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Salvatore Re / Leonardo Progetti

Salvatore Re Leonardo Progetti

Salvatore Re won his spurs at Florence under Adolfo Natalini, probably the best teacher of architectural design at the faculty, though he had long stood back from cutting-edge ideas of architectural research. In the Seventies at the time of Superstudio Natalini took part in launching the movement but then retired from the fray and went in for a less intellectually demanding professional career which proved more rewarding in practice. Re absorbed Natalini’s pragmatism: the simple truth that one can’t talk about architecture, one has to do it and hence meet the needs of the customer in terms of performance and cost. But that is not to renege on the contemporary idiom altogether. Re saw contemporary as the best matrix for creating a sustainable and economically viable habitat. He graduated in the early Nineties and did the rounds of the architecture competitions, five of which he won, including the bridge for the new Florence tramway. Only one of these would see the light of day, however, badly mutilated by compromises that spoilt the final image, while one other would end in the construction of a mere kiosk (chiosco). Re discovered that public funding was a hit-and-miss business. To bang one’s head against that particular wall might be counterproductive. There were other fish to fry and one of the most promising was project financing. The resources are private in this case and the builder is given an incentive since, after implementing the construction he manages the premises with a view to gratifying the end-user and minimizes maintenance costs by using quality products. In 2000 Re set up the Leonardo practice in which he still works. It falls into two compartments: one comes up with the ideas and the other finds concrete outlet for them in close consideration of the economic data. As Re puts it, “I don’t want to do projects which get thrown out on technical or cost grounds. At the point when an idea leaves the firm it has to be achievable just as planned.” One of...

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