Luigi Cosenza was born in Naples on July 31, 1905, in a family of engineers deeply related to Nineteen century cultural movements. He took his diploma in Bridges and Roads at the Faculty of Engineering of Naples.
His first work was the Fish Market Building, and in this project he addressed the relationship between the building and the coordinated development of the whole surrounding territory.
The Fish Market was studied together with the reorganization of via Marina, which was meant to be the new axis to connect the Eastern and the Western part of the city, a design that was completed almost Twenty years later.
During the Thirties he wrote for the architectural reviews Casabella and Domus and started a collaboration with Bernard Rudofsky, a Wiener architect who had worked with Mendelsohn and other European architects.
During this decade he studied the single-family houses, designing villa Oro and villa Savarese on the hill of Posillipo, connecting his work to the Mediterranean architecture of the Gulf of Naples and the Rationalist stream of contemporary architecture.
He participated to the great national competitions for the Auditorium and Palazzo Littorio in Rome, addressing the great task of collective architecture.
During the Second World War he was in Rome as an interpreter for the General Staff.
He wrote many articles for the review Comando, and published an essay on "Military Cities".
In 1943, together with Adriano Olivetti he made a study for the Regional Plan of Campania. He joined the Comunist Party.
After the War, from 1945 to 1948, he committed himself for reconstruction and peace; his proposals for the destroyed areas were the Masterplan of Naples, the Reconstruction Plan of Torre Annunziata, the Reconstruction Plan of via Marina, the Detail Plan of Fuorigrotta and Bagnoli.
He presented the "grid" for Naples at the CIAM congress of Bergamo in 1949, in which the Reconstruction Plan of the city was mainly described under the economic and financial point of view.
In the same period he started the studies for building industrialization and prefabrication creating the CESUN (Centro Studi per l'Edilizia) at the Faculty of Engineering of Naples; he designed the Sperimental Neighborhood of Posillipo, building the first 16 villas, using particular prefabrication technologies, in contemporary with the QT8 neighborhood of Milan by Piero Bottoni.
In the same period he designed the first important dwelling areas of social architecture: the neighborhood of Poggioreale, Capodichino, Barra, Luzzatti, via Consalvo, San Giovanni a Teduccio, viale Augusto. All of them consistent with the Masterplan.
From 1948 to 1958 he was Professor of Architecture Composition and Building Design at the Faculty of Engineering of Naples.
At the same time, he started directing the consistent and coordinated development of Naples, connecting once again the building needs to the social contents of the territory. He fought everyday against the Right Parties administration of the city that were responsible of the "sack of Naples" with the support of cultural, professional and party organizations.
In that period he designed and built the Olivetti Factory at Pozzuoli and the new Faculty of Engineering of Naples. He fought for peace at the Congresses of Wroclaw, Paris, Helsinki.
From 1959 to 1965 he addressed planning, seen as the great hope of rational development of the territory.
He made the plans of Torre Annunziata, Ercolano, Campi Flegrei, Aversano, with a special care for the various aspects of social growth: unemployment, building industrialization, housing, leisure time, transportations. He made a complete study of urban and housing typology, especially considering the new Italian and European production processes.
But he also suffered from great disappointments. In contrast with the ideas of the City administration, he resigned as designer of the Regional Plan of Campania and the Masterplan of Naples in 1969. In contrast with the University, he left the Faculty of Engineering.
In 1974 he designed the enlargement of the Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna in Rome, started in 1965.
Always faithful to his moral and intellectual principles, he was more and more isolated. He was older and sad because he felt that democracy and culture weren't able to help society in its growth and transformations.
Luigi Cosenza died on April 3, 1984.