Annali di Storia delle Università italiane - Volume 5 (2001)
At the beginning of the XVIIIth century, Victorio Amedeo II decided to reform the University of Turin and give it a new building. To this end he bought land close to government buildings and entrusted the building of the new University to the architect Michelangelo Garove. The difference between what the architect was planning and what his client wanted, both functionally and room-wise, prompted the king to call on other professionals and finally to turn to Filippo Juvarra. The Messina architect, who arrived in Turin in September 1714, took control of the building and was responsible for its final shape both as regards planimetric organization and room layout. His was the Anatomical Theater, the Library, the Chapel and the Lapidary, laid out under the porticoes of the courtyard, as well as all the outside stucco work influenced by the teachings of Borromini. At the time of the inauguration in 1720 the building was not fully finished and the great influx of students almost immediately posed a serious threat to its usability. When Juvarra died in 1736 his position was filled by his pupil B.A. Vittone, who was asked to carry out maintenance work and rejig the Museums. On that occasion the walls under the porticos on that side of the courtyard were embellished with stucco work that is no longer there today. In the XIXth century the entrance door on via Verdi, designed by Giuseppe Talucchi, was built and decorative sculptures installed, including the busts and statues of the professors which adorn the courtyard, stairs and gallery. Serious damage was caused a century later by a fire in the Library which engulfed the rooves and outer walls and by bombing in the Second World War which destroyed a main staircase and a good deal of stucco work. Following post-war reconstruction it was work done in the 1960s and 1980s which caused the greatest problem, seriously undermining preservation of the building itself. Today, restoration has restored the building to its former splendor.
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