Garbatella: revisiting tomorrow’s garden city at the Casa dell’Architettura

Until Friday the 24th of April, visitors will find drawings and explanations on Gustavo Giovannoni’s Garbatella, one of the best examples of the città leggera, a planning proposal halfway urban sprawl and garden city.

 

Garbatella courtyard © Paolo Fusco www.paolofusco.com

Garbatella courtyard © Paolo Fusco www.paolofusco.com

 

Casa dell’Architettura in Rome is being host to a small exhibition on the città leggera, an Italian expression referring to a particular kind of urban design halfway urban sprawl and garden city. Until Friday the 24th of April, visitors will find drawings and explanations on Gustavo Giovannoni‘s Garbatella, one of the best examples to fully understand this underrated style of city planning.

This Roman quarter -Garbatella- is situated in a high area between Viale San Paolo and Cristoforo Colombo, two main streets, a quiet retreat for a small town-like neighbourhood developed during the fascist period.

 

Garbatella © Aurelio Candido / terzocchio@flickr

Garbatella © Aurelio Candido / terzocchio@flickr

 

The ideal thing would be to have a good American suburb adjacent to a very concentrated Italian town, then you’d have the best of both worlds. —  Colin Rowe

 


 

Garbatella, tomorrow’s garden city and the città legera.
The peaceful way of true reform.

 

In recent decades, Italian’s territorial and urban government efforts were devoted to the requalification of a dense and compact city. The attention that was payed to these issues, the resources and energy employed have been praiseworthy well beyond the final results.

This came, however, with a feeling of neglect and disregard to the values of the “città leggera” – the lightweight city- a somewhat illegitimate heir of the garden city that actually produced high quality architecture. Even in Italy, as evidenced in the work of Gustavo Giovannoni.

 

Garbatella © Aurelio Candido / terzocchio@flickr

Garbatella © Aurelio Candido / terzocchio@flickr

 

As a consequence of a widespread, spontaneous -and generally illegal- urban sprawl, bad results prompted the critical discourse to fall back on banning urban transformation. However, it has meant these intermediate landscapes -inhabited countryside, città diffusa, urban sprawl- have been undervalued: the complexity of their problems underestimated, the rich convergence of opportunities underrated. There has definitely been a lack of an adequate design effort.

The international scene has long seen urban designers engaged in embracing the knowledge and action of the so-called retrofit or sprawl repair: the densification and redevelopment of  morphological and functional issues, side by side with a revival of the garden city.  The events in Casa dell’Architettura will highlight the conceptual synergy between these two phenomena and the possible effects: the tradition of the garden city can be an outstanding reference for the redevelopment of the middle landscape .

 


Garbatella, as seen by Nanni Moretti in his film “Caro Diario”

 


 

La Garbatella, la città giardino di domani e la città leggera.
La via pacifica della vera riforma

until 24.04.2015
from Monday to Friday
10:00 to 19:00
closed Saturdays and Sundays

Exhibition curator: Gioacchino Morsello
Previous conferences curator: Antonio Pietro Latini
In partnership with: ATER, Comune di Roma, INU

 


 

Images in the article by Paolo Fusco and Aurelio Candido
Information via Casa dell’Architettura