The town I was visiting had a particularly attractive neighborhood. Buildings from the 19th century and the turn of the century, solid volumes placed along the streets and squares, constructed of stone and brick. Nothing exceptional. Typically urban. The public premises on the lower floors faced the road, the dwellings and offices above retreated behind protective facades, hiding private spheres behind prestigious faces, anonymous faces, clearly divorced from the public space which began with a hard edge at the foot of the facades.

I had been told that a number of architects lived and worked in this neighborhood. I remembered this a few days later when I was looking at a new neighborhood nearby, designed by well-known architects, and I found myself thinking about the unequivocal backs and fronts of the urban structures, the precisely articulated public spaces, the graciously restrained facades and exactly fitting volumes for the body of the town.

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