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Sunday20 August 2017

Tragedy of Italian architects believed to have died in Grenfell fire

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Gloria Trevisan and Marco Gottardi were both working for London practices

Two young Italian conservation architects working for London practices are among those believed to have died in the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Gloria Trevisan, 26, and her partner Marco Gottardi had recently moved to London and were living on the 23rd floor of the 24-storey block.

Their deaths have not been confirmed but a lawyer for the family said there was “no hope” of finding the couple alive.

According to heartbreaking accounts in the Italian media they made a series of phone calls to Ms Trevisan’s parents in Italy as the fire took hold. In the final call Ms Trevisan is reported to have said goodbye to her mother and said: “I had my whole life before me. I don’t want to die.”

Ms Trevisan, a talented designer with a particular interest in the conservation of historic buildings, worked for Peregrine Bryant Architecture and Building Conservation which is based at Fulham Palace in west London.

She studied architecture at the IUAV University of Venice where her interests included urban regeneration. She graduated from the university’s masters programme with the highest possible marks in October.

After struggling to find suitable work in Italy, where the economy is in decline, she came to London with Mr Gottardi, who graduated from the Venice masters programme at the same time.

Last month he started work as an architectural assistant at the London office of Anglo-Italian practice CIAO – Creative Ideas & Architecture Office near St Paul’s Cathedral. There his work included the design and planning of flats and building refurbishments.

A gifted modelmaker and designer, he initially graduated as a surveyor in 2008 before switching to architecture. His main interest was in the reuse of rural and contemporary buildings and his portfolio is filled with drawings, plans and photographs of models for schemes including a church damaged in an earthquake.

Before coming to London Ms Trevisan did an internship with Negri & Fauro Architects in Padua where the projects she worked on included the restoration of a Venetian palazzo.

Her thesis was on the conservation and reuse of a 1930s settlement overlooking the Venice lagoon.

In her portfolio, which contains beautiful images, she described her “passion for freehand drawing and graphic design”.

BD has tried to contact both their employers.

Meanwhile, the Guardian is reporting that the manufacturer of the cladding panels has confirmed it was the cheaper, non-fire retardant version that was used in the Grenfell refurbishment.

The paper quoted John Cowley, director of Omnis Exteriors which manufactured the aluminium composite material (ACM) used in the cladding, and installer Harley Facades.

Harley and contractor Rydon Maintenance have both issued statements saying they will co-operate fully with the public inquiry.

Robert Bond, Rydon’s chief executive, said the work, completed last year for the Kensington & Chelsea TMO, was compliant with all building regs.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said today that safety checks would be carried out on all similar residential towers in the UK.

He said the government would do whatever fire investigators told them was necessary to make them safe – whether this was stripping the cladding from them or rehousing residents.

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Readers' comments (12)

  • We have a responsibility as a profession never to specify flammable materials for cladding ....did we learn nothing from Summerland?..... when I read 'design and build' procurement I know that price will come above all other considerations. The final cost of this tragedy, and others like it, cannot be measured.

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  • Austin Clegg

    Thank you for this insight into this tragedy.

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  • My understanding is that the new cladding was not just to make the block look more acceptable to wealthier neighbours (as some commentators have bitterly stated) though no doubt that was one factor. Wasn't the cladding also supposed to make the block better insulated and therefore more `green'? If so, this has been a horrible example of the pursuit of one currently fashionable goal distracting attention from the far more essential and longer-established requirement of safety.
    Gillian Tindall

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  • people trying to politicize this is really bad taste.

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  • I agree with lunaVC. RIP to this lovely couple.

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  • Gillian, whatever makes you think 'green' and 'safety' are mutually exclusive? This has nothing to do do with being 'green' (which is not a fashion statement!) it is entirely to do with bad specification with a horrific result. The fact that the cladding specification is said to be compliant with Building Regulations is even more shocking.

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  • Make no mistake about it it is political. From K and C outsourcing the management of the building to a private management co who ignored the concerns of the residents to the Governments inaction in updating the building regs after the Camberwell fire. These people were failed and David Lammy is right its not an accident its manslaughter

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  • Is anyone investigating this project? ....

    http://www.rydon.co.uk/what-we-do/refurbishment/case-studies/refurbishment-case-studies/lea-bridge-house

    Same architect, same contractor, same cladding?

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  • SomeoneStoleMyNick

    The EU isn't "Them". We are a FULL MEMBER. So it's "Us". Try to understand that. It's pretty basic.

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  • Aside from the casual racism in the above statement many of the people in the block will have been UK nationals. To say "I don't feel much sympathy for these people" is beyond belief - for who the dead young children, the mothers so desperate they threw their children out the building. You need lessons in empathy and spelling.

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