From preschool to cultural hub
Once a modern preschool with the aim of building consensus, today the complex is about to become a cultural hub on the topic of history and architecture left by totalitarian regimes.
Education and consensus
The Santarelli preschool substituted the former one, which was demolished as it did not meet hygiene and functional requirements. In fact, education and social service structures constituted a priority of the Fascist regime which was to promote an image of modernity and build consensus. To increase its visibility, the building was actually inaugurated twice: by Rachele Mussolini and a year later by Queen Elena.
Designed by architect Guido Savini, the preschool was built between 1934 and 1937. The building is organised around a courtyard with one open side closed by a portico. The portico gives access to the three different functional blocks: a massive cuboid volume containing dining hall and chapel; an L-shaped body containing the classrooms with access to the garden, facing south in order to receive the most sunlight; and finally a long body with a semi-circular extremity and a roof terrace containing the recreation room.
Architecture: new uses and meanings
Today, the building plays an important role in the process of dealing with the difficult heritage left on the streets of Forlì by the Fascist regime. The former Santarelli preschool is supposed to become a cultural hub, integrating three new functions: an innovation lab, a public library and an interpretation centre of Forlì’s open-air museum. Thus, the new cultural hub, within the European framework of ATRIUM, may become a reference point for the history and architecture left by totalitarian regimes as well as for the cultural and touristic enhancement of such dissonant heritage.