Fisher ARCHitecture: Pittsburgh + Milan
“Pittsburgh + Milan” It’s official: Fisher ARCHitecture has opened a second home/office above Lake Como in northern Italy!
This year Bea and I decided we would practice architecture from abroad for two months. Yes, we’re grateful for our lives in Pittsburgh. I tell folks I could live anywhere in the world but CHOOSE to live in the city where I grew up: We’re fortunate to live well and to have great clients.
Practicing Architecture from Abroad
But sometimes inspiration has to come from afar. If the events of the past year have taught Bea and me anything, it is that we can practice architecture from anywhere. At the moment we’re living and working in the tiny hamlet of Almanno, pictured above, which is located three kilometers or so above the village of Schignano. To the right is “Casa Allegra”, our home away from home. The Italian countryside is spectacular and the Milan museums are only a day-trip away. This is an AMAZING place to learn and grow. We will working remotely here till mid-September, despite all temptation to stay longer.
We’re well-covered at home. Our talented intern, Sean Echnat, is field-measuring and photographing our projects. And project manager, Janet Longenecker, is always available to meet with clients or contractors in a pinch. Our tech is excellent: We’re working from our laptops and have good wi-fi most of the time. Not only is it possible for us to copy files to and from our Shadyside server, we can actually work directly from our home computers!
To visit us, you fly direct to Malpensa airport in Milan from JFK and rent a five speed Fiat. Drive north from there to Lake Como and then wind around the lake past George Clooney’s home in Laglio – Make sure you wave to Amal! – till you arrive at Argegno. Take a sharp left turn when you see see the sign for Schignano. You will find yourself winding steeply uphill on a road barely wide enough for approaching cars to pass. Follow it for half an hour till it dead-ends high up in the mountains near the Swiss border. You’ll see our place on the side of the hill just past the parking lot.
“Pittsburgh + Milan”: No it’s not Milan; but it’s close enough. And we if we can work from Almanno we can certainly make a go of it from there. I have been attending weekly Italian classes in Pittsburgh with Viviana Altieri at the Instituto Mondo Italiano for close to two years so I now speak just well enough to get myself in trouble. We’re happy here and productive. Work is going well. Even so, Bea and I are looking forward to returning home from this remarkable country filled with ideas and thoughts that will inform our designs through the coming year.