|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2012)|
|Born||2 January 1891
|Died||31 December 1990
|Buildings||Autostrada del Sole|
Giovanni Michelucci Italian architect, urban planner and designer was born in Pistoia on the 2nd of January 1891 and died on the night of 31st December 1990, two days before the completion of the hundredth birthday, at his studio-home in Fiesole, in Florence's hills, where established the headquarters of his Foundation. He had the good fortune to cross the 1900s with "a-long-life-one-century", providing us a valuable witness through his work always tended to open new languages and proposals, to understand the complexity of events, transformations, ideas that animated the twentieth century. He was one of the major Italian architects of the 20th century, known for notable projects such as the Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station and the San Giovanni Battista church on the Autostrada del Sole.
He came from a family owner of a qualified workshop for the artistic iron craftsmanship and his juvenile formative years were immersed in the craftsman world, after graduating from the Higher Institute of Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence. In 1914 he obtained the license for professor of architectural design; so he will teach at the Institute of Architecture of Florence, and will be Dean of the Faculty of Architecture in 1944.
During the war Michelucci built his first architectural work, a chapel on the eastern front in Casale Ladra, near Caporetto (today in Slovenia); later, many times, he will be forced to face the effects of civil dramas (the reconstruction of the center of Florence after the 2nd world war, the church at Longarone after the tragedy of Vajont dam, the plan for the popular Santa Croce district after the Florence flood in 1966).
After the war he left Pistoia and "Officine Michelucci" and moved to Rome. He met Eloisa Pacini, refined painter and pianist, coming from Pistoia too, who belonged to the same artistic milieu - where Michelucci played an important role of intellectual reference. They got married in 1928, sharing a strong social awareness during their life together. Life in Rome was experienced as an extraordinary opportunity to study the architecture of the holy city and to build new work experience.
His ability to focus the relationships with contemporary needs emerged in 1933 when, as coordinator of the Tuscan group with Baroni, Berardi, Gamberini, Guarnieri and Lusanna, he gained the first prize in the architectural contest for Santa Maria Novella new railway station in Florence with a work that won a recognized international value not only for the rationalist functional qualities but also for the quality of integration into the historical and urban context. He reaffirms the value of attention to the history of architecture and the desire to escape the rhetoric excitement, with which the rationalism thought to represent an era, always facing the modern architectural challenges far away from the feeling of belonging to a current architecture or blindly tied to one style. Between December '45 and January '46 he founded the magazine "La Nuova Città". In that period, from the observation of the rubble of the destroyed center of Florence, new strong reflections and drawings spread for the reconstruction of the area around Ponte Vecchio. These assumptions for innovative spaces crashed against the winning and elitist trend of reconstruction "like it was where it was" that will deliver a series of historical fakes responsible of future museification of the city.
The defeat of Michelucci’s thesis, innovative but lonely, is heavily reflected on his teaching at the Faculty of Architecture, whose he is the Dean. In 1948, in fact, Michelucci left the Faculty in Florence, and became a professor at the Faculty of Engineering in Bologna, where he remained until the conclusion of his teaching activity and where he found a more fertile ground for the development of his themes.
The first turning point work after the war, a small church in the countryside of Pistoia, is a manifesto against the rhetoric and focusing to human dimension, using the language of rural architecture in order to restore the main religious and civil meeting center of a small and poor community, marking definitively the real service role of architecture in his idea of “The New City”.
There are many works later made: social housing, workers' villages, public buildings, banks, churches, museum, social spaces for prison, hospitals, schools and many projects, always developed around the idea of a friendly, supportive, democratic community-city, where architecture is open to the city, people-oriented and far from disciplinary boundaries of styles and languages.
Having left painfully the university because of his age, he dedicated his work to rigorous research with which he prepared, lonely but not limited to, a new revolution in the language of architecture: the concept of space wherever accessible, the variable city, the refusal of formulas and technicistic or technocratic diagrams, a new relation between ancient and modern, also expressed combining stones, bricks, concrete, steel, glass and new materials used in architecture, but mainly in a symbolic way.
With the "Church of the Motorway" near Florence and the Church in San Marino Republic, during the 60s Michelucci completed the previous premises and fulfilled his design revolution, based on a search of uniqueness between structure and architecture, and a space developed as a architectural path.
Enthusiastic and tireless promoter of cultural initiatives and activities even in his later years, he participated with great passion to the fundamental issues of the debate about the city with always innovative unconventional positions.
In 1982 the architect, with Regione Toscana and the cities of Fiesole and Pistoia, decided to establish the "Fondazione Giovanni Michelucci" which he guided until his demise. He bequeathed his vision and values to the Foundation, that he wanted attentive to the social problems of the city and to the separate worlds of total institutions as prison, asylum, hospitals. He committed it to offer ideas and plans for action on urban chronic question, to reconnect separate spaces by a new design of the city, giving witness of a way of life and of making architecture that meet the needs of the people. The Foundation now also takes care of his archives, his works, his writings, his ideal heritage. The Michelucci Foundation was established to "contribute to research and study on city planning and modern and contemporary architecture, with a special attention to the problems regarding social facilities, hospitals, prisons, schools”. Today, the Michelucci Foundation is a relevant and innovative actor in research and planning on social habitat and on the relationship between space and society. The Foundation coordinates several projects and researches in partnership with local authorities and cultural institutions, developing programs and proposals to integrate the local policies on the most relevant urban problems: migration, housing exclusion, suburbs, urban security, health.
Info: FONDAZIONE GIOVANNI MICHELUCCI 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Giovanni Michelucci.|
|This article about an Italian architect or firm of architects is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|