By Livia Lupi

Architect Giuseppe Terragni was born in Meda on 18 April 1904. He is one of the founders of Italian Rationalism, a movement promoting simple, functional and yet striking architectural forms which lasted in various forms until the 1970s. 

Terragni trained at the Regio Istituto Superiore in Milan, later renamed Politecninco, where he completed his degree in 1926. In the same year, he is one of the seven architect who signed the first official document of Italian Rationalism, establishing themselves as Gruppo 7. This group later grew into the MIAR, or Movimento Italiano di Architettura Razionale (Italian Movement of Rational Architecture). His commitment to art and architecture is also represented by the magazine Quadrante, which Terragni funded with other colleagues and literary figures.

Terragni worked during the fascist regime in Italy. His first building is the condominium Novocomum in Como, realised between 1927 and 1929 amidst great controversy, as the local authorities disliked the structure. But Terragni was not deterred, presenting his project for the Novocomum at the national architectural exhibition in Rome in 1928. Other important works include the Casa del Fascio and the Sant’Elia nursery school in Como, realised between 1932 and 1936.

After serving as a soldier in Jugoslavia and then Russia in 1941, Terragni died suddenly at just 39 of a cerebral thrombosis on 19 July 1943.

Further reading: Peter Eisenman. Giuseppe Terragni: Transformations, Decompositions, Critiques. Monacelli Press, 2003. 

Novocomum, 1927-29, Como.

Casa del Fascio, 1932-36, Como.

Sant’Elia Nursery School, 1936, Como. 

2004 stamp celebrating the centenary of Terragni’s birth

Giuseppe Terragni

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