Luca Monica (Politecnico di Milano);
Luca Bergamaschi (Politecnico di Milano)

From the Thirties to Post-War Reconstruction. The Land Reclamation Consortia and Rural Architecture in Italy

In Italy, ever since the spread of the Modern Movement, the theme of rural architecture has gained momentum, in reviving settlement and spatial principles as a moral lesson for the general development of new aesthetics and a new society.

New concepts inspired by Arrigo Serpieri such as the “bonifica integrale” and old institutions such as the Land Reclamation Consortia (Consorzi di Bonifica) become official law in 1933, and played a crucial role in this process, particularly in consolidating new architectural thinking that was to endured up to the post-war reconstruction and until now.

Somehow paradoxically, ideologically opposing phenomena, settlements related to extensive land reclamation of the Fascist period and rural redevelopment of the Fifties were actually based on comparable theoretical and operational aspects.

We can recognize these ideas looking at the most interesting experiments developed in these two periods: the city of Sabaudia designed by Piccinato and the village of La Martella at Matera designed by Quaroni (and sponsored by Adriano Olivetti).

The quest for a new “moral aesthetic” of architecture undertaken by leading representatives of Italian Rationalism, that was to re-emerge in the neorealism of post-war reconstruction.

This investigation highlights a new conception of architectural rooted in the studies and research on rural settlements in the agricultural economy, and unlocks a possible regeneration and restoration of the rural villages of cultural heritage.

Full-text available here: DOI: 10.1051/SHSCONF/20196303001