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Luigi Moretti

Luigi Moretti

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Luigi Moretti
Business and residentian complex in Milan, between corso Italia and via Rugabella. Photo by Paolo Monti
Born 2 January 1907
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
Died 14 July 1973(1973-07-14) (aged 66)
Capraia Island, Italy
Nationality Italian
Alma mater Royal School of Architecture in Rome
Occupation Architect
Awards Antonio Feltrinelli Prize, 1968

Luigi Walter Moretti (2 January 1907 – 14 July 1973) was an Italian architect.


Education and academic career

He was born on via Napoleone III, on the Esquiline Hill, in the same apartment where he lived almost his entire life.[1][2] He was the natural son of Luigi Rolland (1852-1921), engineer and architect, born in Rome in a Belgian family, whose most important work is Teatro Adriano, and Maria Giuseppina Moretti.[3] He attended primary and secondary school at Collegio San Giuseppe - Istituto De Merode and from 1925 he studied at the Royal School of Architecture in Rome.[1][3] In 1929, Moretti graduated with honors, with a project for a college of higher education Rocca di Papa, where he won the Giuseppe Valadier award.

After degree, in 1931 he won a three-year scholarship for Roman Studies, established by the Governorate of Rome and the Royal School of Architecture. With this grant he worked with archeologist an art historian Corrado Ricci, in the arrangement of the areas east and north of Trajan's Market. In these years he also worked as assistant for the professorships of Vincenzo Fasolo (architect of Mamiani Lyceum and Duca d'Aosta Bridge, both in Rome) and Gustavo Giovannoni, at the restoration chair.[1][3]

Activity in building and urban development

Gioventù Italiana del Littorio (GIL, fascist youth organization) building in Trastevere, Rome, one of the firsts Moretti's notable works
L'Accademia di scherma (Academy of fencing) at Foro Mussolini, Rome (1936)

In 1932, Moretti entered in competitions for the town planning of Verona, Perugia, and Faenza, for which he obtained the second place. He also entered in a competition for a council house complex in Naples.[3]

The next year, after ending the university career, with Giulio Pediconi, Mario Paniconi e Mario Tufaroli, attended at the fifth Triennale di Milano with a project for a country house designed for a scholar.[4] In this year he also met Renato Ricci, at that time president of the Opera Nazionale Balilla (ONB), that, the following year, appointed Moretti ONB technical director, succeeding to Enrico Del Debbio.[3] In this role Moretti designed some of the youth centres of ONB and Gioventù Italiana del Littorio: in 1933 in Piacenza[5] and in Rome, Trastevere,[6] in 1934 in Trecate,[7] in 1935 a women centre in Piacenza and in 1937 another youth centre in Urbino.[8]

In 1937 he took over, the design of the regulatory plan of the Foro Mussolini (renamed Foro Italico after the war), where he created some of his masterpieces, such as the Academy of fencing and the Duce's Gym (both 1936) and the commemoration cell (of 1940).

His are also the major planner of the Forum, enriched in the 1937 with the square of the Empire and the Stadium of Cypresses (expanded in 1953 and 1990 of other architects to become the Stadio Olimpico).

Moretti's works were published in the journal Architecture.

In those years he participated in the competition for the construction of the Palazzo Littorio (Casa del Fascio), a project harshly criticized by the magazine Casabella and progressive Italian architectural culture in general.

In 1938 he participated in the design of the E42 (Esposizione 1942) later changed to EUR (Esposizione Universale Romana) standing for Rome World's fair. Moretti(with Fariello, Muratori and Quaroni) won the competition for the design of the Imperial Square (now Piazza Guglielmo Marconi). The large building fronting the square was never finished, but after the war the structures already constructed were used for the "Skyscraper Italy (Grattacielo Italia)" by Luigi Mattioni.

He served in that period, in private practice, thanks mainly to his friendships with members of the Fascism and journalists.

