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The variable constant


If you are looking for happiness, it is well known, you do not find it, and often you do not even know where to look for it. Yet you know that walking on Sundays in the sun, in the center of your city, perhaps in company, you are a little happy. Can the city with its houses, churches, streets, lights affect our mood? Maybe yes, but often when you walk you forget to know it and you realize that the very window, on that little gray house, has always been there and you have never seen it before. What a mess. You slow down, think about it and smiling you tell yourself that it would be appropriate to stop walking with your head down, looking at your feet, because a good architect is first of all a good observer . Ruskin argued that "Architecture is the art that styles and adorns the buildings erected by man, in such a way that seeing them can contribute to his health, his vigor and his intellectual pleasure" ; as if the designer's intentions took a back seat to the perception of the viewer who, sometimes aware and sometimes less aware, is struck by an emotion. Is there, then, an "equation of happiness" whereby, guaranteed all the architectural, constructive, environmental standards, etc., the result will certainly lead to success?

Several years have passed since the inauguration of the Renzo Piano district, Le Albere in Trento, one of the most discussed urban redevelopment projects of recent times. Despite the architectural and urban quality of the project carried out, the theoretical operation could not foresee the current transformations. The same residences, now B & Bs, have altered the initial intended use of the services. Can it then be defined as a real neighborhood, if it struggles to be lived in and inhabited? Our "equation of happiness" will never be able to take into account all the variables of individuals, as the result of a complex and varied society. The indispensable variable for a good result depends only on us.

Part of the

residential complex


Trento, Renzo Piano


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