Capriate San Gervasio, Italy
Location and site
- In 1875 Cristoforo Benigno Crespi, a textile manufacturer, purchased 1 sq.km. of land on the Adda River to construct a cotton mill and multi-family dwellings for workers.
- In 1889, Silvio Benigno, his son and successor, reoriented and pursued his father's project. In order to ensure the productivity and contentment of the workers, he examined workers' housing in Germany and England, then built individual homes with flower and vegetable gardens. He also constructed public buildings, including a school, a community clinic, a theatre, a cooperative, a sports centre, a hydro-electric plant and other anemities.
- To this ensemble, he added three symbolic monuments: a church, a castle and a mausoleum for the village's founding family.
- From the time of its establishment, the village of Crespi d'Adda maintained its autonomy. The residential quarter, however, never expanded as far as the Brembo River, as had been planned.
- The 1929 stock market crash and the economic policies of Italy's fascist government led to the sale of the entire village. Today the mill is operated by a group of industrialists and the population of the town is decreasing.
The configuration of Crespi d'Adda is based on geometric principles. The main street which links it to Capriate San Gervasio divides the village into two parts: on one side is the residential quarter, with its three parallel roads, and on the other is the factory on the north bank of the Adda River. At each end of the main road are the public anemities: to the north, the church, the school and the theatre, which open onto the public square, and to the south, the cemetery. The design of the village is attributed to the architect Ernesto Pirovano.
Within this regular and uniform landscape, the large buildings are diversified. The factory is a unique and compact building which is decorated with medieval elements. The church, designed by Luigi Cavenaghi, was inspired by a work of Bramante, while the castle, designed by Pirovano, evokes the romantic Gothic period. The mausoleum, a work by Gaetano Moretti, is "art-nouveau" in its styling, as is the hydro-electric plant. The two types of dwellings contribute to the diversity of the ensemble.
Crespi d'Adda is an exceptional example of the single-industry towns that were common in Europe and North America in the 19th and 20th centuries, and an expression of the prevailing philosophy regarding workers that was held by enlightened industrialists. Despite the inevitable threat to its survival imposed by evolving economic and social conditions, the integrity of Crespi d'Adda is remarkable and it has conserved part of its industrial use. (IV) and (V)
|Architecte Cristiano Esposito|
Maire de Capriate San Gervasio
|Comune di Capriate San Gervasio|
Via II Giugno, 6
Capriate San Gervasio, BG, Italia
|Madame Valeria Cavenaghi|
Assessore all'Istruzione, Cultura, Sport, Turismo e Tempo Libero
Piazza della Vittoria, 4
Capriate Sen Gervasio, BG, Italia