Rosta Nuova neighborhood

Place: Reggio Emilia, Piazza Pablo Neruda

Authors: Franco Albini, Franca Helg, Enea Manfredini

Chronology: 1956 | 1961

Itinerary:  Building houses, making cities

Use: Houses and shops

The Rosta Nuova neighborhood, on the southern edge of the city of Reggio Emilia, testifies to all the residential characteristics and quality of the public space typical of the INA-Casa Plan: the clear urban design is consistent with the Italian construction and typological tradition. It features a strong dimensional, figurative and material rooting in the specific context, a great attention to the relationships between spaces in relation to the inhabitants’ quality of life, and an extreme attention to architectural detail.

The staggering of the buildings, which are continuous along the main road, highlights the goal of giving life to a part of the city where architecture is meant to conform to the existing urban fabric and, at the same time, to the human dimension.

Rosta Nuova is structured around a double plaza, the heart of the neighborhood and the core of community life, crossed by a north-south road, with porticoes typical of Emilian city centers. Crossing the porticoes, you can find a garden on one side and the public facilities provided: nursery school, community center, school and soccer field on the other.

Another peculiar element of the INA-CASA interventions is the use of simple construction technologies linked to local workers: exposed masonry, “fienarole” (air intakes made in continuous brick walls by removing some blocks, derived from the agricultural tradition), pitched roofs with roof tiles. This produced employment as well as urban quality and social cohesion.

A diagonal pedestrian crossing leads to public facilities through the shopping arcade.

The ends of the buildings are not “blank” according to the rationalistic typological scheme, but characterized by windows, balconies or loggias, like the fronts of a square in a historic center.

Text by Luca Reale
Photos by Emanuele Piccardo