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Libera, Adalberto

Libera, Adalberto (1903–63). Italian architect, he joined Gruppo 7 in 1927, and was from the first involved with Rationalism which he sought to promote as the official Fascist architectural language. He exhibited at Mies van der Rohe's Weissenhofsiedlung, Stuttgart (1927), and organized the first exposition of Rationalism in architecture in Rome (1928). The Malaparte Villa, Capri (1938), was an interesting attempt to marry architecture to its natural rocky site. While he designed the Olympic Village, Rome, with others (1959–60), and a few buildings (e.g. Palazzo della Regione Trentina, Trento (1954)), nothing of his later years compares with the designs for the monumental Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascisto (Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution) held in Rome in 1932 and intended by Mussolini to promote a ‘contemporary style, very modern and audacious, without melancholy references to the decorative styles of the past’. The exhibition was influenced by Futurism and Constructivism as well as by Stripped Classicism, and had considerable influence thereafter, even into the post-war years. His masterpiece is the Palazzo dei Congressi, Città Giardino EUR, Rome (1937–40), and for E'42 (the exhibition planned by Mussolini for 1942, but cancelled) he designed a huge arched gateway which influenced Eero Saarinen for his Gateway to the West, St Louis, MO (1954), so much so that the Libera family threatened legal action.

Bibliography

Argan (1976);
Etlin (1991);
Garofalo & Veresani (eds.) (1992);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Rivalta (2000);
Seta (1978);
Talamona (1992)

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