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The Missing Link to High Touch Architecture

Park Associati

The Missing Link to High Touch Architecture
By Luigi Prestinenza Puglisi -
AGC Flat Glass, Marazzi, Zumtobel Group have participated in the project

An archaeologist of the future intent on writing about architecture of our times would be lucky indeed to chance upon works by the Park practice. It would provide him with the missing link to High Touch architecture.

What is High Touch? It’s a way of seeing, feeling and designing architecture that marks out the best Italian production of the beginning of our millennium. It stands apart, avoiding the intellectual excesses of a Peter Eisenman, the bombastic hubris of a Zaha Hadid, the solipsism à la Sejima, or architecture as the demonstration of a theorem à la Rem Koolhaas. High Touch steers a path of common sense and compromise. It eschews the outlandishness that afflicts much of contemporary international architecture, preferring restraint to exuberance, the picturesque to the sublime, the classic to the romantic. More importantly, it is sufficiently in the loop to identify the best of what’s being produced, sifting and choosing only features compatible with good taste. For as art critic and essayist Edoardo Persico said, Italians believe in nothing in particular. They have style and elegance - which is the strength but also the burden of those with a long tradition.

Who are the heroes of Italian High Touch? Renzo Piano, Michele De Lucchi and Cino Zucchi. 

All three have fallen across Park’s career path. On completing his architecture degree at Milan’s Polytechnic, Filippo Pagliani, one of the firm’s partners, worked with Renzo Piano from 1992 to 1996 in Paris, only to return to Milan to work with Michele De Lucchi until 1999. Michele Rossi, the other partner and also a Milan Polytechnic graduate, worked with De Lucchi from 1992 to 1996. Pagliani and Rossi worked as a partnership with Cino Zucchi on several aspects of the Salewa Headquarters in Bolzano, perhaps one of the best new architectures in Italy in the last five years.

Why are Piano, De Lucchi and Zucchi High Touch heroes? Because...

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