250 the architecture of modern italy from these public showings qualified

250 the architecture of modern italy from these

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250 the architecture of modern italy from these public showings, qualified artists would be recognized and commissioned by an informed patronage.The city opened an architectural competition for the building’s design in 1878, and the state secured its funding in 1881.This was the first competition in which the idea of the appropriate style for the capital was openly addressed. Pio Piacentini’s winning project features a triumphal arch entrance between flanks of top-lit galleries that are laid out in such a way as to be fully functional even today. Statues of Italian artists from antiquity through the early nineteenth century stand on the parapet as forefathers in artistic traditions. Piacentini captured the grandeur and scale of the ancients in a building that serves contemporary functions. It was inaugurated by King Umberto I in 1883 in time to exhibit the entries to the architectural competition for the Palazzo di Giustizia. Two years later, the Banca d’Italia was erected, also on the Via Nazionale, to the designs of Gaetano Koch, the era’s most acclaimed architect. Koch’s greatest success was the national bank, built after he won a limited competition against Pio Piacentini in 1885. Koch’s designs had been preferred over Piacentini’s Florentine image because the latter alluded to the origins of banking among early- Renaissance Tuscan families, while Koch’s more generically grand, sixteenth-century classicism suggested a pan-regional identification. The bank has two distinct functions—official business on the left and public branch access on the right—and this duality was expressed throughout Koch’s design.The building was also equipped with the most modern technology, including elevators and air conditioning. Koch’s neo-Cinquecento handling is grander and richer, more vigorous and rigorous than Calderini’s and became a benchmark itself. Koch was also responsible for the Piazza dell’Esedra, a high- profile site at the top of Via Nazionale.With the introduction of train travel, this site had become the principal point of entry to the city. Koch’s generous sweeping arcades hearken to the Piazza del Popolo and the Piazza of Saint Peter, which it would now precede along one continuous crosstown thoroughfare.The strength of Koch’s design is its use of the adjacent Baths of Diocletian, in part revitalized as a national museum of ancient art. Most of Vanvitelli’s eighteenth-
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the challenge of tradition, 1750–1900 4.40 Pio Piacentini, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 1878–82 4.41 Gaetano Koch, Banca d’Italia, Rome, 1885–92 4.42 Gaetano Koch, Piazza dell’Esedra, Rome, 1888–89
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century facade was stripped off the Baths to reveal more of the ancient construction, though the church spaces inside were retained. The overall effect was again to reinforce the connection between ancient, modern, and ecclesiastical Rome.The fountain outside, however, was a different matter. Pius’s fountain was relocated here and cavalierly transformed with bronzes by the sculptor Mario Rutelli.A muscular youth wrestles with a big fish that thrusts an obelisk-sized spray into the air. Its mist glistens the flanks of
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  • Spring '17
  • Archt. De Veyra

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