Casa Saldarini – Piombino, Italy - Atlas Obscura
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Piombino, Italy

Casa Saldarini

An unusual house built using an iso-elastic membrane. 

Casa Saldarini built in 1961 and also known as “The Whale” is a house designed by Vittorio Giorgini, born in Florence in 1926, an architect interested in the relationship between architecture and nature. Giorgini studied in Florence and from 1969 to 1996 lived and worked in NYC, where he taught at the Pratt Institute.

The first building in the world based on an iso-elastic membrane made of concrete and wire netting, architects say it anticipated Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain by 25 years.

Like some of the buildings of Austrian architect Hundertwasser, the floor of the Casa Saldarini is also wavy, however, despite the organic curves of the structure the building is quite stable. Due to concern over the unusual design the test engineer used double the normal weight to check the buildings structural soundness. “The Whale” passed with flying colors.

Despite being far ahead of his time, Giorgini was largely ignored by the architects of his time.

Know Before You Go

43°00?05.39?N 10°31?02.00?E? / 43.0014972, 10.51722
Baratti is 12 km from Piombino and 80 from Livorno, Tuscany (Italy). Nearest train station: Populonia.