By 1818 Pedrocchi had purchased his entire block and had the church next door

By 1818 pedrocchi had purchased his entire block and

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By 1818 Pedrocchi had purchased his entire block and had the church next door demolished to clear a piazza at one side.Ancient Roman remains were excavated from pits dug for his ice caverns, attracting speculation about a buried city like Pompeii. In 1826, after a first architect failed to match Pedrocchi’s vision, Jappelli was hired. Dismantling much construction, he reshaped the area for maximum accessibility and internal flow. Contrary to all other examples of the building type, from Fuga’s Caffèaus on the Quirinal to local rival businesses in Padua, Jappelli’s plan broke down the divisions of traditional rooms in favor of open, continuous interior spaces. Entrance porches made fluid connections at the ends toward the little piazzas to pull pedestrians off the street.The exterior elevations were simple in their geometric and planar classicism. Pietro Selvatico Estense, head of Padua’s Ornato board for public decorum, reviewed the plans and wrote,“one has to recognize in this building the rare merit of responding perfectly to its purpose without concealing them in conventional servitude to preconceived rules.”The Pedrocchi was full of practical gadgets, a showplace of modern technology: it was 131 the challenge of tradition, 1750–1900
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the first public establishment in Padua equipped with gas illumination and steam-run kitchens, an intercom between floors, and a special contraption—Jappelli’s invention—for preparing hot chocolate. Businessmen met at Pedrocchi’s in an octagonal ground floor room set apart for them. It was named the Exchange, la Borsa , or trading room.The caffè provided a place for any gathering for which the municipal hall or cathedral, the open marketplace or palace waiting room, the university or the brothel would have been inappropriate.The caffè was the new space of the bourgeoisie, a new democracy,“welcoming,” the management specified,“anyone whose honest life and polite manners assure conformity to civil society.”The Pedrocchi offered the opportunity to realize an autonomous and dynamic new expression for Padua’s evolving society. In no small part the result of Enlightenment and Napoleonic inculcation, it is significant that the caffè is a building type developed by private initiative. Pedrocchi was praised at its inauguration in 1831 for having taken such concern in creating an establishment from which society at large profited. The upstairs rooms were completed in the next decade as the “Casino Pedrocchi.” Catered soirées were held in rooms each of a different geometric shape and historical style.There was an Etruscan- style cloakroom; a Moorish ladies’ lounge; an octagonal hall painted with frescoes of Athenian themes; a round conversation room wrapped with panoramic vedute of the Roman Forum and the Column of Trajan; refreshment parlors in Egyptian, Pompeian, Renaissance, and baroque styles.At the center, a large Empire-style ballroom of white and gold musical motifs was dedicated not to Napoleon but to the Italian conqueror of the Paris opera stage, Gioachino Rossini.The simultaneity of historical styles is a distinct
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  • Spring '17
  • Archt. De Veyra

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