Universita degli Studi di Macerata, Edizioni Universita di Macerata (EUM)
History of Education & Children's Literature vol:4 issue:1 pages:243-266
In this paper a Milan open-air school, established in 1918 and called «Trotter» or sometimes «città dei ragazzi» (city of the children), is investigated from an architectural and educational viewpoint. The school was conceived of as part of a megalomane project of urban architecture. Initially it operated as a holiday camp and a day school, but soon a boarding unit was integrated. The school counted no less than ten school pavilions, two solariums, an open-air swimming pool and a little church. It received considerable international attention, at least until the Second World War even if it was perhaps not as original as other so-called «beacons of modernity». Although idealized by a socialist city council, the school was for the most part materialized by Mussolini’s «new order». The school site lent itself perfectly for mass celebrations of fascism, which permeated everyday practice of education as well. After the Second World War the school underwent merely superficial spatial rearrangements. From an educational point of view, it ostentatively travelled the path of democracy. Nevertheless, Trotter did not alter significantly. If innovative education occurred, it was not thanks to but rather in spite of the school’s architecture.