Despite their unquestionable importance for the architecture of the twentieth century, school buildings hold an actual marginal role in general histories of contemporary architecture. Starting from this remark, the essay focuses on the interactions between such a program and the Italian design culture over the course of the twentieth century; the international debate is observed as well on the background. Firstly, it aims to establish a periodization in order to define continuities and breaks from different perspectives: in the relationships between pedagogical concepts, laws and educational spaces, in the typological evolution and in the sequence of building systems, materials and forms. But it also intends to describe the gradual drift that made the school slide to the margins of consideration (not just of the designers’) until the recent renewed interest induced by emergency reasons.
Keywords: School buildings; history; Italy