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


  • David Franco Clemson University



Tiburtino, mimesis, simulacrum, quotidian, Ridolfi


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.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

David Franco, Clemson University

Assistant Professor History, Theory and Criticism

School of Architecture


ALONSO GARCÍA, E. Mario Ridolfi. Arquitectura, contingencia y proceso. Valladolid: Universidad de Valladolid, 2007.

Arquitectura italiana de posguerra, 2G, n.15. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2000.

AYMONINO, C. ‘Storia e cronaca del Quartiere Tiburtino’. In: Casabella continuità 215. Roma, 1957.

BAZIN, A. Qué es el Cine? Madrid: Rialp, 2014.

BEHNE, A. One-Hour Architecture (Eine Stunde Architektur). Akademischer Verlag: Stuttgart, 1928.

DELEUZE, G. Lógica del Sentido. Madrid: Paidós, 2005.

HOBSBAWM, E. ‘Introducción’. In: La invencion de la tradición. Madrid: Crítica, 2002.

LEFEBVRE, H. Critique of Everyday Life, The One-Volume Edition. London: Verso, 2014.

NICOLIN, P. Notizie sullo Stato dell'Architettura in Italia. Milano: 1994.

NICOLINI, R. (ed) Mario Ridolfi architetto 1904-2004. Roma: Electa, 2005.

PASOLINI, P.P. Una vida violenta. Planeta: Madrid, 1999.

PILAT, S. Reconstructing Italy. The Ina-Casa Neighborhoods of the Postwar Era. Surrey: Ashgate, 2014.

POTOLSKY, M. Mimesis. London: Routledge, 2006.

REICHLIN, B. “Figures of architectural realism. Part 1”. In Grey Room 05. New York: MIT Press, 2001

ROWE, P. Civic Realism. Nueva York: MIT Press, 1997

SITI, W. Il Neorealismo nella poesia italiana 1941–1956. Turin: Einaudi, 1980

TAFURI, M. “Architettura e Realismo”. In: L’avventura delle idee nelle architettura 1750-1980. Milan: Electa, 1985





Research articles
Received 2014-11-15
Accepted 2015-02-27
Published 2015-04-14