In the period between 1942 and 1945 Moretti disappeared from public view, to reappear in 1945, when arrested for his collaboration with fascism, was briefly imprisoned in the prison of San Victor, where he met count Adolfo Fossataro. After release, with him in November of the same year, founded Cofimprese company.[9]

The postwar period

House "Il Girasole", Rome, 1948. Photo by Paolo Monti, 1951 (Paolo Monti Archive, BEIC)
Complex between corso Italia and via Rugabella, Milan

With Cofimprese, he worked to develop house-hotel buildings.[9] The original plan was for 20 hotels which only three were built and made, before breaking up in 1949. Also in Milan for Cofimprese, designed the complex between Corso Italia and Via Rugabella[10]

The house Il Girasole ("The Sunflower") designed in 1949, and built in Rome in viale Bruno Buozzi (near via Parioli) in 1950, is one of the best known projects of the period, and is considered an early example of postmodern architecture.[11] The building is also mentioned in the essay by Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in architecture, as an example of ambiguous architecture, poised between tradition and innovation.[12] According to Swiss architectural theorist Stanislaus von Moos, the Vanna Venturi House, one of Venturi's masterpiece, in its broken pediments recalls the 'duality' of the facade of Luigi Moretti's apartment house on the Via Parioli in Rome.[13]

Then Moretti designed villas for illustrious patrons, including La Villa Saracena (1954)[14][15] in Santa Marinella for the former director of the Rome newspaper Il Messaggero, Francesco Malgeri.

Not only architecture

In 1950, he founded the magazine Space, Review of Arts and Architecture (published until 1953) to find a connection between different forms of art (from architecture to sculpture, from painting to film and theater), not by chance that the first issue began with an essay titled "Eclecticism and units of language". The journal was managed and written almost entirely by the Roman architect who made it come together in the results of his research and study on it wise public key, such abstract forms in the sculpture Baroque, discontinuity of space in Caravaggio and structures and sequences of spaces. Moretti was editorial director and editor. The magazine, printed in Milan, first by the printers E. Barigazzi, then by Lucini, was short-lived, with limited output of only seven numbers. In the decades after he released sporadically Moretti numbers, mostly monographs, in the magazine. In 1959, he released an issue dedicated to the sculptor Pietro De Laurentiis. In April 1963 published on the Space Structure of the essay collections and 1964 contemporary meaning of the wise words "architecture". And July 1968, an issue appeared in the essay Capogrossi dedicated to the famous Roman painter.

It was in 1954, when Moretti decided to found an art gallery, also known as space, in Rome. Moretti was also a close associate of the French art critic and theorist Michel Tapié, with whom in 1960 Moretti co-founded the International Center of Aesthetic Research in Turin, Italy, an institution that lasted until 1987, after the death of Tapié.[16]

Moretti's interest in art is also evident from the tendency to collect works, particularly of the 17th century (Seicento) and antiquity.


In 1957, he became a consultant of the Società Generale Immobiliare (SGI) for which he designed, among other things, the buildings at the head of the EUR. In the same year he collaborated with the Municipality of Rome and the Ministry of Public Works, working on projects for inter-municipal plan of Rome (never adopted) and the Archaeological Park, from which arose the controversy with Bruno Zevi and L'Espresso on the devastation of Appia.

Also in 1957, he founded the Institute for Operations Research and Applied Mathematics Urbanism (IRMOU) with the express purpose of continuing studies on the so-called "parametric" architecture, a doctrine which drew on the application of mathematical theories in the design planning. He studied new dimensional relationships in architectural space and urban area, relating to the design of the Built Environment, with mathematical analysis, like Le Corbusier had studied the Modulor and the golden ratio. These studies were represented in 1960 with huge éclat in the press, at the XIII Triennale di Milano.

In 1958, he later went on to design major residential neighborhoods, including the CEP of Livorno. In 1958 Moretti participated with Adalberto Libera, Vittorio Cafiero, Amedeo Luccichenti and Vincenzo Monaco in the project of the Olympic Village in Rome designed for the XVII Olympiad scheduled in 1960. The design of the village won in 1961 the Prix IN/ARCH 1961 for the best achievement in the region of Lacio.

