Terragni's Danteum is a unique project combining the concepts of Dante's Divine Comedy with the ideologies of fascist Italy of the 1930s. The project, though never built, was to be a powerful statement and a symbol of patriotism for the people of Italy. However, it had the potential to supersede political symbolism as it was intended. Terragni idolized Dante as both ancient and medieval. His legacy embodied the hope for Italy's unification and the Roman Empire's resurrection.
Terragni faced a difficult task when commissioned for the project. And so, to encompass the cantos of the Comedy in a physical form, the architect depended on the golden ration triangle for solidity. This form, along with the intergration of two overlapping squares, works to create a structure that embodies the "value of 'absolute' geometric beauty" (Schumacher, Terrangi's Danteum). Terragni believed that the golden-section rectangle was a tie to the ancients. It occured in plan-forms of the ancient Assyrians, Greeks, Egyptians, and, of course, the Romans.
To avoid rhetoricism, Terragni applied a series of squares descending in a spiral fashion, and theoretically infinite in number. The spiral that runs through the center of these squares represents the ascent from the inferno to purgatory. I find it interesting that Terragni uses rectilinear shapes to obtain a fluid movement in the building's circulation. This cutting is demonstrating the contrast between rigid and organic, while also illustrating the way in which these two entities can combine to form one. I have attempted to abstractly recreate the series of columns he uses in the room of the Inferno in this model. He reconstructs the golden rectangle by setting up 7 columns following the flow of the diagram. In my cutting, I reinterpreted this progression by also decreasing the length of each column, symbolizing the descent from the mortal world to the inferno.