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Childbirth and Childbearing among the Friulian Peasantry Museums without BordersTraces. Ancient landscape in FriuliMonuments and Public ArchitectureSacred architectureThe architect’s housesThe Udine Regional Exhibition of 1903D’Aronco in TurkeyBiography of Raimondo D'AroncoRaimondo D'Aronco_Intro
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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.

The architect’s houses

 

Two of Raimondo D’Aronco’s first works when returning to his homeland in 1909 after his long and extraordinary stay in Turkey are the houses for his brother Quinto in Tarcento (1909) and Udine (1910-1911). This last building is of considerable importance, since together with the villas that are still preserved – D’Aronco’s house in Turin (1903), Djemil Bey’s house in Kireçbürnü (1903) and the former summer residence of the Italian Embassy in Tarabya on the Bosporus (1905-1906) - it represents a valuable example of D'Aronco’s contribution to the main theme of 20th century architecture, the single-family house, which became a field of experimentation for the search for new shapes. D’Aronco mainly challenged himself with the advanced architecture of Central Europe, but he was also familiar with English and American architecture, that of cottages and the Shingle Style, as well as relying on the knowledge of Ottoman architecture, gained by designing villas for cultured and cosmopolitan clients. According to D’Aronco, it is the composition of the plan to be the central theme of architecture, which in his view originates from within and then projects outwards.

As the architect states in a letter to engineer Enrico Bonelli, his appreciation for the arrangement of spaces in the Turkish house originated from the practicality and functionality he found in his own home in Arnavutköy, in particular what he calls “a vast hall”, a rather large room around which life in the house takes place. The room described is the sofa-divanhane, or the spatial and distributive node of the Ottoman house, and in the correspondence with Bonelli the comparison serves to justify a change to the plan of his own house in Turin. The most significant experiences take shape around the spatial theme of the hall, starting with the prolific English and American context that would later spread to Europe.

The application for the construction of the house in Viale Duodo is dated 1912, but the first project dates back to 1910 and of all the houses built in Italy, this is the one that is most reminiscent of the layout of the villas for Turkish clients. Although using elements learnt during his stay in Istanbul, the Udine house belongs to the design phase with an Italian imprint, which the architect was developing in the contemporary design of the town hall. On the same wavelength is the Casa di Quinto in Tarcento (1909-1910), with its oriental turret with the bulbous dome in which the spiral staircase acts as a vertical distribution axis, flanking the main staircase. The plans for Villino Zanuttini (Via Cairoli and Via D’Azeglio in Udine) are dated 1923, but it was not realised according to D’Aronco’s plans.

In 1924, the architect designed for Luigi Tamburlini the small villa that was to be built in Viale Trieste and demolished after a disastrous bombing in 1944. The project reveals D’Aronco as a garden architect and the tables of decorative details document the extraordinary care for decorative elements, an indispensable architectural element.

In his reinterpretation of Renaissance in a modern key, favouring the eccentric elements of Mannerism, D’Aronco designed the reform of Villa Biasutti in Villafredda di Tarcento (around 1924), inserting powerful rusticated pilasters on the corners of the building and to seal the central forepart, while for the house in Udine, he designed an annex on the side facing the new Viale della Vittoria (1924).

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