Segments in this Video

E-42: The New Rome (01:56)


Benito Mussolini commissioned architect Adalberto Libera to build a monumental building to hold receptions and events at a site dedicated to the 1942 International Fair.

Modern Image for a Fascist Regime (01:52)

Known today as EUR, the buildings reference Ancient Rome. Libera belonged to the rationalist movement, but his modernity was associated with a fascist regime.

Modern to Imperial Style (01:27)

From 1936, the regime's focus was on building a new Italian Empire and the modern style changed to the Imperial style. Libera created two halls, for receptions and Party meetings.

Concession to Tradition (01:05)

Carrara marble covers the seats of the rooftop theater and the reinforced concrete structure as a patriotic statement. The geometric shape maintained modernity.

Entrance Colonnade (02:38)

Guerrini's Palace of Italian Civilization opposes the Congress Building. An esplanade leads to the entrance where a colonnade contradicts the modern wall first designed by Libera.

Domed Roof (02:02)

Libera had to certify he was not of Jewish heritage when he accepted the interior decoration. The mural "All Roads Lead to Rome" greets visitors to the vast reception hall.

Colonnade (02:07)

The lower galleries surrounding the vast hall are open with visible staircases and supported by basilica-like colonnade and pillars. Floor seating has been removed.

E-42 Mosaics (02:07)

The inner walls of the cube were to have giant mosaics portraying regimes of Rome. Only sketches remain for the replicas of ancient buildings.

Abstract Design (01:17)

Libera opted for the cut leaf technique for the marble that forms abstract patterns, used for a modern effect by the architect.

Crisscrossed Staircases (02:19)

Libera was hailed as Italy's greatest Fascist architect, who combined a festive front facade and rationalist glass facade in the back. Libera repeats his crisscrossed staircases.

E-42 Theaters (01:57)

Marble seating for the open air theater evoked a Roman theater, but the modern cinema of the Congress Hall contrasts with both the reception hall and rooftop theater.

Technologically Functional (02:00)

The rectangle and cube form gives the building a historical reference while the modern look is inside. The building contains a post office, radio station, and underground parking.

E-42 Reconstruction (02:18)

In 1942 when the Exhibition was to take place, war halted the work, leaving the buildings unfinished. In 1952, experts reconstructed the site for the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Credits: The Reception and Congress Building in Rome: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture (00:26)

Credits: The Reception and Congress Building in Rome: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

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The Reception and Congress Building in Rome: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

Part of the Series : Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture
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Adalberto Libera was a pioneer of architectural modernity and a die-hard fascist.Unlike the Nazis, Mussolini made an alliance with the modern movement, which became for architecture, the official style of fascism. In 1937, the regime launched one of its most ambitious projects - the E 42. The idea was to create a new monumental city embodying the new Imperial Rome, for the International Exhibition of 1942. Libera won the competition for the Reception and Congress Building. Launched amidst great pomp and circumstance in 1938, the work initially made rapid progress. When Italy entered war, the work pace became sluggish and was abandoned altogether in 1944. The E 42 quarter was to remain a wasteland, until 1950 when the Italian Christian Democrats decided to resume work on it. This film explores the paradoxical alliance between a formal avant-garde movement and a totalitarian ideology. On a more general level, it also explores the link between architecture and power.

Length: 26 minutes

Item#: BVL65348

ISBN: 978-1-60057-659-1

Copyright date: ©2006

Closed Captioned

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