Giancarlo De Carlo has expanded upon the theme of the housing building or unit from the very beginning of his professional career
Together with other masters of Italian architecture, in his 1950s buildings, De Carlo puts into discussion the canonic Modernist models with projects that propose a return to the Italian building tradition reinterpreted in contemporary forms.
Starting from the Otterlo 1959 CIAM, his 1960s architecture changes, to achieve less linear schemes in which the housing units claim a specific autonomy that is obtained through successive shifts or clustering of individual modules.
Such a design research, that is affected by what De Carlo observes in his travels abroad and by his relationships with the most important european architects – Alison e Peter Smithson, Aldo Van Eyck, James Stirling, among others – takes him to the adoption of dwelling models with a “tight grid” that are analogous to a city fabric grown in time through successive additions, characterised by aggregations of individual parts, in a sequence of adjacent buildings that decompose a structural unity with the intention of creating diverse exterior spaces able to gather social life.
The grouping process of buildings guided by the logics of the interpenentration of exterior ad interior spaces, favors the exposure to sun, air and vegetation and feeds those neighborhood relationships that De Carlo perceives in the Italian historic fabric as well as in Scandinavian social housing of the 1940s and 50s, that is one of his main references.
text by Lorenzo Mingardi
Giancarlo De Carlo, houses for university employees, Urbino (ITA), 1955
After the recycling of the main headquarter of the University of Urbino, a cooperative of employees of the University commissions to De Carlo the realization of a group of residences. This is the first intervention of the council housing in Urbino. The complex, situated in the north-west of the old town centre, in the Annunziata’s area, is composed by six identical terraced units that follow the naturale slope of the ground and thanks to that it has a particular curvilinear aspect. Every unit hosts two apartments in duplex: kitchen and living room at the ground floor, bedrooms at the above level. The slope of the ground generates a difference in height between the cells, solved working on light offsettings on the points of juncture. The whole complex is characterized by a sequence of empty and full spaces: the empty is worth the same and more of the full where it accepts spaces for free time and sociality, necessary for every individual. It can be observed also that the sequence of houses have a perfect harmony with the surrounding.
Archivio Progetti-IUAV, De Carlo-pro/006/09
Spine Bianche quarter, Matera (MT), 1956-57
Rione Spine Bianche is a work of great importance in the Neorealist movement of post-war Italian architecture, and was designed by a group led by Carlo Aymonino. The building which overlooks the church’s square was designed by De Carlo. Also called by materani, Bottiglione, the neighborhood was built, entirely, in brick, with external lines of extraordinary simplicity, and at the center stands the church of St. Pio X, services and some schools. There is, also, a statue of Alcide De Gasperi, at the time head of the government, who signed the first law for the rehabilitation of the Matera’s Sassi.
Archivio Progetti-IUAV, De Carlo-pro/011/11
Matteotti village, Terni (TR), 1969-74
The construction of the Matteotti’s district began in 1972. Società Terni commissioned the project and Ceca-Gescal funded it.
The complex was realized with the participation in Italy of the workers of the Terni steelworks. This is the first example in Italy where the users participate actively to the definition of the project. The project of De Carlo contemplate 840 apartments, but only 240 were actually built. The realized part is formed by four parts arranged in series with a fifth building out of the scheme and differently organized. Each flat has a large terrace, a flat roof with a garden, a garage and two bathrooms.
Archivio Progetti-IUAV, De Carlo-pro/054/03/074
Iacp district, Mazzorbo, Venezia (VE), 1980-97
The Icap district is located on the island of Mazzorbo, about 10 km from Venice, near the island of Burano and it is part of the plan Peep Burano-Mazzorbo, aimed to repopulate the island by providing areas of residence, services and green spaces. De Carlo was commissioned by the city to implement the project of the area and to build 36 apartments.
The building considered here is the number 2 formed by two apartments on two floors. On the ground floor there are the garage, the living room, the kitchen and a bathroom; upstairs, on the first floor, there are two bedroom, a bathroom and a terrace.
Archivio Progetti-IUAV, De Carlo-pro/163/32