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Encyclopedia > Angiolo Mazzoni

Angiolo Mazzoni (1894 - 1979) was one of the most brilliant and prolific Italian architects of the 1920s and 1930s. Mazzoni designed many public buildings during the 1920s and 1930s, among which post offices and train stations. He joined Futurism in the 1930s and co-authored the Manifesto of Aerial Architecture (signed also by F.T. Marinetti). Futurism was a 20th century art movement. ... The Futurists in Paris, February 1912. ...


Stylistically rooted in nineteenth-century eclecticism, he was never formally associated with any of the Italian modern movement groups. He had however powerful links to "seconda maniera" (the second wave) Futurism, with connections to the Viennese School of Hoffman and Wagner, and a deeply rooted classical instinct. Throughout his work, his stylistic approach vacillated dramatically, from the overtly bombastic and classical to the dynamically modern. In every case, his handling of composition, solids and voids, light and shade, surfaces and materials, was originally conceived, spirited, poetic, erudite, strong, and full of conviction. After many years of neglect by architectural critics, his legacy is re-emerging and he is being acknowledged as one of the most outstanding Italian architects of the modern period.


Mazzoni was an able political mover, and married the daughter of Mussolini's Minister of Communications, Galeazzo Ciano; he owed much of his great success and influence to his intimate connections with the Fascist regime. He played a decisive role in using architecture to consolidate a positive image of Fascism throughout Italy, as chief architect for the Ministry of Communications and for the State Railways—two key modernizing sectors of the Fascist rebuilding programs.


Trento's Railway Station

Trento's Train Station (1934–36).

A classic example of Mazzoni's work is the railway station in Trento, a city in the north-eastern Italian Alps, built during 1934–36. Trento had a special significance for the Fascist regime as the capital of the Alto Adige (Südtirol) region, annexed to Italy from Austria at the Treaty of Versailles after World War I. Mazzoni was born close to Trento. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1570x714, 239 KB) Trento (Italy) Train Station. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1570x714, 239 KB) Trento (Italy) Train Station. ... Trento (Italian: Trento; German: Trient; Latin: Tridentum; Note that many of the regions Italian languages/dialects use Trent or Trènt) is an Italian city located in the Adige River valley in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. ...


The Fascist regime engaged in a comprehensive program of public works, during the years 1920–1940, leading to the construction of many new public buildings, and Mazzoni was the architect of many of them.

Front Columnade.

Trento's railway station represents Mazzoni's interpretation of the functionalist style typical of the times; the building's continuous windows and dynamic structural lines also express the Futurist idea of speed and streamlining. The station stands out due to its innovative use of advanced building materials, including steel and glass and the use of several varieties of local stone. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1024 × 768 pixel, file size: 120 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Columnade of Trentos Train Station. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1024 × 768 pixel, file size: 120 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Columnade of Trentos Train Station. ... Functionalism, in architecture, is the principle that architects should design a building based on the purpose of that building. ...

The Main Hall (telephone booths and departures/arrivals panel are later additions).

The station offers platforms on four rail tracks and its design is intended to facilitate the flow of people from the street to the trains. Wide wood-frame doors open on the entire facade. A wide, shallow staircase leads to the underpassage to the 2nd and 3rd tracks. Spacious waiting space is provided under cover or indoor. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 536 pixelsFull resolution (1600 × 1071 pixel, file size: 286 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Author Giovanni Iachello. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 536 pixelsFull resolution (1600 × 1071 pixel, file size: 286 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Author Giovanni Iachello. ...


In addition to ticket offices, a tobacconist, a news-stand and baggage store, the station also provided office space for administration, restrooms, a restaurant and bar (today only a bar remains) and conference rooms and meeting space. Mazzoni was more than an architect. He also was an important interior and furniture designer, and all the components of his buildings, from wall decorations to brass door-handles and glazed screens, were designed by his office. The main hall of Trento railway station was decorated with large mosaics depicting the life of the people, and the natural beauties of the mountainous region around Trento. These depictions were typical of the time and served an educational-propagandistic purpose. Originally, the ceiling is said to have been painted light green.


Mazzoni's Legacy

All over Italy there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of large and small railway and telecommunications buildings by Mazzoni, still extant and functioning - a tribute to his mastery of robust, hard-working construction. That said, his relationship with Fascism has made it difficult for present-day Italian architecture culture to fully acknowledge his importance, and as a result many very important buildings by Mazzoni have been crudely altered or demolished in the post-war period. His own persisting Fascism, even after the end of the Second World War (when he left Italy for South America) did him no favors.


Of those buildings that still stand, a few are worth mentioning:

  • the boiler house, control cabin and personnel facilities at Florence railway station (1934);
  • the railway station of Siena (1933-35);
  • the railway station at Montecatini Terme (1933-37).

Recently, important academics and scholars (Ezio Godoli, Giorgio Muratore, Enrico Crispolti and others) have begun a rehabilitation process and a critical re-evaluation of Mazzoni. His archive is now kept at the Museum of Modern Art in Trento, and efforts are being made to ensure the conservation of his most important surviving buildings.


To date, (January 2007) the most comprehensive critical survey of Mazzoni's work is "Angiolo Mazzoni (1894-1979) - Architetto Ingegnere del Ministero delle Communicazioni", SKIRA, 2003.

An external hallway next to the platform.

Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 401 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1071 × 1600 pixel, file size: 254 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Author Giovanni Iachello. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 401 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (1071 × 1600 pixel, file size: 254 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Author Giovanni Iachello. ...

External links

  • More information on Angiolo Mazzoni
  • Manifesto of Aerial Architecture

  Results from FactBites:
 
Angiolo Mazzoni: Architecture in Motion, Italian Railway and Postal Building Architecture 1928-1943 Exhibit | College ... (375 words)
Angiolo Mazzoni (1884-1979) was an early twentieth century architect who designed over 100 projects and built over 40 major public buildings from 1920 to 1946.
Mazzoni, who trained in architecture and engineering, had a long and distinguished career as a public architect.
Mazzoni is distinguished from other early modern Italian architects in his alignment with post-war Futurism.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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