Rome Travel Guide

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Experimental House in Fregene - in Celebration of the Bauhaus's 100th Anniversary

This amazing Brutalist construction in the seaside town of Fregene, outside Rome, is not to be missed. Architect Giuseppe Perugini - who worked with 20th-century Italian masters such as Adalberto Libera and was fascinated with early computer-generated designs - designed this structure in the late 1960s as his summer home. His architect wife (Uga De Plaisant) and son (Raynaldo Perugini) also contributed their talents. Called "Casa Sperimentale" ("Experimental House"), it became a sort of salon for artists and architects in the 1970s and 1980s.

Only a few materials were used - reinforced concrete (hence the Brutalist name -  ‘beton brut’ – raw concrete in French), steel and glass. We saw letters and Roman numerals on the concrete and learned later that at one time Perugini contemplated putting the pieces together in different configurations; so they were each identified.

The stairway was designed to be drawn up, leaving the house almost suspended over a pool.

Raymondo recalled: "Being all three architects, it was a bit of a family toy, at the time of realization each of us proposed solutions and started discussions ... it was a sort of great laboratory ... imagine a scale model!"

Round pieces (perhaps a bathroom or kitchen here at right) and outbuildings (a "gazebo" at left)  add some contrast and softness to the dominant horizontal and vertical shapes (among the weeds now).

The house, also called "Casa Albero" or "Tree House," has fallen into disrepair since the older Perugini's death in 1995. It has had some fame with the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus (Walter Gropius, 1919), and there is talk of saving it, but I don't have my hopes up.

The property is now more a canvass for graffiti artists than anything else. See the guest house at right.

One can see the house only online or by trespassing (one of us is more willing to do that than the other - you can guess which).

The exterior property wall - designed appropriately - surrounding the parcel of land looked impenetrable (left), but we found an opening in one of the gates.

More photos and video here (text in Italian - use your Google translator if you don't read it).

Bill cited the house in his post on a Rome building.

Casa Sperimentale address: Via Porto Azzurro, 57, Fregene.

1999 statue, emphasizing the (to me)
charlatan Padre's hands. He supposedly
had the stigmata, but then why did he
buy chemicals at his local hardware store?
Besides the seaside attractions of Fregene, which we've enjoyed in prior years (although our Rome friends criticized then our choice of beach towns), the town has a nice cafe' or two, an immense pine grove park, and the requisite statue to Padre Pio.

And thanks to blog reader Giulia, who rents a home in Rome on VRBO, for suggesting this locale in 2016. Sorry it took us 3 years to get here!


The town is calm before the summer season heats up.

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