The Italian heritage of sanatorium architecture is the result of the development of a wide social program which began after the unification of the country and found its greatest growth in the 1930s. The issue of health as everyone's right and new medical improvements led to significant changes in health systems and in the construction of hospitals and, in particular, of sanatoria that were built for the treatment of an endemic disease, tuberculosis. In 1900 the 1st Italian Congress of Tisiology promoted a competition for the design of a sanatorium for poor people; as a result, some young physiologists undertook to build various sanatoriums. To this end, they hired some designers who applied on this occasion the guidelines proposed in specific manuals and publications of the time. The main types they used were single buildings or pavilions, both characterized by the presence of "care verandas". Only in 1916, however, a first national building plan began thanks to a substantial loan from Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, the investment bank of the Italian government; a second plan followed in 1927 and was inspired by a building standardization process, addressed to define the sanatorium as an economic and reproducible architectural typology, according to previous Italian and European experiences. In the operational framework promoted by the two plans, the National Fund for Social Insurance started what Piacentini called “a large site of sanatoria”, with the construction of 425 buildings for the care of tuberculosis. This heritage, spread throughout the nation, was the subject of a quick and perhaps hurried judgment of functional inadequacy which decreed progressive and prevalent decay process, as buildings located in Abruzzo region proved, such as the sanatoria "Alessandrini Romualdi" and "San Camillo De Lellis", respectively in Teramo and Chieti, and the Marine Hospice in Giulianova. Starting from the reconstruction of events of the national sanatorium program, the essay aims to describe the history of this regional heritage which, together with the colonies, is a significant sign of modern architecture in Abruzzo, or rather of its modernist variations. The essay also aims to outline strategic guidelines that could be useful to foster a regenerative and resilient restoration project with a view to active conservation.
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