In Search of Orders in Turin

by Alexandra Stankulova

National Library of Turin

The building of the National Library of Turin is situated in central part of the city, very close to Palazzo Carignano and in front of the Museum of the Risorgimento. The exact address where we can find it is piazza Carlo Alberto 3. This square is a beautiful place to go to during the weekend (and not only). There is a lot of space, green areas, and beautiful buildings, one of which is the building of the National Library. If you have the luck to go there on a sunny day, you won’t be disappointed.




It is very difficult to say who designed the building because during the years it has suffered several reconstructions. So, when we talk about its architect it is impossible to mention only one name. Firstly, in this place (where now is situated piazza Carlo Alberto) there were the gardens of Palazzo Carignano bounded by stable buildings. The original building dates back to 17th century but during the period 1789-1790 it was redesigned by Filippo Castelli. In the redesigned facade we can notice some neoclassical characteristics that we are going to talk about later. After some important historical events, like the raising of Carlo Alberto as a king, the building was converted in a university college and it was redesigned again but this time by the spectacular architect known for his building Mole Antonelliana, Alessandro Antonelli. Later, during the Second World War in 1941 it was demolished and reconstructed again in 1957 by a group of architects who won a competition for the redesign project. Massimo Amodei, Pasquale Carbonara, Italo Insolera, Aldo Livadiotti and Antonio Quistelli decided to conserve the facade made by Filippo Castelli and to entirely reconstruct the other part of the building. So, if you look at the lateral part of the building you will notice that it is modern and made with a lot of glass. In conclusion, we can say that this building has a long history and from stable it transformed to university college and then to a library.




As we said, when Filippo Castelli designed the facade he incorporated some neoclassical elements such as the orders. Actually, he used French orders as we can conclude looking at the building and noticing the joints which are typical for this kind of orders. In this case the columns are not structural elements but only visual ones.




Because of the elegant incorporation of the orders, the symmetry of the facade, because of the interesting combination of the classical and modern and its long history, this building inspired me and made me think about it. I recommend to everyone who has the possibility going to this magical square and explore every part of it.


Church San Filippo Neri

The church of San Filippo Neri is situated in the city center of Turin. It is 100 meters away from piazza Carignano, very near to the Egyptian Museum of Turin and also in front of Palazzo Asinari di San Marzano. The address of this fascinating church, which is actually the biggest one in Turin, is Maria Vittoria street, 5. In comparison with the tight streets in which the church is situated you would be impressed by its dimensions.



This impressive building wasn’t designed by only one architect but we can recognize the work of four of them and the work of many artist who decorated the church inside. Among the names of the architects who worked on this church is also the name of the notorious Filippo Juvarra. He was one of the representatives of the late Baroque and one of his most famous buildings is La Basilica di Superga situated on a hill near Turin. The construction of the church San Filippo Neri began in 1675. The first overall project was designed by Antonio Bettino. It is interesting that it was found a documented project for this church by Guarino Guarini but there are no sources that prove his direct intervention. In 1687 the foundations were completed and in 1703 the covering was almost finished but because of many problems the dome and the southern part of the church collapsed in 1714. Because of this in 1715-1716 Filippo Juvarra started designing new project for the church. Its construction stopped in 1783 when Juvarra left for Spain. After that, the building was completed by Giuseppe Maria Talucchi who made the Neo-classic pronaos and the stairway in the period of 1823-1851 and by Ernesto Camusso who made the front part of the pronaos in 1891.


The building is characterized by a single, very big, rectangular nave, enormous vault and by the use of architectural orders that join and harmonize the different parts of the building.  Some of the columns are supporting ones, so they have constructional purpose, and other are only decorative.


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The division of the space of the church in pronaos and naos, like in the antic temples, the use of many classic elements, for example orders and pediment, impressed me a lot and made me know better this building. I also liked the fact that there is a lot of light in the internal space. May be the church of San Filippo Neri is not the most famous monument among the tourists that visit Turin but if someone is interested in the classic style in architecture and wants to know how it can be used, combined and modified, then they should visit this church.




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