Moretti was also general project coordinator for urban planning and design of the residential district "Quartiere INCIS Decima" in Zona Z. XXVII Torrino of Rome. Design team included Vittorio Cafiero, Ignazio Guidi, Adalberto Libera. This housing compound on behalf of INCIS (Istituto nazionale per le case degli impiegati statali - National Institute for Housing of State Employees) was partly realized between 1960 and 1966.

In this period Moretti had a significant influence on the work of the urban plan of Rome, which will be adopted by the City Council on 18 December 1962.

The latest works

In 1962, on behalf of General Real Estate, he designed the Watergate complex (that gave its name to the 1972 political scandal of the same name, in the United States) in Washington, and also the Stock Exchange Tower (Tour de la Bourse) in Montreal, Quebec.

In 1963, he again won the award IN/ARCH 1963 for best achievement in the Lazio region with the study design of two twin buildings for Esso (Exxon) in the EUR in Rome. In 1964, he was awarded the Medal for meritorious school, culture and art by President Antonio Segni.

In 1965, he began a fruitful relationship with the Consulting Group Le Condotte (later merged with Italstat), taking care of the design and implementation of resettlement Thermal Boniface VIII Fiuggi, the Metropolitana di Roma in the trunk by the Termini station to Via Ottaviano in Prati, opened in 1980. As part of the work on the underground in Rome, designed the current automobile and underground bridge open in 1972, named Ponte Pietro Nenni. Another work is the underground parking for two thousand places in Villa Borghese, which opened in 1973.

Participation at the International Conference on Michelangelo's Studies (1964) with the essay "The ideal structures of Michelangelo's architecture and of Baroque" led him to try a different creative experience - creating in 1964 an hour‐long biopic film about Michelangelo Buonarroti, "Michelangelo: The Man With Four Fouls", written and directed by Charles Conrad, subsidized by the Italian Government. The movie received the Lion of St. Mark's Art Film Prize at the Venice Film Festival the same year.[1][2][17][18]

In 1967-1968, he won the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize's Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei[19] and got the task of designing a Tabgha sanctuary on Lake Tiberias on the Holy Land. The project was approved by the Holy See but the work was not started because of the delicate situation between Israel and Palestinians which soon erupted into war.[1]

In 1968 he married Maria Teresa Albani.

The following year, in 1969 found a fertile market for jobs in Arab countries, especially in Kuwait (where he designed the headquarters Bedouin Engineering Club and Houses) and in Algeria (Hotel El-Aurassi and Complex Club des Pins, in addition to a number of schools and residential neighborhoods).

In 1971, he designed new buildings (with Vosbeck, Vosbeck, Kendrick & Redinger), for projects of General Real Estate, including the residential center in Alexandria, Virginia on the Potomac River, a residential center in Rocquencourt by Paris, in Montreal a new skyscraper as attachment to his previous 1961 realization of the Stock Exchange Tower (Tour de la Bourse). The same year at request of the Spanish Ministry of Information and Tourism, Moretti arranged a monographic exhibition of his works in Madrid in the framework of the International exhibition of construction and public works: he presented 21 works by means of photographs, models and personally selection of materials and their fitting.[1]

