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The Asiago Astronomical Observatory by Daniele Calabi

Daniele Calabi was not there on May 27, 1942 at the inauguration of the Asiago Astrophysical Observatory. He had dedicated months and years of drawings, tests, measurements, sketches, full-scale models to that project
. What he had to do was a complex structure, which had to hold a rotating dome of 15 meters and 50 tons. He had designed it in every detail, stone on stone. Calabi was an architect who took care of details almost bordering on fussiness, an architect who was something of an artisan with a particular adoration for matter and materials, especially traditional ones. The Observatory, for which he had chosen grey-pink stone extracted from local quarries, consisted of two buildings: the observation tower, placed on the highest point of the ground, and a building for the offices and houses of the astronomers. The telescope, with a parabolic mirror, was built by Officine Galileo in concert with a technical commission of the University of Padova.

However that day, in Asiago, Daniele Calabi was not there and in the inaugural speech by the rector Carlo Anti his name was not even pronounced. The Venetian architect had worked on the project for two years, from 1936 to 1938, but he was Jewish.

That day Calabi and his family were far away in Brazil, escaped following the promulgation of the racial laws. His exile lasted until 1948. At the head of the Consortium for the construction of the University of Padova was then the engineer Giulio Brunetta, with whom Calabi began working on the great project for new university clinics and for the new hospital. He then designed the paediatric clinic and several residences for university employees. In Padua he produced such a quantity (and quality) of projects to literally redesign the residential face of the city inside its walls during the fifties.