Encounters, Writings, Domesticity, and Places: Evolving Interpretations of Giancarlo De Carlo’s Legacy


  • Antonello Alici Politecnic University of Marche
  • Filippo De Pieri Politecnico of Turin




The reasons for dedicating a monographic HPA issue to Giancarlo De Carlo lie primarily in the hope that the centenary of his birth can revive interest in a protagonist of the history and culture of the 20th century. The idea of a call for papers was born within the Committee for the Centenary that was established in October 2018 at the National Academy of San Luca, an institution which De Carlo was president of in 2001-2002. The centenary has given rise to numerous projects that have alternated and intertwined in a free spirit that reflects the character of Giancarlo De Carlo. The initiative responded to the need to reflect once again on a very complex and layered legacy, both in time and in space, to be shared with the latest generations of architects and students in a dialogue between witnesses and collaborators of GDC and those who are getting to know him for the first time.[1]

Until some time ago, examining Giancarlo De Carlo meant delving into studies on a troublesome figure, observed with suspicion in many university classrooms and the subject of a limited number of studies.[2] The fact that the situation has changed in the years following his death is demonstrated both by the numerous initiatives dedicated to him and the collection of essays published in this issue of HPA. Indeed, the texts that follow document the strong interest that De Carlo's trajectory has inspired in contemporary architectural culture, along geographical pathways that have a strong international dimension, outlining a legacy that touches both the plane of theoretical research into architecture as well as that of the spatiality of his buildings, not to mention a political and ethical commitment to the transformation of the environment.

This issue has a dual origin. On the one hand, the call published in March 2019, which sought to collect wide-ranging studies “capable of broadening the palette of existing interpretations and re-conceptualizing De Carlo’s contribution to postwar architecture”: our text welcomed “direct investigations of built and unbuilt works that were overlooked by previous studies” and papers focusing “on a close analysis of available archival sources”. On the other hand, some results of the international day of study promoted by the Department of Architecture of the University of Bologna at the National Academy of San Luca on 13 November 2019 (“Giancarlo De Carlo at 100”). Papers presented on that occasion are collected in the opening section.

The texts gathered from these two initiatives document the strong continuity over time of some research topics concerning De Carlo but also their inflection in specific directions and the emergence of issues hitherto rarely frequented by the literature. In particular, it seems to us that three key concepts emerge: domesticity, the role of writing, the space for meetings and exchanges. These are complemented by a fourth cross-cutting theme, that is, the importance of places. In many ways this is a schematic distinction that captures points of interest that often overlap and intertwine. However, it may be useful to discuss it in more detail, also because it lends itself well to contextualising the collection within a broader context of recent initiatives focused on De Carlo.

[1] A map of the main initiatives organised in 2019 as part of the centenary can be found on the website https://www.giancarlodecarlo2019.com.

[2] Bibliographies of the writings on Giancarlo De Carlo until 2004, the year of the exhibition dedicated to him at the Centre Pompidou, can be found in John McKean, Giancarlo De Carlo: Layered Places, Stuttgart, Axel Menges, 2004; Francesco Samassa (ed.), Giancarlo De Carlo. Inventario analitico dell 'archivio, Padua, Il Poligrafo, 2004.


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How to Cite

Alici, A., & De Pieri, F. (2020). Encounters, Writings, Domesticity, and Places: Evolving Interpretations of Giancarlo De Carlo’s Legacy. Histories of Postwar Architecture, 2(5), 4–12. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.2611-0075/11370