LABORATORIO DI IGIENE E PROFILASSI
Via Gasparolo 1 - 15100 ALESSANDRIA (AL)
   
The health and prophylaxis laboratory in a vintage photograph
Source of photograph: M. Casamonti, p. 107
TYPE:
• Public service
• Health service building

CURRENT USE:
• headquarters of ARPA

HISTORICAL USE:
• hygiene and prophylaxis laboratory

LEGAL STATUS:
• property of a local body

PLAN 1937 - 1938
• Ignazio Gardella

BUILDING CONSTRUCTION 1938 - 1939
• Ignazio Gardella

“In 1934 the Provincial Council of Alessandria purchased a plot of land near the Civil hospital to build the Health and Prophylaxis Laboratory with an allocation of 470,000 liras. An additional amount of almost 200,000 liras was destined for the works in the following years, while the Provincial Antitubercular Consortium funded half a million liras. The job was entrusted to the Milan-based engineers Martini and Gardella, who were already involved in the design of the antitubercular dispensary on the opposing plot.

The new job involved the construction of a building that houses offices and technical structures of the provincial Health and Prophylaxis service. Between 1937 and 1938, the designers drew up the final solution that was built before Mussolini’s visit”.

(from G. Montanari, 1989, pp.29-30)

“The work, made of reinforced concrete, with three above ground floors and without any underground rooms because they were considered un-functional from a health point of view, was designed with the purpose to help the research and analysis work to be carried out in there, more than its public use, as it had happened for the antitubercular dispensary.

The need for a workspace that was rationally functional has conditioned the façade, characterized by the continuous glazing, whose uprights are placed in a modular fashion, so the internal partition walls can be laid out freely.

Also the prefabricated, 1.20-meter-long brick sheet walls are modular and are the reference unit of the entire building. The side facades are smoothly plastered, and the color and formal research pattern is the concrete framed glass block plaster that lights the staircase”.

(from G. Montanari, 1989, p. 30)


Modern architecture in the surrounding areas:
Opposite the health and prophylaxis laboratory is the contemporary antitubercular dispensary (1933-38), another work designed by Gardella. Continuing to the end of Via Gasparolo, one gets to the Spalto Marengo, on which stands the "Cesare Arrigo" Children’s Hospital, whose pediatric ward was designed by Gardella (1956-57).

Public opening hours:
The building is accessible during the office hours, but in general the building cannot be visited.

Useful information:
Telephone: ARPA Piemonte - Ufficio relazioni con il pubblico (U.R.P.) tel. 800-518800
E-mail: urp@arpa.piemonte.it
Web site: http://www.arpa.piemonte.it

Sources:
G. Montanari, M. Mantelli, Ritratti di architetture. Sessant’anni di attività di Ignazio Gardella ad Alessandria, catalogo della mostra, 23 gennaio-21 febbraio, -, Alessandria 1993
G. Montanari, Razionalismo in Alessandria. Città e architetture del “regime” , Dell’Orso, Alessandria 1989
S. Guidarini , Ignazio Gardella nell’architettura italiana. Opere 1929-1999, Skira, Milano 2002
M. Casamonti (a cura di), Ignazio Gardella architetto 1905-1999. Costruire le modernità, Electa , Milano 2006
S. Polano, Guida all’architettura italiana del Novecento, Electa, Milano 1991


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