Collegi di Urbino
Reportage on the Urbino University Colleges, by Giancarlo De Carlo.
Built between 1962-66 and 1973-83, the Urbino University Colleges (Collegi di Urbino) are among the most significant works of Giancarlo De Carlo (Genoa, 1919 - Milan, 2005).
Covering about 62000 square metres, they comprise 5 structures, separate and yet completely interdependent: Colle, Tridente, Serpentine, Aquilone, Vela.
The complex is conceived by De Carlo as an “organism in the form of a city”. Simple structural models - which visually repeat a material language made of exposed bricks walls, concrete beams and timber frames - interact with the topography of the area and reproduce a network of complexity, with its own system of internal roads and a gradation of private/semi-public/public spaces, that successfully resembles the ones of an organically grown settlement. Along with the exterior design, De Carlo spent much effort in planning interior spaces that would foster social relationships, conceiving a series of spaces, from public areas proceeding to the private lodgings.
The Collegi are currently facing a large number of changes, due to misunderstood needs of maintenance and new safety rules. Most of these interventions are being randomly performed.
The complex has been proposed for three years in a row as a case study for the Architectural Preservation Studio held by prof. Andrea Canziani (Politecnico di Milano).
This series of photographs is therefore part of a larger body of work, produced and collected over three years of work by Prof. Andrea Canziani, Dr. Margherita Pedroni and me, together with all the students.
As for today the documentation comprises hundreds of photographs, drawings and dozens of filmed interviews (made under the supervision of Chiara Ligi and Martina Rosa).
These photographs represent the Collegi at a significant threshold of their history.