April 20, 2018 | Rome, Italy | °C

Nathalie Grenon

By Dianne Bennett & William Graebner
Published: 2013-11-08

Yes, I am more concerned with the practical aspects of everyday life. One could say we [Sartogo and Grenon] are practical in different ways. He is focused on making; I am focused on using.

What are some of your favorite 20th- and 21st-century buildings in Rome?

A lot of them don't work. I don't particularly like [architectural] rationalism. I think many works are not concerned enough with urbanity and with siting. Often the scale is not right for the area. The [city] university at Tor Vergata doesn't work, especially with all those highways. The environment created there is massive and alienating.

Can you think of any you would recommend?

One I admire is the new library at San Giovanni in Laterano by King and Roselli. They also did the [Radisson Blu] ES Hotel next to Stazione Termini.

Obviously siting is important to you, and you've mentioned urbanity. What others of your - Sartogo and Grenon — buildings particularly please you?

Our IFAD [International Fund for Agricultural Development] Conference Center in EUR, which was a garage, a horrible space, pilasters everywhere. We put in holes from the top for light. And the David Lubin Agricultural Library — the most important agricultural library in the world — at FAO.

And outside Rome?

We have designed some wineries. Our first was Frescobaldi's, in Montalcino. It's underground, with water on top. L'Ammiraglia in the Maremma is very beautiful. We were shocked by the landscape. The building is very inserted into the landscape. We put art in the landscape, and as a result you can see the landscape much better. The wineries are a little bit like churches.

And where do you live?

Parioli [she seemed somewhat apologetic], because it's the Sartogo family home.

— Dianne Bennett and William Graebner are the authors of "Rome the Second Time: 15 Itineraries that Don't Go to the Coliseum" (2009) and the eBook, "Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler" (2013). They also maintain a blog on Rome.

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