This blog was created by students who participated in the Cornell in Rome Architectural Theory Course during the Spring 2009 Semester. The course was taught by Professor Gabriele Mastrigli. This blog highlights specific theoretical topics in the development of the city of Rome by explaining the rationale and functionality behind the projects mentioned here
A desire to construct the public realm permeates the visions and the concrete experiences of contemporary Italian architecture. This desire, deeply rooted in the past, from the roman basilicas to the piano sistino, has generated various attempts to design and build the idea of a truly public city: since the beginning of the XX century architecture has been the tool to shape not only the space of the contemporary city, but also the identities of the communities inhabiting it. As a mean to build the public city, architecture has been therefore a public activity in itself, closely connected to the political and cultural context, in which it has found unique conditions to make real some visions and theories about the contemporary city.
Rooted in the specificity of Italian situation, since modernity this idea of a public city has generated all over Italy several powerful - as much as controversial - experiments. Rome, in particular, due to its peculiar political and social situation, has been an exceptional ground for some of the most radical ones: not only new buildings but visions of a different society in the form of concrete and specific architectural and urban projects.