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Cino Zucchi Architetti

Cino Zucchi Architetti

The alleged specificity of Italian architecture (its supposedly specific hallmarks) is one of the latest idiocies thought up by critics and frustrated architects to explain the dearth of international acclaim for our domestic output. The claim to national originality is paradoxically maintained by two groups from opposing camps: the first are those architects aiming to pass off their effete traditionalist efforts as a serious national contribution to the present-day debate; the second are imitators of new trends – at times with clone-like fervour – seeking to stand out from their foreign counterparts.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not denying the existence of certain pet themes among Italian architects – landscape and context-based, for example – or disputing that there is a certain characteristic approach to form, a high touch. I only mean that from that to some contemporary Italian way is a long step. And the number of talented architects admissible to such an Italian way – a slippery enough terrain in conceptual terms – are few and far between. Very, very few; but among them is Cino Zucchi who has succeeded impressively in building in Venice, where foreign names of the stature of Wright or Le Corbusier have been known to flop.
A sign, evidently, that he is not viewed as an iconoclast or a one-locality artist. But unlike others, such as Gregotti, who have tried their hand in that most delicate of contexts, the Venetian lagoon, Zuccchi at once picked up the international accolades because his buildings were seen to be both novel and important.
What, then, is the secret of this Milanese architect, born in 1955, who graduated first at MIT Boston and then at the Milan Polytechnic? One simple thing, I would say. He combines rule and exception in a framework of pictorial order.
Rule comes perforce from familiarity with the Milan environment, town-planning based on a composition of simple, repeated elements distributed along the highway axes, building...

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