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Nobile, Pietro (Peter) von

Nobile, Pietro (Peter) von (1774–1854). Swiss-born, he became one of the most important C19 architects working in the Habsburg Empire. Having acquired a taste for a rigorous Neo-Classicism when a student, he was in a position to influence style once he became Director of the Public Works Department in the Austrian port of Trieste, a position he held from 1807 to 1817. During his time at Trieste he designed the Accademia di Commercio e Nautica (from 1816) and other works, as well as restoring several buildings in Pola and Trieste. In 1817 he was summoned to Vienna to direct the architectural department of the Akademie der Bildende Künste (Academy of Fine Arts), and his austere Classicism made a huge impact on his students. When in Vienna he designed two significant Neo-Classical buildings: the Theseustempel (Temple of Theseus) in the Volksgarten (1819–22) and the Burgtor (Fortress Gate) in the Heldenplatz (1821–4). The former is a miniature version of the Doric Temple of Hephaestus, Athens, built to contain the sculpture (of Theseus and the Centaur (1804–19) by Antonio Canova (1757–1822), and the latter a massive gate (based on a severe design by Cagnola) giving access to the open space in front of the Imperial Palace (Hofburg). Unfortunately, the fortifications in which the gate was set were demolished in 1859, so the Burgtor is now an isolated structure. Other works by Nobile include the Potocki Chapel, Kraków Cathedral, Poland (1830–2), and the Casa Fontana (1827–30), Palazzo Costanzi (1838–40), and the Pantheon-inspired Church of Sant' Antonio Nuovo (1828–49), all in Trieste.

Bibliography

L'Architettura, i/1 (1955), 49–51, i/3 (1955), 378–84;
Hitchcock (1977);
Meeks (1966);
Middleton & and Watkin (1987);
Jane Turner (1996)

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