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Federico Franceschi, Francesca Gobbi

A walk through contemporary architecture in Genoa: Bernabò Brea social housing by Luigi Carlo Daneri.

The video "Townscape" was conceived and filmed by students of the "Architectural Design" course held by Valter Scelsi at Genoa University. The aim was to focus attention on contemporary architecture and its maintenance: when architectural value is overlooked, even valuable buildings are affected by deterioration.

The short film was filmed in the Bernabò Brea residential complex in the Sturla suburb of Genoa. The project was designed by the architects Luigi Carlo Daneri, Luciano Grossi-Bianchi and Giulio Zappa between 1950 and 1956 with the aim of improving the urban quality of the social housing neighbourhood set up at the time by the public institute INA-Casa.

The film entitled "townscape" to reflect the fact that the buildings blend with the surrounding environment. The Bernabò Brea complex was meant to be a large park with massive trees, where buildings would appear as simple prisms adapting to the slope. The project included a school, a nursery, shops on the ground floor of the buildings and a fairly large lake in the centre of the park.

Seventy years later visitors can only find some of these features. The purpose of the static frames of the video is to show the desolation and monotony of the residential contest rather than happiness. The lake has been covered by soil, the shops are closed, the school has been abandoned and the building façades are hidden by overgrown trees. Only the nursery is still in good condition, with the children's voices being the only sign of life in that part of the city.


Authors: El Aiba Amna, Giulia Bernardinello
Architect: Luigi Carlo Daneri, Luciano Grossi-Bianchi, Giulio Zappa
Mentioned project: Bernabò Brea social housing (1950-1953)
Project location: Genoa, Italy

Italy 2016
Duration: 1'50''