The Corviale Housing Project

Exhibit / September 15, 2016

Object Name: Corviale
Maker and Year: Mario Fiorentini for Istituto Autonomo Case Popolari, constructed 1972-1974
Object Type: Housing project
Description (Richard McKenna):

Known colloquially as the Serpentone (“big snake”), the Corviale is a vast housing development on the outskirts of Rome originally intended to collect some 8,500 inhabitants in three structures dominated by a single, kilometer-long, eleven-story block. According to architect Mario Fiorentini’s original conception, the Corviale was to be a utopian, self-regulating community meant to relieve crowding in the impacted city center, but after the construction company responsible for its realization went bankrupt in 1982, the project was virtually abandoned by the civic authorities. Much of it was squatted, and the various facilities and services with which it was to be equipped never materialized, despite multiple regeneration initiatives. It became a motley community unto itself, and is currently inhabited by a mixture of the economically disadvantaged and relatively wealthy private owners. Local rumor affirms that the Corviale is responsible for blocking the sea breeze, which had previously cooled the city in summer.

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