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Contemporary Architecture in Bologna

Updated on 04 March 2020 From Comune di Bologna

Bologna displays its pioneering spirit even within the urban fabric, marked by a blending of past and future perfectly reflected in its architecture.

Setting off from the old city centre in Via Rizzoli, we can admire a fine example of art nouveau construction in one of Bologna's first department stores, Casa Commerciale Barilli, built by architect Leonida Bertolazzi in 1906-07. Continuing towards the railway station, on Via Marconi, we encounter several buildings from the 1930s, Bologna's testimony to its fascist past. These include, respectively, Palazzo del Gas, also known as Palazzo Faccetta Nera, Palazzo Lancia and the former Casa del Contadino with its original wall reliefs. The quadrilateral Piazza dei Martiri, junction point between Via dei Mille and Via Irnerio, dates back to the same period; the latter also hosts the spectacular marble and granite façade of the historical headquarters of Zanichelli Publishing House, designed in 1938 by architect Luigi Veronesi.

Opened in 1935 following a design by architect Giuseppe Vaccaro, the new headquarters of the Scuola degli Ingegneri (School of Engineers) in Viale Risorgimento enjoyed the recognition of the Duce in person, who qualified it as adhering to the 'new Italian architecture'. Over the following years, from the 1950s to the 1960s, major architectural and town-planning interventions were carried out in Bologna's exhibition centre, featuring the imprint of illustrious architects such as Japanese architect Kenzo Tange and French architect Le Corbusier in the reproduction of the Pavilion of "l'Esprit Nouveau". In the 1970s, on the other hand, the university district was instead restored to its medieval forms in conjunction with contemporary architectural interventions articulated in the area's urban plan, epitomised, among others, by the Luigi Bombicci Museum.

Leaping forward to the 2000s, the current Manifattura delle Arti and the neighbouring area were involved in a project of intense urban regeneration entrusted to architect Aldo Rossi who, inter alia, revamped the Art Nouveau façade of the former Manifattura Tabacchi, now home to the famous Cineteca di Bologna. Noteworthy is also the MAST Foundation complex built in 2005 and representing a city within a city where business, territory and community are engaged in a continuous dialogue. The building stands on the outskirts of Bologna, in the Reno district, and was designed to redevelop a disused industrial area.

  Download the information leaflet about Bologna's contemporary architecture

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