Pegli 3 Genoa’s concrete washing machines
Le Lavatrici, the washing machines, the fond and witty description for a dramatic development perched on an isolated hilltop in western Genoa. Its proper name is Pegli 3 which is actually a bit confusing as the location is actually in the adjacent neighbourhood of Pra’. The development was born out of sweeping plannng reforms in the 1960s that led towards new neighbourhoods. Twenty years later Pegli 3 came to life and there is the suggestion that it was not by chance that it was called ‘Pegli’ 3 – it nodded to a more established desirable district as part of the new zoning policy
Built between 1980-89, the introduction of colour came late to the project. The so-called Colour Plan introduced in 2015 was meant to give a sense of fragmentation to a huge estate. Being something of a purist, and keeping true to brutalism, it makes no sense to add in colour for the sake of it, however, in this instance, it definitely adds something positive. But a dash of colour was frankly a sticking plaster, the issues were far more profound for the residents.
As is so often the case Le Lavatrici is a firm favourite of photographers and fans of brutalism, but is much more of a struggle actually to live in. Echoing similar problems elsewhere, the vast post-war social housing development has suffered from the lack of a meaningful maintenance programme. And, as night follows day, the debate about what to do with the complex rolls on but there is no appetite to demolish.
“sometimes buildings can tell us their stories, and what they would have liked to be”
The Foundation of the Board of Architects of Genoa has been assessing the current state of affairs and as part of that programme, local architect Antonio Lavarello delivered a lecture ‘Apologia delle Lavatrici’ – the title appears critical of the development but actually not so – it is calling out why brutalist architecture is not more understood or appreciated.
Pegli 3 facts:
Designed by architect Aldo Luigi Rizzo and engineer Aldo Pino together with Andrea Moro and Angelo Sibilla
Images Joanna Losito ©
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