House of Fascism

The Casa del Fascio on the beautiful Lake Como was to be a temple to Fascism.

The building was designed by Giuseppe Terragni. His use of marble surfaces inspired the Italian architectural writer Mario Labò to label Terragni’s work as Renaissance Rationalism. Elegant and durable.

Large glass doors open to the piazza and the atrium inside. Terry Kirk in his book The Architecture of Modern Italy explains Terragni’s love of glass.

“Transparency is a metaphor for the Casa del Fascio that Terragni proudly attributes to Mussolini. Fascism is a glass house, the Duce declares. In architectural terms this means clarity and honesty in construction.”

But I digress.

I’m fascinated by Mussolini’s need to pop himself on any large billboard he could find. Below is an image from Kirk’s book showing a photomontage created by the artist, architect, industrial and graphic designer Marcello Nizzoli (he designed the famous Lettera 22 typewriter for Olivetti in 1950). Terragni had suggested it would be a good idea to use the white space on the right of the Casa Del Fascio building to add giant photos of the VIP Mussolini. It didn’t go through but meanwhile we have this great little collage.

| Giuseppe Terragni, Casa del Fascio, Como, 1932-37, Photomontage by Marcell Nizzoli |

And it didn’t stop with the exterior. How about this interior mural by local Como artist Mario Radice?

| Mario Radice, Casa del Fascio, Mural |

And here is the ultimate image documenting the fall of Mussolini from a fascinating book called Iron Fists, Branding the 20th Century Totalitarian State by Steve Heller.

Glass houses.

| US Official Photo No 14154, Ignominy, 1944 |

Julia Ritson

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