Ludovico Quaroni. Drawings and sketches for Barene di San Giuliano, Mestre

Ludovico Quaroni. Disegni e schizzi

1 December 2011 – 18 March 2012
Archives Centre Study Room

On the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Ludovico Quaroni, one of the leading architects and planners of the second half of the 20th century, the Fondazione Adriano Olivetti, the Fondazione MAXXI and the National Planning Institute are promoting a series of initiatives commemorating this illustrious figure.

In the room devoted to the MAXXI Architettura archives, MAXXI is housing an exhibition featuring a number of drawings for the architectural competition for the Barene di San Giuliano quarter in Mestre. The exhibition presents a selection of materials from the Ludovico Quaroni Collection held by the Fondazione Adriano Olivetti.
On the occasion of the exhibition a day workshop will be held in which the Quaroni Collection and the relative plans for its valorization will be presented.


In 1958, the CEP (Coordinamento dell’Edilizia Popolare ) called for a national competition for a residential district in Venice-Mestre. The competition asked architects and urban planners to test their abilities by designing a neighbourhood in the developed industrial area of Marghera-Mestre-Venice triangle.
The group was composed of Massimo Boschetti, Adolfo De Carlo, Gabriella Esposito, Luciano Giovannini, Aldo Livadotti, Luciana Manozzi, Alberto Polizzi and Ted Musho and was coordinated by Ludovico Quaroni. The proposed project represented a significant transformation in the Italian architectural and urban planning culture in terms of scale and architectural language.


The new development is in a visual dialogue with the city of Venice and the lagoon, measuring itself with the historical city in a new way: 47,000 rooms on an overall district surface area of 190 hectares, which grows denser around the hemicycles of the business district. The “plazas” reach sizes of 400 metres in diameter and heights varying from 9 to 13 to 16 storeys. The sketches and drawings by Quaroni’s group are devoted in particular to the study of the hemicycles of the business district.


URBAN VISIONS/ The new satellite city is characterised by an intense life and economic activity. The hemicycles and large plazas, with bars, restaurants, wharfs, are the privileged elements of the representation of the future modern city. The long section on the pedestrian axis of one of the urban units shows the method of the experimented project: the criteria of formulating standard types are established together with the creation of the collective facilities and the characteristics of the dwellings, built according to a modular, flexible construction system. According to this method, architecture defines the structural (social and formal) organism of the whole district.

The infrastructures delineate the perimeter of the city going through it. The satellite city is divided in two districts, west and east, and each district into three or four units. The units are divided into smaller parts, following the urban planning criteria of the time. The single units of the satellite city (from I to VII) are the result of a study, in particular of the natural forms made by György Kepes – known by Quaroni – which establishes more than a simple visual analogy.

Each building type is devised to be regulated, with the exception of types A, F, G, J, which can be used for the most visible buildings on the urban skyline, to become offices and hotels. Grouped together in schemes – in clusters, in line, linked, with towers, in circles – they represent, on the one hand, the basic structure of the satellite city and, on the other, the key elements of the urban design approach of the group coordinated by Quaroni.