He died in 1973, due to heart failure while he was in the midst of his work.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Alessandra Capanna. MORETTI, Luigi Walter. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 76 (2012), Enciclopedia Italiana di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti/Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana (Treccani) (in Italian)
  2. ^ a b c Luigi Walter Moretti. Biography on the website of the Polytechnic University of Bari (in Italian)
  3. ^ a b c d e "Italy Central Archives of the State and Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Luigi Moretti Architect - Life" (in Italian). 2010-12-30. 
  4. ^ "Italy Central Archives of the State and Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Luigi Moretti Architect - Casa di campagna per un uomo di studio" (in Italian). 07-01-2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ "Italy Central Archives of the State and Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Luigi Moretti Architect - Casa della gioventù, Piacenza. 1933" (in Italian). 07-01-2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ "Italy Central Archives of the State and Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Luigi Moretti Architect - Casa della gioventù a Trastevere, Roma. 1933" (in Italian). 07-01-2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ "Italy Central Archives of the State and Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Luigi Moretti Architect - Casa del balilla, Trecate (Novara). 1933" (in Italian). 07-01-2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ "Italy Central Archives of the State and Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Luigi Moretti Architect - Casa della gioventù, Urbino. 1937" (in Italian). 07-01-2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ a b "Italy Central Archives of the State and Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Luigi Moretti Architect - Casa albergo in via Corridoni, Milano. 1948" (in Italian). 10-01-2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ "Italy Central Archives of the State and Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Luigi Moretti Architect - Complesso edilizio per uffici ed abitazioni in corso Italia e via Rugabella, Milano. 1949" (in Italian). 10-01-2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ "Italy Central Archives of the State and Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Luigi Moretti Architect - Casa detta Il Girasole" (in Italian). 2010-12-30. 
  12. ^ Robert Venturi, Complexity and contradiction in architecture, The Museum of Modern Art, 1977; p.22
  13. ^ Stanislaus von Moos, Venturi, Rauch, & Scott Brown buildings and projects, Rizzoli, 1987, p.244-246
  14. ^ "Italy Central Archives of the State and Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Luigi Moretti Architect - Villa la Saracena" (in Italian). 2010-12-30. 
  15. ^ Gio Ponti. Luigi Moretti architect. 1952, a villa on the Tyrrhenian coast: "La Saracena" in Santa Marinella, article originally published in Domus 483 / February 1970. (domusweb.it, Published 25 August 2016)
  16. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=UZ4Gu7a7V9UC&pg=PA591&dq=michel+tapie+luigi+moretti&cd=3#v=onepage&q=michel%20tapie%20luigi%20moretti&f=false Herschel Browning Chipp: Theories of Modern Art (1968), page 591; retrieved via Google Books, 2010-4-1
  17. ^ Museum of Modern Art To Resume Flim Series. The New York Times Archives 1964, Dec. 31, 1964
  18. ^ Luigi Moretti Dead at 66; Designed Watergate Complex. The New York Times Archives 1973, July 17, 1973
  19. ^ a b "Lincean Academy - Feltrinelli Prize". 2010-12-29. 

Further reading

  • Eleonora Carrano, Luigi Moretti.Architetto del '900, AA.VV. Moretti fotografo, pp. 211–218, Luigi Moretti in Algeria; pp. 457 – 463 ; Cangemi editore, Rome, 2012
  • Eleonora Carrano, "Luigi Moretti: dall'Italia all'Algeria" Industria delle Costruzioni n.400 Marzo-aprile 2008, pp. 73–84
  • Eleonora Carrano, "Luigi Moretti. Opere in Algeria - L'oeuvre Algérienne", Edizioni Prospettive, Rome, 2007
  • Eleonora Carrano, Luigi Moretti. Obras romanas, (Ediz. Spagnola) Prospettive Edizioni, Rome, 2006
  • Antonella Greco, Gaia Remiddi, Luigi Moretti. Guida alle opere romane, Palombi editore, Rome, 2006.
  • Eleonora Carrano, Luigi Moretti. Le opere romane, Edizioni Prospettive, Rome, 2005
  • Eleonora Carrano, Luigi Moretti (1907-1973). Girasole house and the Corso Italia residential complex in Metalocus n.14, Madrid, 2004, pag.84-91
  • Eleonora Carrano, Luigi Moretti. L'oeuvre romaine, (Ediz. Francese) Edizioni Prospettive, Roma, 2008
  • Antonella Greco, Gaia Remiddi, Luigi Moretti. Guide to the Roman works, Palombi editore, Rome, 2006
  • Ruggero Lenci, L'enigma del Girasole, Gangemi, Rome 2012. ISBN 978-88-492-2494-8.[1]
  • Nizzi Alexandra, Marco Giunta, Luigi Moretti. Balilla experimental house at the Foro Mussolini. The House of weapons before the House of Weapons, Aracne Editrice, Rome, 2006
  • Cecilia Rostagno, Luigi Moretti. 1907-1973, Electa, Milan, 2008
  • Bruno Reichlin, Letizia Tedeschi, Luigi Moretti. Razionalismo e trasgressività tra barocco e informale, Electa, Milan, 2010

External links

  1. ^ [1]

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