Doctoral Project
Christian Democrats, Architecture and Capitalist Development in Post-War Italy and North America: The Società Generale Immobiliare (SGI) 1945–1968

Doctoral Project
Davide Spina
Prof. Dr. Laurent Stalder
 



Architectural histories of post-war Italy tend to focus on the work of progressive agencies, magazines and architects, while they rarely look into the activity of conservative outfits and individuals. Also, as a rule these histories rely on two sources: the visual records of buildings and the mediatised discourse by their designers and critics. This research project differs in topic and method: by studying the unpublished papers of an Italian construction company, it aims to shed light on the production of architecture and urban space in Christian Democratic and American-influenced post-war Italy. The project focuses on the activity of the Rome-based developer Società Generale Immobiliare (SGI) from 1945 to 1968. SGI was the largest construction company in Italy, worked with signature architects, and built major projects – many of them controversial. Within this time frame SGI’s major shareholder was the Vatican, and the firm had close relationships with American and Canadian partners. The study shifts the focus of architectural history from designers to patronage by looking into the ideology of the organisation, its business model, its agency in the transatlantic exchange, and its impact on Italian architectural production and discourse in the post-war period.