In 1971, Natalini said:
“If design is merely an inducement to consume, then we must reject design; if architecture is merely the codifying of bourgeois model of ownership and society, then we must reject architecture; if architecture and town planning is merely the formalisation of present unjust social divisions, then we must reject town planning and its cities…until all design activities are aimed towards meeting primary needs. Until then, design must disappear. We can live without architecture."
Adolfo Natalini was an Italian architect who died on 23 January 2020 at the age of 78. The demise brings to a close his incredibly productive career as an artist, an architect, and an educator. Adolfo Natalini, along with Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, co-founded Superstudio back in 1996.
Natalini was born on May 10, 1941 in Pistoia, Italy. He attended the University of Florence and graduated in 1966. That year itself, he and di Francia, founded the collective Superstudio. The designers Piero Frassinelli and Alessandro and Roberto Magris joined in shortly. Together the design collective worked to extend architectural imagination to include the so-called radical architettura movement that the team helped to propel into being through visionary works like The Continuous Monument collage series, among many others. The group dissolved in 1978. In the years following, Natalini turned to teaching and went on to form an architectural office, Natalini Architetti with Fabrizio Natalini. The pair has created many built works, particularly in the historic centres of old European cities. Natalini’s career veered towards a full-fledged professional practice, undertaking large scale building projects, including libraries, university campuses, museums, urban housing complexes, and a monumental cemetery. The major impact Natalini Architects had was in countries like Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands.
History will be the judge, but Adolfo Natalini, with his work on the Uffizi Galleries and on the Museum of the Duomo has already secured his position among the canon of great Florentine architects. Some of his projects include the Römerberg in Frankfurt, the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Bank of Alzate Brianza, the Zola Predosa Power Centre, and the Saalgasse House in Frankfurt. Natalini's works in Florence include the Teatro della Compagnia and the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo.
Natalini, back in 2005, wrote:
“My work aspires to a timeless normality. I would like to vanish into my buildings. I would wish that these buildings disappear into their city contexts and become a landscape where it’s possible to live peaceably.”