Monuments and Public Architecture
The D’Aronco family moved from Gemona del Friuli to Udine in 1876 following the head of the family who had taken over an artificial stone and cement factory. In the same year, Girolamo’s company was entrusted with the task of overseeing the restoration of the Loggia del Lionello. Here the young Raimondo gained his first experiences, before enrolling at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice (1877), where he immediately stood out for his commitment and talent. From his earliest projects, his dedicated search for innovation was carried out within the framework of tradition, which the architect intended to revolutionise, using eclecticism as a tool of ars combinatoria, allowing him to range between epochs and styles. Thanks to his continuous drawing practice, consultation of texts and collections, participation in competitions and publication in national and international magazines, his work attracts increasing interest: “For art researchers, it is interesting, through the series of these and other drawings, to investigate the evolution of D’Aronco’s style; to see him move from classical forms to pointed arch, from Pompeian polychrome to the Renaissance, always struggling in the search for new forms and expressions in the field of architecture, and finally to see him arrive to that particular method that is specifically known with the name of its Author” (Daniele Donghi, 1891).
The boards of the competition for the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II are preserved in Gemona, the first important recognition for the architect who in 1887 was commissioned to design the new Town Hall in Udine, completed in 1930. The history of the project and the changes in the architectural language used enable to follow the evolution of the classical tradition from eclecticism to the geometric rigour of the Viennese school, to arrive at the “modern Renaissance” of the town hall. Had the plans for the Banca Cattolica del Veneto (1907) and the project for the enlargement of the Albergo Nazionale (1911) been realised, they would have configured a marked secessionist intonation in the urban fabric of Udine. The arrangement of Piazza del Ferro in Gemona as a covered market and pavilion for the library (1910), on the other hand, foreshadowed the turning point of the modern Renaissance of Udine's Town Hall.
The design of monuments is a constant feature that returns in the design activity and, if at the beginning the opportunities were offered by national contests celebrating the young Italian nation and the wars of the Risorgimento, at the end of World War I memorials prevailed: the Monument in San Pietro al Natisone (1918), the Faro Monument to be erected on Mount of Buja (1924-1925) and the work designed for the national contest for the Foot Soldier Monument on the Mount of San Michele (1920).
In 1914, a competition was announced among Friulian artists to erect a monument to commemorate the annexation of Friuli to Italy, an initiative promoted by the Friulian community living in Argentina, which had fostered a subscription of funds for the occasion. The selected site was the vast hemicycle outside Porta Poscolle, for which the architect proposed a triumphal column with signs of Roman military glory.
In 1920, D’Aronco studied the new interior design for the small temple of San Giovanni in what is now Piazza della Libertà, whose function is that of a memorial for the fallen of war.