By Martina Bollini

Italian architect Giancarlo De Carlo died 4 June 2005 in Milan. He was born in Genoa, Liguria, on 12 December 1919. He was one of the founding members of Team X, a group of architects challenging the modernist doctrines as set out by CIAM (the International Congresses of Modern Architecture organized by Le Corbusier in 1928).

Much of De Carlo’s built work is located in Urbino, for which he started working on a master plan in 1958. This study resulted in various commissions over the years, in and outside of the city centre, such as the student dormitories of the Collegio del Colle (1962-66), and the university building Il Magistero (1968-76). De Carlo’s interventions in the form of new buildings and renovations have been carefully inserted into the built fabric and pay close attention to the social life of the town.  

A key figure in the discourse on participation in architecture, De Carlo designed social housing at Terni, an industrial town close to Rome. His Villaggio Matteotti, built for and with the collaboration of the local steelworkers, provided a foundation for De Carlo’s views on the involvement of users and inhabitants in the design process.

De Carlo’s writings supported his architectural approach; he was editor of the journal Spazio e Società (1978-2001) and author of architectural biographies and essays. De Carlo also founded the International Laboratory of Architecture and Urbanism (ILAUD, 1974-2004), taught at the Venice school of architecture, and was a guest lecturer at many international schools.

Further reading:  Giancarlo De Carlo, Inspiration and Process in Architecture, Moleskine Books, 2012.

Giancarlo De Carlo.

Il Magistero, a university building in Urbino, 1968-76.

Ca’ Romanino, private house in Urbino, 1967.

Villaggio Matteotti, Terni, 1969.

Mazzorbo housing estate in Venice, 1979-85.

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