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Albini, Franco

Albini, Franco (1905–77). Influential Italian architect, born near Como, Albini rose to eminence in the 1930s. His first important building was the Pavilion for the Istituto Nazionale della Assicurazione at the Milan Congress (1935). He established a reputation as a designer of exhibitions and displays, and had considerable success with his Fabio Filzi communal housing project in Milan (designed with Renato Camus and Giancarlo Palanti, 1936), which won the silver medal at the Paris International Exhibition (1937). After the 1939–45 war his renovation of the Palazzo Bianco Museum (1950–61) and the Tesoro di San Lorenzo (1952), both in Genoa, brought him new fame. His remarkably sophisticated Department Store, La Rinascente, Piazza Fiume, Rome (with Franca Helg), of 1957–62, suggested elements (e.g. the crowning cornice) of a Renaissance palazzo, although the construction was a matt-black steel frame with reddish infill panels.

From 1945–6, with Giancarlo Palanti, he was editor of the influential Italian architectural journal Casabella, and for a long period was a member of CIAM. His work was various and eclectic, and reflected the independence of Italian designs from the tyrannies of Modernist orthodoxy.

Bibliography

Albini (1981);
Lampugnani (ed.) (1988);
Leet (ed.) (1990);
Malave (1984b);
Moschini (1979a);
Piva (1998);
Ro Prodi (1996)

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