Looking for both Italian Fascist and German Nazi equivalents for architecture directives in the 1930s

I’m looking for both Italian fascist and Nazi equivalents for architecture directives in the 1930s. I want to know specific laws or executive orders issued by both the Mussolini and Hitler regimes to determine the architectural styles for the respective countries.

A couple Wikipedia articles:

I don’t think, in either country, architectural styles were determined by laws or executive orders. In both cases, the state could exert some influence through patronage - the projects it constructed, the architects it hired or favoured - and through planning codes, though I don’t know how detailed and prescriptive planning codes were in the 1920s and 30s compared to today.

Could such local directives if they existed have been subsumed under environmental laws?

Possibly, but I don’t know that “environmental code” was a thing in the 1920s and 30s. I’m thinking more of things like building codes and planning and development laws, but it would be very unusual for those to mandate architectural or aesthetic styles so, if it happened, I’m sure it would have been noticed. Obviously, these codes can influence architectural styles — e.g. there’s a known effect of New York City laws dealing with access to light on the development of the design of skyscrapers in that city — but I don’t think that’s the kind of thing you’re thinking of.

Besides, I doubt that legal measures are either necessary or particularly effective to shape aesthetic tastes. There are lost of architectural styles that we associate with particular eras and particular places that were not legally mandated. I think if you want to foster a particular architectural style you look at the factors which do, in fact, influence architecture and you seek to work through those factors, rather than simply passing a law.


Some dictators took great personal interest in the design of civic architecture and city planning, notably Hitler who used Albert Speer to progress his plans for a future Berlin that would be a suitable edifice for his planned new Reich is the best known but there is a long history of this. Mussolini supported specific architects as well, Guiseppe Terragni the most notable.

That’s the essential nexus - scary dictator [exercising either bold vision or hand-wavy vagueness, but absolutely to be followed exactly] → architects who will build what they get told to build. That includes bulldozing grand boulevards through cities, diverting money into empty and unusable buildings and generally showing their architectural tin ear.

Directives may exist in civic planning schemes, but would be essentially irrelevant for anything that was envisioned by a dictator, which would over-ride any planning rule.

Check out these books - both are excellent.

Stalin’s Architect - Deyan Sudjic

Dictators’ Homes - Peter York

There will also be biographies on Speer, Terragni and others which might give you specific citations that you seek. I don’t know them, so wont suggest specifics.

Directives and planning schemes may have existed but they were effectively meaningless in the way dictators understood and operationalised civic architecture as part of their power.

Modern building departments in larger cities often have an architectural review board. They make sure that construction and remolding follow the styles of particular neighborhoods. The codes themselves are pretty vague and contain wording like, “in the manner of” but the board carries a lot of weight and any application for construction has to get their approval. Perhaps the fascists had such boards under their control.

The site below gives a good overview of the history of building regulations in Prussia. The Nazis seem not to have made radical changes to the system that already existed. As others have said, Hitler had firm views and favoured architects, which often determined the style of the bigger, more prestigious official projects. But otherwise style was more a matter of fashion, albeit sometimes influenced by official preferences.

The tastes of Mussolini and the Italian Fascists tended to be rather more eclectic, in part because they were in power for longer, originally taking power at a time of considerable artistic upheaval.

Planning System: Germany 1.1 The History of the Building Law | ARL-net