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La Fonte Gym

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Fabio Capanni
location Sesto Fiorentino
function sport
contributed by Daria_Ricchi

Each and every project realized by Leonardo da Vinci, whether a building or a model air plane, was inspired by the human body. As such, this gym on the outskirts of Sesto Fiorentino, near Florence, can be considered a tribute to Leonardo's work and genius. The copper plates covering the exterior of the gym makes the building look like muscle fibre. Thanks to the nail-less mounting, the plates are free to move and expand in accordance with one of copper's key characteristics. Built to serve as a gym for a pre-existing town school, La Fonte is an independent building and can also be accessed by private users. The space is organized in two simple orthogonal volumes, designed to be inexpensively prefabricated. The main structure is made of pre-stressed concrete and is similar to the industrial hangars one finds in the Sesto Fiorentino area. The smaller volume, clad with travertine is where changing rooms and utility rooms are located, whereas the bigger volume is used for sports.

NealR says:
This project really ticked me off! The citizens of Sesto deserve better. Leonardo was brilliant because he merged art with utility to craft imaginative solutions and hybrid spaces. This project's effort embraces the artistic [the skin] and the utilitarian [concrete volumes], but the two are never merged. The skin ignores the box in that it is inconsequential to the dim, windowless, un-finished space it's wrapped around. It doesn't do anything that a (more affordable?) paint job couldn't do. Similarly, the gym volumes are what they are....easy to construct and hangar-like. (Do we really want to champion context like this?) Wrapping the boxes in travertine ?!?! Are you kidding me? Trade the travertine for a bit of sunlight!

This building (not architecture) should have worked much harder to create a space as muscular and deserving as the living, breathing, tactile, athletic, bodies it is asked to serve.

I'm not a total spoil sport. I'm happy that at least a modest effort was made in favor of a new facility. I'm simply sad that thin (literally) image over substantial "space" was championed.

I'm guessing Leonardo would agree with me.

Ann Arbor, MI, United States 18-Dec-08
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La Fonte Gym
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