Antonio Citterio Discusses Resilience And Sustainability In The Architecture Industry

Antonio Citterio is an architect and designer who’s spent his career creating spaces that are safe and inclusive for all.

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Citterio’s aim as a designer and architect has always been to create spaces that evoke a sense of quality. Spaces that are useful for the individuals daily life while being creative enough to embody a sense of the client’s personality. Pandemic aside, Citterio is also aware of the fact that cities around the world are continuing to see population growths and high birth rates. 

Beyond that, internationally there is a major poverty/homelessness issue and yet thousands of public spaces are free and available, but legally untouchable. Citterio’s goal entering into the modern age of real estate, architecture, and interior/exterior design is to create spaces in cities that evoke the same sense of resilience that the people show every day. 

Crawford Stanely Holling is a Canadian ecologist who popularized the idea of resilience within real estate spaced. This concept is typically used in more urban city environments, and the term is used to describe a city’s ability to “adapt to stress and hazard while striving for sustainability,” according to Holling.

The earth is currently enduring a global health crisis while the planet also suffers everyday due to the effects of climate change. Residents all over the world are showing their resilience everyday simply by continuing to fight for themselves as we take on these uncertain times, so the spaces they live in should exemplify that, according to Citterio. 

One way to make a city more resilient is through urban renewal. The regeneration of abandoned areas and the reclaim of neglected public spaces is giving new life to our cities.”

Citterio, however, went on to explain that typically urban regeneration focuses on taking an old run-down building and making it pretty, but he wants to take it much further. Citterio claims the main goal should always be creating a sense of community. It’s for this reason that many of his projects are known for being “mixed-use buildings” that can be used for a multitude of services to better improve the community. 

Citterio currently is the co-founder of an architect firm he runs with his colleague Patricia Viel; appropriately named Antonia Citterio Patricia Viel. The Citterio-Viel firm consistently works on the regeneration of urban cities all throughout the world. They’ve completed piazza projects in New York, and countless district revisions in the south of Milan; where they most recently began working on revitalizing an old industrial center that used to produce cars and turn it into a housing center for service industry employees in the area. 

They’ve also recently collaborated with landscape designer Carlo Masera to create an open space near the old industrial center that will feature gardens, outdoor art, and water features for the entire community to enjoy. 

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“Mixed-use buildings and spaces such as public piazzas have a positive social impact. They favour encounters between people, challenge urban segregation and stimulate innovation.”

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Citterio is a firm believer that “profits should be reinvested for the benefit of society,” hence why many of his outdoor designs are meant to be parks for the entire community to enjoy. With the old industrial center/park project, Citterio and Viel wanted to create an inviting and inclusive space that also benefits the environment by planting new trees and other agriculture. 

Citterio also has a long and extensive career as a furniture designer; a skill he’s fully brought into his firm to create new pieces that are sustainable and easy to make so they can be reproduced and widely distributed for future clients. He credits his long career in furniture to his ability to see the needs of his clients when it comes to furnishing a space. 

While understanding your clients needs should be the basis for any individual working in interior design or architecture, Citterio more so means he listens to big picture community commentary that his clients either have an issue with, or enjoy so that he can better understand how to create spaces that are beneficial for them. This is mainly in regards to sustainability efforts in local communities and how each individual practices being green in their own homes. Citterio wants to make being environmentally-friendly as effortless as living in your own house.

“The world needs to survive, and with the consumption of energy and pollution and temperatures rising, the next 20 years are so important for our kids. We have to act.” He believes that architecture and design must be combined when envisioning a space especially in regards to sustainability. You need to be able to look at a potential project and envision how you can appease the clients wants/needs, implement them into the structure you’re given, and create a space that’s just as beneficial to the community/planet as it is the individual, and that’s what Citterio has done throughout his whole career.