“The construction of the city” in the vision of Giovanni Michelucci

Michele Moricci

PISTOIA  Of course, we couldn’t miss the inauguration of “The construction of the city” exhibition [25 March – 21 May 2017 in the Town Hall] organised by the Giovanni Michelucci Foundation and  dedicated to one of the Italian modern architecture’s masters. We take advantage of this event to rediscover – along with you – the vision and work of the architect Giovanni Michelucci following this retrospective that celebrates his creative legacy.

Giovanni Michelucci a world-renowned architect, craftsman, artist, writer and intellectual was born in Pistoia in 1891 and died in Fiesole in 1909. His experience in modern architecture started with the project for Santa Maria Novella Railway Station in Florence in 1932 and evolves in multiple complex and conceptual projects as the Church in Langarone (Belluno) and the Meeting Gardens at the prison in Sollicciano (Florence).

In 1982, at the height of his working life, he constitutes a Foundation with the goal of “contributing to studies and research in the field of urbanism and architecture focusing on social and community facilities” – based in his own home-studio in Fiesole (Firenze), known as Villa “Il Roseto”.


The exhibition, divided into four spaces, retraces the most significant aspects of his artistic path through a selection of drawings, sculptures, videos and photographs that trace a well-defined profile.

One of the curators, Alessandro Masetti, guides us through the visual itinerary that begins with the intense opening lithography of “The stranded ark on the rock“: a visual and pioneeristic reference of human society that is shipwrecked but despite the “limit” imposed by the rocks, it reconstructs a new path to restore meaning to life.

This neo-urban and yet social philosophy it is rooted in the architectural conception of the Tuscan master who will build upon it some of his – defined later – Michelucci’s archetypes.

The exhibition brings together some of his numerous sketches and studies in which Michelucci imagines a futuristic Florence with wide open spaces and over-layers, aimed at a collective dimension as, for example, the “tent” to which the structure of the famous Chiesa dell’Autostrada (literally “Highway Church”) recalls.


In the exhibition, from the futuristic and imaginative projects to the cycle of religious architecture, his designs come to life and evolves with the help of bronze models produced by his brother in the family’s steel-factory and, since the 80s, with playful pastels and markers colours visibile in the preparatory sketches.

Michelucci’s is a life-long reflection on human needs and existence. Men evolving into tree-pillar, banks, gardens and churches created to be experienced by everyone who needs it; a new way of making architecture that took inspiration from natural elements such as trees, stones, roots and animals and which occupies space in an ethical manner.

After long years planning, the exhibition “The Construction of the City” has started and it will be open from March 25th to May 21st 2017 at the frescoed rooms of the Town Hall of Pistoia. A unique opportunity to try to see and imagine our cities through the eyes and especially the mind of a pioneering figure of the modern architecture of Italy. 

Giovanni Michelucci - La costruzione della città



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