Gio Ponti. La casa all’italiana / The Italian House

In the first issue of the magazine Domus, which he founded in 1928 and edited until 1941 (and then again from 1948 to 1979), Gio Ponti wrote an editorial entitled La casa all’italiana [The Italian house].

The features of the Italian house, he argues, are distinct from the concepts of dwellings imported from Northern Europe. In particular, he points out the lack of distinction in Italian architecture between the interior and the exterior, both in forms and materials.
Also, the Italian house is not a “machine à habiter”, a machine for living in, as Le Corbusier stated in Vers une architecture [Towards an Architecture] in 1923. The Italian comfort “does not just consist in the correspondence of things to necessities and needs of our life or in the organisation of services”.

This talk will deal with the question of the “Casa all’italiana”, also in the light of the key role played by Ponti and Domus in the interwar years, appropriating of some of the European contemporary trends on domesticity, but also reclaiming the specificity of the Italian tradition and thus forging for it a specific identity.

Fulvio Irace is an architect and architecture historian. He is Full Professor of History of Architecture at the Politecnico in Milan and has been visiting lecturer and professor in several Universities abroad (such as Princeton University and the Architecture Academy in Mendrisio). He has been editor of the magazines Domus (1980-86) and Abitare (1987-2007).