)
Read also: 6 dream villas in 6 iconic video clips