An architect's house from the 1930s

Luigi Figini designed and built this house in 1934-35. It is a programmatic summary of all the principles of modern architecture as dictated by Le Corbusier.

Originally published in Domus 99/March 1936


We recount some "statements" made by the architect Figini, which draw together, in synthesis, the concepts underlying the design and explain their meaning better than any other comment. "Building the anti-city in the city. A brief compendium of creation in man's dwelling. An elementary composition of objects that recur in the dreams of our desires.
New forms of collective life and action are among the "signs" of our era; but man also brings, and still must bring, to the four walls of the home, the desire for intimacy - a sense of irrepressible individuality - that has never been eradicated. Anti-barracks. In the house of yesterday "man forgot the immutable laws of nature and the counsel of light and shadow which regulate the course of events. He even forgot God ."
Create solitude around the sun, the green, the blue. Introduce them - "isolated" - in the house of man. The city imprisons, in chaotic amalgams, in unnatural reversal of values, the works and artifacts of man and the elements of creation: 70% walls and houses, 10% dust, 5% posters, 5% sky, 5% green, 5% sun. Eliminate, purify, isolate, reduce the "terms" of the city to human percentages, to other scales of proportion. "Frame" - with panoramic squares and rectangles - the sun, the sky, the wind (and the landscape if there is one: urban or suburban, mediocre or fragmentary) as they vary with weather, time, and season.
Compenetrate exterior and interior, continue interior spaces on the exterior, linking them, adding them together, confusing them. A house - a parallelepiped. Four walls and ceiling formed by a grid of unitary glass elements. Other four walls and ceiling made formed by grid of unitary shutter elements, overlapping the glass parallelepiped, boxing it in. Each glass element corresponds, through layering, to a shutter element.
The meaning of the house presented here: nothing but a "memo" (perhaps incomplete) of the minimum of material and spiritual needs that modern man must, or should, have satisfied in any of the n standard apartments within our large 10-15 floor apartment blocks our cities no longer sprawling. Creating the anti-city in the city, obtaining in a 10, 20, or maybe a 50-floor building what you can obtain in an isolated "memo" house, without substantially reducing the percentages of green, sun, sky. Absurd? No possible mathematical or spatial solution? Maybe. But maybe not."
The terrace-patio on the first floor in continuity with the living room as seen from above. The walls are in green terranova plaster
The terrace-patio on the first floor in continuity with the living room as seen from above. The walls are in green terranova plaster
View to the east of the terrace-patio on the first floor, separated from the living room only by a large expanse of glass
View to the east of the terrace-patio on the first floor, separated from the living room only by a large expanse of glass
A small peach tree, a rose and a hydrangea bush are the essential furnishings in this outdoor space
A small peach tree, a rose and a hydrangea bush are the essential furnishings in this outdoor space
The sliding glass door opens to the terrace-patio, creating an interior-exterior space which continues the living room’s green palette.  The furniture is made of aluminium alloy and black wood. The table top is pink glass
The sliding glass door opens to the terrace-patio, creating an interior-exterior space which continues the living room’s green palette. The furniture is made of aluminium alloy and black wood. The table top is pink glass
A black nube marble diaphragm  and a red velvet curtain deconstruct the living room space into dining and living areas defining the passage to the office space. The floor is in yellow-pink Lasa marble. The carpet is black, the walls light green
A black nube marble diaphragm and a red velvet curtain deconstruct the living room space into dining and living areas defining the passage to the office space. The floor is in yellow-pink Lasa marble. The carpet is black, the walls light green

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