Palermo – some modern architecture

This post includes photos of buildings of a variety of architectural styles that came after Stile Liberty (see previous posts). As usual you can find them on my map.

After the floral curves of Stile Liberty came the streamlined forms and straight lines of Art Deco.

The only example of Deco in Palermo that I’m aware of is this fire station, the Vigili del Fuoco at 16 Via Alessandro Scarlatti, behind the Teatro Massimo.

It was commissioned and completed in the 1930s, at the height of the Fascist era, as Deco was one of a variety of styles employed by Mussolini’s team of architects for official buildings.

The monolithic tower and various rectilinear and curvilinear adornments are typical of the style.

Right next door is another example of fascist era architecture, the Tempio Munito Fortezza Mistica at 12 Via Alessandro Scarlatti. Intended as a memorial for those who fell or were injured in defence of the homeland during WW1 I think it is now used as a judicial office.

Like the fire station, the temple also dates from the 30s (precisely 1935, the architect was Giuseppe Spatrisano) but this time the architecture is Rationalist, another, more popular, style favoured by the fascist government.

Although understandably not to everyone’s taste, ‘architettura razionale’ takes inspiration from the scale, structure and symmetry of ancient Roman architecture, but without the ornamental flourishes associated with classicism. I understand however that there are beautiful frescoes inside, although I’m not sure how you would get in to see them.

Another monotlithic rationalist building is the Palazzo di Giustizia (which houses the law courts, the Tribunale di Palermo) in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele Orlando. Construction began in 1938, but was interrupted by WW2. Works resumed after the war and it was completed in 1957.

And yet another official rationalist construction is the Palazzo delle Poste at 320 Via Roma. Building began in 1929 and the building was inaugurated in 1934.

Also rationalist is the Banco di Sicilia building at 183 Via Roma, although the more interesting features can be seen around the back in Piazza Borsa.

On my Stile Liberty walk around the side streets off Via Dante, I stumbled upon this rationalist church, the Parrocchia dello Spirito Santo, at 43 Via Filippo Juvara. I think it was also built in the 1930s when the parish was created.

Sadly, due to the Sack of Palermo, the majority of buildings in Palermo are modern residential tower blocks, very few of which caught my eye.

Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of Brutalist architecture, but I’m not aware of any examples in central Palermo. I’ve not been, but I understand the northern neighbourhood of Zen has a Brutalist estate. Anecdotally, it’s not the safest area to wonder around with a camera however.

Some parks and gardens next!

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