Simulated scenography of the collective: Mimesis and simulacrum at the Quartiere Tiburtino

David Franco


The goal of this paper is to examine critical practices of residential architecture in Southern Europe that appeared during a period of economic instability –the post- war in the mid-twentieth century-, and that may provide useful elements for re-thinking housing models during the current context of crisis. To do so, I have studied the Quartiere Tiburtino in Rome, one of the most influential housing developments of Italian-neorealism, from an expanded cultural perspective, understanding it as an design exercise that recovers the realm of everyday life for architecture, through the pre-modern concept of mimesis and, simultaneously, incorporating the notion of the simulacrum as a legitimate cultural construction. I have examined in detail the various mimetic processes -linguistic, technological and typological-, through which the Quartiere Tiburtino deals with the living conditions of urban immigrants from rural areas of Italy; and the creation of a social simulation of great complexity -the invention of a shared urban identity for the new inhabitants of the neighborhood, which becomes the most significant contribution of the project to the debate about the possibilities of architecture as a social and politically engaged practice.


Tiburtino; mimesis; simulacrum; quotidian; Ridolfi

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