CASA DEL FASCIO
Piazza del Popolo, 4 - 22100 COMO (CO)
   
   
 
Principal front
Source of photograph: Nodo libri Como
TYPE:
• Public service
• Public building

CURRENT USE:
• Premises of Guardia di Finanza

LEGAL STATUS:
• Property of a public body

PLAN AND CONSTRUCTION 1933 - 1936
• Giuseppe Terragni

A masterpiece of rationalist architect Giuseppe Terragni, the Casa del Fascio (presently also known as Palazzo Terragni) had complex origins, with an initial project in the 20th century style and a thoroughly strict and essential final achievement. The building, definitely against the trend of rhetorical Case del Fascio of many Italian towns, stirred up debates and disagreement, and was also accused of copying contemporary foreign buildings.
After World War II, it served as the headquarters of democratic parties and several associations. It has been the headquarters of the local offices of the Guardia di Finanza (Italian Tax Police) since 1955.

The building is a perfectly regular, square-based prism whose height is half the base length, which measures 32.20 m. The strict plan would suggest an explicit mock-classical architecture, but attempts to search for a dynamic balance between the volumes and voids of the fronts, partly using large glass areas that connect the inside and the outside. The principal front is a large, full, vertical rectangle.
A large grid formed by the 20 empty rectangles of the balconies protrudes from this front. Also the other fronts are characterized by an asymmetric pattern, each establishing its own link with the town. The entrance glass wall, made up of 18 French windows, brings the facing square indoors, while the many glass surfaces characterizing the whole building frame and bring indoors various views of the town, including the cathedral, which can be seen from four different angles. The entrance opens on the central hall, a sort of covered courtyard overlooked by the Directory room, the offices and the landings. Light floods in divided in separate beams, which become larger where the rooms so require. The feeling of closeness is overcome by the use of light, which, constantly controlled and adjusted, gives continuity to the inner space and, at the same time, strengthens the relationship between inside and outside. Terragni also designed the furniture: chairs, armchairs and shelving, as well as details such as handrails, doors, windows and shutters, staircases and bathrooms. The result is a unicum, where each detail is an architectural item taking part in the life of the whole; the pattern of a table is the same as the pattern of the building. Furnishings are designed to be reproduced, and this is something new for that time: until then, architects-designers had designed mostly interiors of houses. Here, objects mix walnut, oak, beechwood or pinewood with tops in grey, green, white, black, and blue opal glass. Mario Radice was commissioned to design the chandelier in the reception room on the first-floor and some panels decorated with images of political propaganda, which are now lost.

How to get there:
By car: autostrada dei Laghi A9, exit Como Sud (Grandate), continue towards Como Centro (cathedral).
By train: FFS Como San Giovanni station (P.le San Gottardo), continue on foot (about 10ĺ) towards the town center; Ferrovie Nord Milano station (Borghi station- Como Nord Lago station), continue on foot (about 10ĺ).

Modern architecture in the surrounding areas:
FNM, Como Borghi station; Quartiere Razionalista Como

Useful information:
Telephone: 031.242252

Sources:
Alberto Artioli, Giusepe Terragni: la Casa del fascio di Como, guida critica all'edificio, descrizione, vicende storiche, polemiche, recenti restauri, Betagamma, Milano 1989
Luigi Cavadini, Il Razionalismo Lariano, Como 1926-44, Electa, Milano 1989
Giorgio Ciucci (a cura), Giuseppe Terragni, Electa, Milano 1996
Sergio Poretti, La Casa del fascio di Como, Carrocci, Roma 1998
Ada Francesca Marcian˛, Giuseppe Terragni: opera completa 1925-1943, Officina, Roma 1987
Bruno Zevi, Giuseppe Terragni, Zanichelli, Bologna 2005


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