ATRIUM - Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes of the 20th Century In Europe's Urban Memory
“Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certified in 2014
The totalitarian regimes which characterised much of Europe during the central decades of the twentieth century had a major impact on the urban landscape. These regimes founded and rebuilt cities often drawing on the most advanced architectural and urban design projects that existed at the time. While, today, democratic Europe firmly opposes these totalitarian regimes, their built heritage remains on our streets as an uncomfortable heritage.
The cities involved all display examples of architecture or urban design deriving from a totalitarian period, often with strong connections to the regimes. Forlì, Predappio, Ferrara, Tresigallo and many other Italian cities have important buildings or neighbourhoods deriving directly from Mussolini’s regime. Labin, Raša and Lastovo-Üble in Croatia and Tirana in Albania also host important examples of Fascist and Communist architecture. Furthermore, the county of Iaşi, in Romania, and Sofia and Dimitrovgrad, in Bulgaria, have many examples of architecture deriving from the totalitarian regimes of the period of Soviet influence.
The ATRIUM Cultural Route permits exploration of the sociological, ideological and geographical complexities of the history of these regimes as viewed through the prism of urban landscapes in different cities. The traveller can find extensive information about the different sites through the route's website, including many resources such as photos and images, videos, audio files and oral testimonies.
Council of Europe values
Studying the architecture of Europe's totalitarian regimes, both the fascist and the communist ones, is a way to enhance the European identity in its unity and diversity. The idea of Europe originated from the wounds of World War II and the fall of Fascism and Nazism. It entered a new phase after the downfall of Communism, opening the way to a broader and more comprehensive idea of a Europe based on fundamental values such as political liberty, freedom of expression and assembly, democracy and the rule of law.