Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our 4th Day Trip: East Genoa

For our fourth day trip, Giuditta took us to some important architectural sites throughout Genoa.  We came to our first destination via one of Renzo Piano’s subway stations, composed of bright blue steel arches that supported a glazed façade.  From here, it was a short walk to one of Genoa’s landmarks: the Viaduct Genova-Savona.  This massive concrete bridge was designed in the early 1960s by noted Italian engineer Riccardo Morandi and serves a high volume of daily traffic into and out of Genoa.  While the bridge is impressive from a distance, our up-close vantage revealed that the scale of the structure dominated the modest neighborhood below, completely disturbing the quality of the ground level streets below.

Coming back closer to the heart of Genoa, we next visited the hillside school Gioventu’ del Littorio.  This building was constructed in 1937 to educated young Fascists-in-training.  The current condition of the building was poor, and I’m not sure how much better it would have been 70 years ago.  Within our group, it fueled the debate of whether or not it is right to admire buildings that were built to support and perpetuate Fascism.  Regardless, there was hardly a proponent of this rather unfortunate building.  

From here, we walked down the hill to the soccer stadium – a large mass of a building that looks more like a warehouse than a symbol of the city’s favorite sport.  Conceived and executed in the late 1980s, the abstracted massing and painfully repetitive façade was not much to look at and seemed a lesson in why not to get caught up in the latest architectural trends.  Our trip continued into the historic section of Genoa, past the Oriental Market from the late 19th century, through the odd, triangular cloister and museum of Sant’Agostino, and ended at the Facolta’di Architectura – home to Genoa’s school of architecture. 

Overall, this was perhaps the most low-key of all the day trips, and though our stops showed some important buildings in Genoa, their importance seems to lie more in their historical significance than in quality, enduring work. 

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