Rome Travel Guide

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Soviet-style architecture--in Rome!

We found this covered structure--the entrance to a driveway--in Parioli, not far from Piazza Euclide and the church Dianne doesn't like [Sacro Cuore Immacolato di Maria, architect Armando Brasini, erected 1923-51; he also designed a failed church in Buffalo].  The structure is a curious bit of architecture, unlike anything else we've seen in Rome--even, perhaps, unique to Rome.  It belongs to architecture's difficult, and now and then, awkward, stage, one that begins in about 1955 and runs through, say, 1980.

But it's not the awkwardness that attracted us.  We were immediately reminded of the Soviet bus stops featured in Christopher Herwig's delightful book, Soviet Bus Stops (Fuel, 2015), and those taken by our friend Corbin Smith on a recent sojourn in Central Asia. The "K" could stand for Kremlin.

The bus stops--in Kazakhstan, Moldova, Lithuania, Armenia, and 10 other provinces--were built from the late 1960s to the 1980s--what one scholar has called "a time of monotony in architecture."  Even so, there was some room for creativity, for a playfulness that allowed for new angles and approaches --and, inevitably, for occasional awkwardness.  Note the optimistic turn upward in all of the structures, including the one in Rome.

Maybe one of those Soviet architects--one with plenty of rubles--found a way to Parioli.


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