Journey into the architecture of the Tiburtino district
Architecture is not an art, because anything that serves a purpose is to be excluded from the sphere of art.
Built between 1949 and 1954, the Tiburtino was seen by critics as the manifesto of Italian neorealism in architecture. A real laboratory for the group of several generations of architects involved in the project, the district combines materials and languages taken from the Italian vernacular tradition in a planimetric form. Located at km 7 of via Tiburtina, which connects Rome and Tivoli and along which develops the industrial area of Rome, the project of the district began in 1949, the year in which officially started the construction program of the house Ina following the officialization of the Fanfani plan (1948), which provided for the construction of low-cost housing subsidized by the state, aimed above all at the rebalancing of the economic market and post-war occupation.
The project therefore left very little to the hopes of progressive architects, politicians and intellectuals who wanted to make public intervention a necessary place for the control of urban growth and the research laboratory of an evolved and respectable habitat.
Based on a project by Ludovico Quaroni and Mario Ridolfi, it is important to remember that the design process of the architects develops by researching the natural balance in the community and in the architectural forms of the village: the idea is therefore to recreate a neighborhood realizing a real Village of the Tiburtino. Entering the area, the complex is predominantly residential and is built on the basis of three building types defined: tower houses (7 floors with 3 or 4 flats per floor), terraced houses (2 or 3 floors) and houses in line (mainly 4 floors), placed so as to recreate the spatial contiguity of the pre-industrial city. Parallel to via Tiburtina there is via Crispolti that enters the neighborhood then branching off into streets for purely residential use: via Diego Angeli, via Luigi Cesana and Via Edoardo Arbib.
To escape the suburban degradation, the district accepts its enclosure and becomes a country, favoring the human scale and the value of the space of relationship. Every idea of planimetric rhythm is abandoned and the road is the rule that unites the irregular geometries of the buildings which, randomly arranged, respect the north-south, east-west orientation, underlining the importance of the single building with respect to the connections between the different houses.
The material chosen to make the road is asphalt, while the interior spaces are mixed (in flint cubes or travertine slabs).
All 7-storey tower houses are in reinforced concrete structures and perforated plasters, externally plastered; the houses in line and the terraced houses are in masonry of tufa and brick resorts, which are also externally plastered. The windows are in fir with Roman blinds, the railings of balconies and stairs in flat iron and normal profiles. The walls of the stairs are lined with bricks, to ensure their durability; the external fences are in tufa and facing bricks, with travertine or concrete covers. Some houses can be reached by external stairs or arranged along the gallery; the movement is defined by broken lines in which the stairs represent the fulcrums.
Entering first on via Diego Angeli and then on via Arbib there is access to a large square designed with the intent of defining an important central public space; nonostrante this, the square has unfortunately lost its role of relevance following the errors of the construction companies, who have not respected the design in which the parking and relationship spaces were quite distinct from those of crossing. The relationship life of the district takes place instead in the street where the only one of the four groups of shops is foreseen, via Diego Angeli: in addition to the residential intervention there are only 4 stores dedicated to the trade made by Mario Ridolfi, undisputed master of the Italian architecture of the 20th century.
Among the architects involved in the design of the Tiburtino district, led by Quaroni and Ridolfi, we remember Carlo Aymonino, Carlo Chiarini, Mario Fiorentino, Federico Gorio, Maurizio Lanza, Sergio Lenci, Piero Maria Lugli, Carlo Melograni, Gian Carlo Menichetti and Michele Valori.