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National Stadium

Infrastructure and Architecture for a City

Archea Associati

If we are to get an insight into what can be dubbed the cultural project behind Italian architecture, then a visit to Florence and the architecture firm Archea Associati is a must. It is no coincidence that the practice was established at the end of the 1980s, and that its founders, Laura Andreini, Marco Casamonti and Giovanni Polazzi, based their work on a fundamental concept for Italian architecture summed up by Richard Rogers: continuity. The term is easily misunderstood. Continuity does not mean serving up the forms and features of a checkered past, but rather starting from what the -
even recent - past has left unfinished or somehow open-ended. Whatever the value judgements of architectural projects of this kind, an indisputable fact, however, remains: every time the concept of continuity has fallen into abeyance in Italian architecture, the results have always been clumsy imitations of imported models hurriedly put together, of indeterminate meaning and significance. Yet this characteristic continuity of Italian architecture clashes with another, apparently contradictory feature - its eclecticism, as a result of which, Italy has a much more variegated range of architectures than other countries. Indeed, in light of this apparently unsolvable contradiction, Italian architecture of recent decades can be viewed in terms of “eclectic continuity”.

But getting back to Archea, their achievements reveal an unbroken list of projects consistently combining solid livable design features and well calibrated artistic expressivity, where technological solutions mediate between the contemporary and the traditional. The studio seems to be saying that the aim of continuity is to renew and refresh what Aldo Rossi called “the architecture of the city”, i.e., architecture that creates links and relationships, coming into its own when it becomes part of an urban fabric or, if the urban context is absent or fragile, re-creating it a...

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