The southern backwardness, the so-called “questione meridionale” was a confused mix of problems already present when Savoy forces arrived in the South of Italy, for example, the high illiteracy rate of the bourbon state, an underdeveloped industrial system mainly supported by public and foreign assets and the absence of a local entrepreneurial class able to achieve manufacturing development. Therefore, the “questione meridionale” has been a crucial yet unsolved problem for the entire nation since the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Starting from that time several governments have attempted to find a workable solution through the support of specific institutions, mainly addressed to the advancement of industrialization. The “Cassa del Mezzogiorno” (Funds for the South) was one such organization that emerged among the initiatives to resolve this problem. The paper aims to connect these events in order to place them in the general scenario of industrialization promoted by Casmez. The goal is to identify the outcomes of the link between architecture for productive spaces and steel structures highlighting the role played by public institutions and private finance that have frequently intervened in this decades-long process. To this end a detailed study concerns a significant factory designed by Franco Sargiani in 1972: the distribution centre in Gioia del Colle. The building was commissioned by the northern company SIVAM and intended to house the storage and distribution of agricultural products. In this specific case, the use of a steel structure has represented a turning point in terms of the advancement of construction techniques, renewing the traditional building praxis of geographical areas where steel construction was not yet widespread.
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