The Berlage Sessions: Davide Spina

Lezing / Debat

In the twenty years following World War II, Italy was gripped by a veritable building frenzy. Thousands of small developers and contractors worked at a breakneck pace first to restore, and then to expand, the country’s building stock. Rome was the epicentre of this activity, and the Rome firm Società Generale Immobiliare, or SGI, was its protagonist. Created in 1862, in the postwar period SGI emerged as the largest real estate developer and contractor in the country, with a staff of nearly ten thousand and a built portfolio of more than seven hundred schemes nationwide. Some of Italy’s best architects were often on SGI’s payroll—including, most famously, Luigi Moretti and Ugo Luccichenti. And, with the Vatican as its major shareholder, the company enjoyed unparalleled political, financial and economic connections, both in Italy and North America.

This lecture is part of The Berlage Sessions, a thematic Friday afternoon seminar series entitled “Architectures of Speculation,” which considers architecture’s historical and contemporary relationship to real estate speculation, from urban developments associated with nineteenth-century London, fin-de-siècle Paris, and postwar Rome; to land ownership, the spatial ordering of property, and buildings as financial instruments. Lecturers will include Gabriel Cuéllar, Patrice Derrington, Florian Hertweck, Forbes Massie, Andrew Saint, Davide Spina, and Alexia Yates.

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