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History and Architecture

UniCal, and its long-term view.

The Università della Calabria was founded in 1968 and the first academic year run in 1972-73. Its first Rector, who took office from 1971 to 1975, was Beniamino Andreatta, whose ideas actually shaped the development of the University based on a “campus like style”: “The University of Calabria is bound to become the town of young people, with all the necessary services and infrastructures. A new study approach needs to be developed, such as that of Oxford or Cambridge and an environment with sports facilities, and aggregation, leisure and study areas should be implemented. A new type of society is to be developed in Cosenza, where young people are at the core, in a dimension of wide-ranging freedom. No such experience has ever been attempted in Italy”.

UniCal, thus, was created based on an original model, a Campus with Departments and Schools, and it was the pioneer of a mode of organization that was to be implemented later in time by the Italian university system. Teaching staff and students live together in a top-quality environmental context, in a hilly area stretching over about 200 hectares, located not far from the towns of Rende and Cosenza.

The architectural and urban plan of the Campus, which is the result of an international competition, stems from this vision. The University develops along a bridge that is sided by buildings on both edges, called “Cubes” that host Departments, Offices, Laboratories, Lecture Halls, Libraries, Cinemas and Theaters. Students Residence buildings are scattered on the surrounding hills, along with sports facilities, canteens and places of aggregation. The “Polifunzionale” that is the original nucleus of UniCal, where lecture rooms and departments where hosted, lies at the bottom of the valley.

The international competition

The international design competition calling for ideas to develop the Università degli Studi della Calabria was launched on 20th July 1972 and it was the first call for ideas for the creation of a Residential University organized into departments ever.

Designers and design companies from Italy, the US, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Great Britain, Finland, Iceland, Denmark and Germany took part in the competition. A total of 537 professionals participated in the initiative and 67 projects were submitted.

The international commission chaired by the Rector Beniamino Andreatta, selected six projects by architects Piero Sartogo (Roma), Tarquini Martensson (Copenaghen), Riccardo Dalisi (Naples), Jerzy Jozefowicz (Easrmolesey), Robert Mackenzie Smart (Glasgow), and Vittorio Gregotti (Milan). The latter was then asked to carry out further studies for the design of the project.

Architect Massimo Pica Ciamarra was required to deal with the planning of the Polifunzionale area. 

The winner of the competition was Architect Gregotti, who was assigned the task of designing the research buildings and teaching areas, while Tarquini Martensson, ranking second in the competition, took care of the development of the first Students Residence buildings.