Neither Here nor There: Housing Americans in the Italian Countryside

Apr 06, 2015

This paper is an analysis of the morphology and typology of housing in the communities surrounding Aviano Air Base, Italy. The primary research question is this: Did the U.S. Military provide housing for its members that allows for familiarity and camaraderie but also fits the architectural and cultural context of the host country? What is the role of this housing in the changing context of US military involvement abroad? This paper assesses the initial specifications and incentives for off-base housing created by a United States Air Force (USAF) program called Built to Lease (BTL) and analyzes whether the requirements may have resulted in housing that is not socially and economically sustainable. The paper compares the BTL Housing with the Housing on the Economy through a series of typological and morphological dyads, including: townhouses versus flats, carports versus underground garages, and yard versus balcony. These communities illustrate key differences between what BTL required and what the Italian market provides. The results of the study show stark discrepancies between the housing created by Built to Lease and Housing on the Economy. The analysis reveals that since the BTL housing was released onto the private market, neither Italians nor Americans are attracted to it; as a result, it appears to suffer an extreme vacancy problem, as evidenced by the fieldwork.

keywords: Housing, Military, Italy, Economics

Christina Bollo (University of Oregon)
Presented at: 
ARCC 2015 Conference – The FUTURE of Architectural Research (Chicago, IL)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC)
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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