In the 1960s, young Aldo Loris Rossi, one of the leading representatives of Italian organic architecture, teamed up with Donatella Mazzoleni, Annalisa Pignalosa and Luigi Rivieccio to build this residential complex and house an entire independent community in the Arenaccia area of Naples. The complex’s incredibly complicated design previously featured as the backdrop for Liberato’s first video, for the song 9 MAGGIO in 2017. The video for Liberato’s Tutt’e scurdat de me (2017) features another Aldo Loris Rossi work, the Casa del Portuale, a symbol of Neapolitan Brutalist architecture that has also made a number of cameos in Gomorra.
This architectural style may be considered Brutalist because of the sincerity with which the natural elements and surfaces are exposed, even if, because of its shapes and volumes, it is probably more appropriate to define it as organic architecture. Inspired throughout his career by Frank Lloyd Wright, Aldo Loris Rossi’s architectural works are some the most original and contemporary in Italy, composed of broken up volumes around a central core, almost exploding outwards as if through centrifugal force, all the while maintaining strict geometric and structural control.
This particular complex hosts 219 living units, along with commercial services, schools, gyms, garages and private parking. The circular complex encloses the space within a kind of courtyard, the central piazza that lends the complex its name, including the sports pitches visible in the music video. Aldo Loris Rossi and his colleagues designed an internal distribution system of vehicle-accessible and pedestrian roads, ramps and stairways. The complex’s twelve ducted towers house its vertical distribution features (stairs, elevators and freight elevators), including six that serve the 36-metre high residential towers, veritable Naples landmarks, five of which are circular and one rectangular.
It is fascinating to note the stark contrast between the sincerity and restraint of the outdoor spaces and the abundant glitz of the Savastano family’s interior decoration, a juxtaposition undoubtedly created by the production team for maximum scenic effect. Indeed, the Piazza Grande complex is characterized by a complete absence of decorative elements, its hallmark feature being the plastic, concrete forms.