Addressing the people : Architecture as a medium of the fascist narrative of national identity, Case del Fascio, 1922-1943
Author(s)Bentel, Carol Rusche
Architecture as a medium of the fascist narrative of national identity, Case del Fascio, 1922-1943
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Mark M. Jarzombek.
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This dissertation examines a building program for Fascist headquarters, or Case del Fascio, established by the Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF) during the years of Italian Fascism, from 1922 to 1943. The PNF planned over 11,000 buildings by 1943 on the Italian mainland and in their colonial territories. This examination is a chronological study of these buildings demonstrating that the PNF expressed its political messages in built-form. Between 1919 and 1943, the PNF developed its political ideology, documented in the Statute of 1921, and its modifications in 1926, 1929, 1932, and 1938. The PNF building program mirrored their constantly modified political goals, as well as the PNF's decisions in areas of culture, religion, and foreign policy. The physical form of the Casa del Fascio embodied the PNF's evolving character that changed from fringe to progressive, to dominant, to authoritarian and militaristic. While the politicians developed programmatic needs for the PNF headquarters building, many architects developed their own consensus about its design from articles in their professional periodicals. Journalists featured PNF sponsored competitions for Case del Fascio, Palazzi del Littorio, and Torri Littorie - all versions or components of the developing headquarters building. Wide spread participation of architects in national competitions for fascist headquarters allowed architects to observe other solutions and offer their interpretations. Articles and newsreels of building inaugurations aided the architect's view of the PNF's preferred examples. What began as a clandestine meeting space evolved into a building that could be identified at a distance as a Casa del Fascio - a symbol of the PNF, if not Mussolini, himself. However, no one model stood as the template for the new political building. Variations in form, plan configuration, and aesthetics continued until the PNF's 1943 demise, despite the 1936 "Declaration of the Empire" and the PNF's association with Germany - which would have suggested a government-sanctioned "monumental Roman" model. The outcome reveals that architects had unusually strong design control. My study is a chronological analysis, using over 4,000 architectural examples, overlaid with the changing ideology of the PNF, which reveals the reactive design interpretations by professional architects during the Ventennio.
Thesis: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 2017.Volume 2 only available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (volume 1, pages 353-376).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology