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International Journal of Architecture and Engineering

A movie theatre in a cave: the metropolitan in Naples as an essential step for the post–war reconstruction
In 1948 the construction of a new movie theatre begins: in two years it will be finished and a very peculiar space will be available for Neapolitan citizens. It is built in a system of caves under a Renaissance aristocratic building, which had been excavated in the Greek and Roman time and then had been used as a shelter from bombs during the Second World War. From a technical point of view, this is an extremely interesting work, specially because the structures in reinforced concrete are built in order to make the caves fit for the purpose. The architect is a woman, Stefania Filo Speziale, who is helped by the engineer Marino Galzenati. She lives in the building upon the caves and has a good knowledge of the place fascination, as well as its problems. The main hall of the movie theatre is a sort of engineering masterpiece, with technical innovations and also special quality of the space. When inaugurated, it is the biggest hall in Italy, so that politicians, famous actors and speakers choose it for their shows and speeches.
Actually, the new structure is used as a “cinema-teatro”, that means both as a theatre space and a cinema house. In the Post-war reconstruction hard time, when there are many problems, also caused by infrastructure and residence lack, it can sounds strange to invest money and energy in a big leisure structure, but the idea is to reconstruct at first the mood of Neapolitan people. As Filo Speziale writes, there is a need not only for a “physical” reconstruction, but also for a “spiritual” one. The Metropolitan is supposed to help the people to forget the war and to get ready for a new start. Today this innovative structure doesn’t exist anymore, since it has been transformed in a multiplex cinema house with eleven movie theatres.
pagine: 44-55
DOI: 10.4399/97888255220444
data pubblicazione: Febbraio 2019
editore: Aracne