This article discusses the impact of INA-Casa—the dominant Italian reconstruction plan that operated between 1949 and 1963—on Italian and international architectural debate. It focuses on the role of the so-called manualetti, a series of booklets that guided the designers of the INA-Casa programme. Published by the INA-Casa architecture office in 1949 and 1950 under the supervision of the rationalist architect Adalberto Libera, the booklets openly criticised rationalism and the international style in favour of a re-evaluation of vernacular and historical architectural characteristics. The article proposes a new reading of the second booklet, devoted to urban planning, analysing its structure and questioning its agency for the projects developed under the plan. It argues that its use of texts and images corresponds to the dichotomy between rules and models, as explored by Françoise Choay. The article delves into the notion of the model as the “imaginative tool” that makes urban planning possible, identifying the manualetti as normative models. It proposes that the influence of Libera’s models on Italian architecture has been overlooked and must be framed afresh within the broader historical debate on Italian “neorealism,” which, a few years later, would result in the “watershed” represented by early Italian postmodernism.

The INA Casa Watershed: Adalberto Libera and the Modelisation of the Collective

Pisu, Davide
Primo
2020-01-01

Abstract

This article discusses the impact of INA-Casa—the dominant Italian reconstruction plan that operated between 1949 and 1963—on Italian and international architectural debate. It focuses on the role of the so-called manualetti, a series of booklets that guided the designers of the INA-Casa programme. Published by the INA-Casa architecture office in 1949 and 1950 under the supervision of the rationalist architect Adalberto Libera, the booklets openly criticised rationalism and the international style in favour of a re-evaluation of vernacular and historical architectural characteristics. The article proposes a new reading of the second booklet, devoted to urban planning, analysing its structure and questioning its agency for the projects developed under the plan. It argues that its use of texts and images corresponds to the dichotomy between rules and models, as explored by Françoise Choay. The article delves into the notion of the model as the “imaginative tool” that makes urban planning possible, identifying the manualetti as normative models. It proposes that the influence of Libera’s models on Italian architecture has been overlooked and must be framed afresh within the broader historical debate on Italian “neorealism,” which, a few years later, would result in the “watershed” represented by early Italian postmodernism.
normative models; Italian architecture; normativity
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/317408
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