piazzale valdo fusi, piazza carlina and aiuola balbo are three green
squares in the city center of turin (see
aerial photograph .pdf).
area which is known today as piazza valdo fusi was generally known
in the middle of the xviii c. as "crucifix block" - a
rectangular square owned by the catholic church. after the expropriation
of the church's properties by the french government at the beginning
of the xic c., the area was transferred to the state. in 1868 the
site was finally built up and completely transformed into a closed
block. it became the site of the city's royal industrial museum,
the history of which is linked with the one of turin royal school
of engineers and the polytechnic. the latter was located within
the aforementioned block from 1910 to 1943, when the whole area
was destroyed during wwii bombings.
of the surrounding buildings were also compromised. the nearby xvi
c. palace designed by morozzo della rocca and seat of the local
chamber of commerce since 1871, was completely demolished. buildings
on the other sides of the square suffered only minor damages: the
san sebastian block to the north (with the trinity costa carru palace,
and the xvii century "collegio delle province"); the san
vittore block to the south (with late xix c. houses and the hospital
s.giovanni battista, currently natural sciences museum, designed
by castellamonte in 1680) were intact. after wwii the block corresponding
to the piazzale valdo fusi remained un-built, while reconstruction
proceeded step by step on the neighboring sites.
1952 and 1957 the stock exchange building was realized in one corner
of the square based on a design by roberto gabetti, aimaro isola,
giorgio and giuseppe reineri. a competition was then held for the
rebuilding the chamber of commerce headquarters. the winning entry,
due to architect carlo mollino (with carlo gressi and alberto galardi),
was realized in 1969.
1964 finnish architect alvar aalto (with his then apprentice leonardo
mosso) were commissioned a design on the square by the late fiat
chairman giovanni agnelli. the project proposes a new multi-functional
center with hotels, offices and convention spaces. the offices are
positioned alongside the streets, while the hotel has it 150 rooms
facing a large garden. the project is based on the assumption that
the whole area will become completely pedestrian, with an underground
two-floor parking lot. the congress center is placed far from the
hotel, at the opposite corner near the cavour street. the project,
however, will never be realized.
1986 the square, then renamed valdo fusi, is used for public parking
at ground level. in 1990 the chamber of commerce promotes a study
on the site. different working groups analyze analogues projects
world-wide and submit their proposals. while rather different, all
of them focus on large pedestrian areas and possible connections
with the neighboring green plazas.
1996-97 the turin public transport company (a.t.m.) proposes a design
for a two-floor underground parking. apart from the air inlets,
the project does not take into account the design of the upper surface
of the parking. upon request of the municipality, a competition
is therefore called to complete the engineering design with a more
architectural solution on the surface. the competition announcement
refers to an "environmental re-arrangement project" aimed
at the "re-qualification and (..) re-evaluation of the square".
the goal is should be creating a green space with few emerging parts.
the winning entry is due to architects francesco dolza, massimo
crotti, and piero felisio (presented by valentino castellani, major
of that time, in the introduction
of the exhibition catalogue). in 2004 the underground parking is
officially open and in 2005 the emerging parts are completed.
carlo emanuele II (piazza carlina)
square between the roads accademia albertina and maria vittoria
has the name of duke carlo emanuele ii, son of vittorio amedeo i
and cristina of france; however, citizens of turin confidentially
call it "carlina". it is approximately 15,000 square meters
and was realized during the city's second enlargement at the end
of xvii c. based on a design by amedeo di castellamonte. the square
has been the site of the wine, wood, coal and hay markets. during
the french revolutionary government (1798-1814), a guillotine was
erected in it and many death sentences were executed.
monument to count camillo benso di cavour, italy's first prime minister,
stands in the middle of the square. this statue, erected in 1873,
was realized by giovanni duprè and it initially provoked
several polemics because of the underlying allegoric representation
(a trembling italy clinging to the count). important buildings and
palaces face the square: on the east side, between the streets des
ambrosis and maria vittoria, there is the guarene palace, whose
façade was designed by baroque master filippo juvarra in
1730. to its right, the so called "albergo di virtu'",
a religious charity for the assistance of poor children. to the
south side the bergia casern, former college of the provinces, designed
by bernardo vittone, as well as the santa croce church designed
by filippo juvarra in 1718. finally, to the west side, the palace
coardi di capeneto, by architect castellamonte.
turin ramparts' demolition between 1834 and 1837 allowed the realization
of a large green system called "giardino dei ripari".
the area was later partially built up and subdivided into three
green squares: maria teresa, cavour and balbo. in the center of
the balbo garden, where a monument of the venetian patriot daniele
manin now stands, there was a cafè called "la rotonda",
which was the center of turin's outdoor life during the warm season.
il piazzale valdo fusi a torino - per un progetto di trasformazione,
camera di commercio di torino, torino 1991
aavv, il concorso per la piazza valdo fusi a torino -
catalogo della mostra dei progetti, comune di torino, torino
vera comoli, torino (collana 'le cittą nella storia d'italia'),
laterza, bari-roma 1983
renzo rossotti, le piazze di torino, newton&compton,