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Elementary School

Elementary School
By Luigi Prestinenza Puglisi -

Is there such a thing as Alto Adige architecture? Not in the strict sense of the usual definition of an organized school of architects whose work presents a common thread influenced by the aesthetic of one or more “maestros”, usually hailing from a particular university with followers gleaned from among its architecture students. Taken in a looser sense though, you can talk about an Alto Adige school of architecture. It stands apart on two counts. First for the fact that over the last decade or so the area around Bolzano, Vipiteno and Bressanone has enjoyed an exceptional blossoming of quality architecture. This happy circumstance is the result of an efficient public administration that has increased the already generous funding available to this Autonomous Italian Region as it is called. This has kept the demand for construction high. Moreover, private enterprise in the region has proved willing to invest in innovation, focusing on sustainability and energy saving and the use of locally sourced natural materials - namely timber in this mountainous area. In fact the region’s logging industry has not suffered as in other parts, even giving the construction sector a new lease of life. The second factor is that in this part of Italy there is an original drive to experiment a new expressive language that combines environmental concerns with a new version of traditional Alto Adige architecture. Like many ongoing experiments, local architects are in search of synthesis. They have, however, avoided the trap of over-referencing Italian architectural traditions into which many other experiments have fallen. Instead, architects in Alto Adige do not make too many concessions to the vernacular, preferring to take a more contemporary tack. At the same time though, theirs is a balanced approach, neither excessively aggressive nor self-referential and without the iconic features that characterize even the most successful post-deconstructionist...

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