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Ornella Selvafolta

(b Turin, Oct 11, 1829; d Turin, Nov 9, 1921).

Italian architect. He studied under Carlo Promis (1808–72), an architect active in Turin in the first half of the 19th century, and in 1851 graduated in hydraulic engineering and civil architecture. He worked first in the engineering office of Severino Grattoni, who was then engaged on the Moncenisio tunnel. In the competition (1861) for a new façade for Florence Cathedral, Ceppi was a joint winner (announced 1863), but when a new competition was arranged he refused to enter. He decided instead to concentrate exclusively on the construction industry in Turin, which was at that time undergoing considerable changes, as Turin had just become the capital of Italy. From 1861 he worked with Alessandro Mazzuchetti (1824–94) on the project for the Stazione di Porta Nuova Centrale (completed 1868), facing Piazza Carlo Felice, for which Promis had provided the initial designs. While the outline and general layout of the design were largely Mazzucchetti’s, the decorative and architectural schemes of the façade were largely the work of Ceppi, who adopted a successful and convincing formal vocabulary derived from the English Gothic Revival. The station, notable for its ample fenestration, achieves a fine balance between decoration and functional and structural concerns. The long façades are punctuated with appropriate and elegant decoration highlighted by a lively use of colour. This work shows one of Ceppi’s main merits—the ability to adopt the formal vocabulary of a past age and to re-invent it to meet modern needs. Simultaneously attracted by technical progress and fascinated by classical architecture, Ceppi knew how to adapt any style with originality, and bring its content back to life....