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C+S Associati

C+S Associati

Carlo Cappai and Maria Alessandra Segantini graduated from the Venice Architecture Faculty in 1991. Their first work opportunity came through a competition that they won in 1993, before reaching the age of 30. The resulting twelve two-storey apartments at Marcon (Venice) are set on a slight curve intended to soften the light with a subtle play of chiaroscuro. The effect is enhanced by recessing the upper storey slightly and cladding it in whitened wood. The building gained a mention at the Luigi Cosenza award in 1998, presaging a bright career.
In 1997 they designed a school complex at Caprino Veronese which won the City of Oderzo prize in 2001. 1999 saw the couple working on the Venetian island of Sant’Erasmo: the project was to provide cultural facilities and restore the Massimiliana tower. It would gain numerous accolades: national awards and mention for the Mies van der Rohe. Again in 1999 Cappai and Segantini designed the university residence in Murano’s former rope factory, a project that entailed sleeping accommodation for some 250.
It formed a trial run for the student residence at Novoli, Fiat’s erstwhile industrial site near Florence. This is perhaps one of the couple’s most successful ventures. It hinges on simplicity of materials: exposed concrete for the plinth, Prodema wooden brise soleil units on the residential parts, glassblocks on the service areas. It is also a masterpiece of ingenuity in getting round the Leon Krier area plan which, among other things, demanded sloping roofs and traditional-shaped windows. Virtually the same rules applied when planning responsibility devolved on Gabetti and Isola from Turin. In order not to kowtow to this diktat with some neo-historical pastiche or get embroiled in a wearisome dispute with the Administration by asserting freedom of expression, Cappai and Segantini opted to play by the rule-book but giving a free contemporary twist to the interpretation against the intentions of the planning...

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