Slab, corridorSlab, gallery-accessSlab, point-access
Fiorentino, Mario ; F. Gorio, P.M. Lugli, G. Sterbini, M. Valori & others, R. Morandi (struct) | Rome, Italy | 1972-4; 1975-82
Image of Corviale
View of part of the south facade, note the complex section expressed in the building exterior.

ArchitectFiorentino, Mario ; F. Gorio, P.M. Lugli, G. Sterbini, M. Valori & others, R. Morandi (struct)
AddressVia Portuense/Via Casetta Mattei
Building TypeSlab, gallery access
Slab, point-access
Number of Dwellingsc.1600
Date Built1972-4; 1975-82
Dwelling Types2 & 3 br. flats
No. Floors5
Section Typeflats, double-loaded gallery
Exterior Finish
precast concrete panels, metal windows and blinds
Construction Typeconcrete panel system
Ancillary Servicesparking, shopping, schools, church, etc.

Corviale is one of the Instituto Autonomo per le Case Popularii-sponsored housing projects built on the outskirts of Rome in the 1970's as part of the 1964 regional plan to alleviate crowding in the older central city. It was conceived as an independent community for about 8000 people including, in addition to housing, other community facilities such as schools, shopping, recreation facilities and even a church. Built on rolling farmland southwest of Rome along Via Portuense, the route of the ancient road which ran on the right bank of the Tiber to the Roman port of Portus Traiani, Corviale is the 1970's manifestation of linear building ideas of the 1960's, the latest in a modernist legacy of linear cities and mega-buildings. An eleven-story high narrow slab of apartments nearly a kilometer in length, dominates this new lineal city, that steps along the crest of a hill. This huge segmented, inhabited wall contains about 1000 apartments and serves as a north-south datum that organizes the rest the other smaller buildings and open spaces of the complex. The site is approached from the east past some existing communities to a terrace level below the long linear building. Most of the support functions are located in this area as well as a long 5 story residential block placed diagonally to the slab. Other housing, schools, and support functions are located on steeper land to the west backing up to the big slab and opening out to the surrounding countryside.

Early studies for the big residential slab show a very complex stepped section, partially excavated from the hill. Recalling the "archeological sections" of Carlo Aymonino's Galaratese project in Milan of the early 1970's, these proposals combined circulation and dwelling types in a distinctive stepped form with the two sides of the building sharing a continuous interior void while terracing to each side resulting in large leftover volumes within the building mass. Part of the stepping strategy also involved the creation of a continuous horizontal pedestrian promenade at mid-building. Thus the long linear form is divided into segments vertically by the entrance towers and horizontally by the continuous, stepping public level at the 7th floor. The division between the upper and lower building zones is further emphasized because the promenade level is detailed as a recessed zone containing some larger volumes (meeting spaces, etc.) that extend up into the upper zone and because the upper four floors cantilever several feet forward of the lower zone so that the upper floors seem to hover above as though unsupported.

Organized as two linear buildings placed back-to-back along a series of long narrow courtyards, parking, tenant storage and the elevator lobbies are located in the flared base of the slab, a zone expressed by the metal sloping roofs over this part of the building. Five separate stair and elevator blocks divide this double slab into articulated segments and mark different entrance plazas and access to the upper levels. The next four floors contain 2 and 3 bedroom flats that back up to the court with a zone of baths, service and smaller spaces along the interior wall. Other stair/elevator cores in each segment serve two apartments per floor and have lobbies connecting from the entrance plazas along the East Side of the building. The 7th floor is a continuous level of apartments and shared spaces such as meeting rooms, tenant storage. This level connects to the main entrance towers and the separate stair/elevator cores. Because of the way the building steps, some of the public rooms, which are, located next to the entrance towers, have higher ceilings and appear to extend up into the upper zone of apartments. The top four floors have the same alignment along the interior courts, however, now there are the double galleries mentioned earlier,and the top four floors cantilever outward the width of the gallery creating a deep, inhabited cornice, 4 floors high.
The long block extending diagonally across the rolling land to the east of the big slab varies in height from 5 to seven floors. Dwellings here are 2 bedroom types that share repeating stair/elevator cores organized with bedrooms to one side of the building and living spaces to the other. The third residential element is the long row of maisonettes that occur in the 4 story west of the main slab.

Corviale, like other satellite communities such as Laurentino and Spinaceto that were built on the outskirts of Rome as the result of legge 167, and the Piano per l'Edilizia Economica & Popolare of 1964 , suffers from the lack of an adequate metropolitan infrastructure and it remains physically and spiritually isolated from the greater city of which it was intended to be a part. In recent years, the Rome subway system has been extended to some of the outlying communities.

Mario Fiorentino la casa Progetti 1946-81, Kappa, Rome, 1985, pp. 331-411.

Alessandra Carini, Mario Ciammitti, + others, Housing in Europa, seconda parte, 1960-1979, Luigi Parma, Bologna, 1979, pp. 384-5.

Casabella, no. 438, Luglio-Agosto, 1978.

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