Ratiocinium in the Architectural Practice of Giuseppe Terragni and its role in the relationship between architecture and the city during the modern movements in Italy

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Virginia Tech

The architectural practice of Giuseppe Terragni (1904-1943) takes place during the twentieth century modern social movements, as architecture and urban form follow a major shift in the political conditions, in Italy and beyond. This dissertation is a demonstration of the quest for the rational in the architectural practice of Giuseppe Terragni. Furthermore, it sorts out the role of Terragni's practice in the dichotomous relationships between city and architecture as well as state and project. Initially, it is the obligation of this dissertation to address questions of principles, in order to build a plenum for the relationship between the city and architecture. It traces movements through translation and transformation of architectural impression, in form and type, and its meta in concinnity, in terms of legacy, legitimacy, and the rational in idea.

THESIS. The implicit rational in architecture exists in hierarchical order that allows for it to form unity of the whole that any of its constituents cannot form individually. It should be the architect's duty to fully reconcile all the elements in action – for and against form – in architecture, and demonstrate that the resultant is not a mere compromise but a necessary optimal condition. Therefore, I start with a stance in which I attempt to show how Giuseppe Terragni, in his ratiocinium, explicates the implicit rational in architecture, against the sea of protean political conditions.

Giuseppe Terragni can be understood in his convictions which we may be able to sort out through his words, works, and deeds. In his pursuit of the rational Giuseppe Terragni offers a clue to the time and actions taking place, as if he were to remind us of the Homeric song about the deeds of men with convictions under their destiny and their ironic tragicomedy. Terragni's Danteum is the one instance where destiny seems closer to fulfillment. Dante Alighieri's dream of the glorious empire seems to materialize in the signs of the monarchy and its savior – Mussolini. Since the fascist movement concerns itself with questions of legitimacy that in lineage shifts between histories of origins and middles, the shifting in language plays an important role in the sorting out of factum and verum. Languages that enter into this play shift laterally mainly between Greek, Latin, and Italian. And, at times Dardanian and Proto-Albanian, both Illyrian dialects, enter the play.

METHOD. Many aspects of this inquiry demand specific research methods as shown through the general and specific instances of man's activity as work which results in that which is made (factum) and the pursuit of that which is true (verum). Therefore, method in the sense of search for the way concerning purpose in what is made is conducted through istoria and historiography. Meanwhile, the search for truth, as it does not concern itself with the same scope as factum, requires philosophy as means towards knowledge, to sort out questions regarding truth. This dissertation follows certain Italian philosophers as guides in the pursuit. Not the least among them is Giambattista Vico who proposes that universal laws of development of men and society can be traced through the union between verum and factum. So, verum and factum become characters of the same play. Philology, love for reason, as a subspecies of philosophy, is a means toward knowledge in unraveling of the layers of the rational in the making. Additionally, in this inquiry, I employ analogies, diagrams, ideograms, and images, which demonstrate the quest for the rational in the architectural practice of Giuseppe Terragni.

logos, type, rational, spirit, form