Our History

Our History

The “Studio Cooperativo di Costruzioni Civili”, which was founded in 1947 by a group of young architects and engineers who had recently graduated from Milan Polytechnic and which became the “Cooperativa Architetti e Ingegneri” in 1952, was the first design cooperative in Italy..
Antonio Pastorini, Osvaldo Piacentini, Aldo Ligabue, Eugenio Salvarani, Athos Porta, Silvano Gasparini, Franco Valli, Ennio Barbieri, Antonio Rossi, who were joined in 1961 by Ermanno Grasselli and Paolo Voltolini, laid the ethical and cultural foundations of a futuristic design company.

It arose from the revolutionary ambition to the cooperative model of manual work and the individual model of intellectual disciplines.

From its earliest beginnings, the group has relied on a multidisciplinary team of urban planners, architects, engineers and economists – but without betraying the different outlooks of its members – starting with the nine founders, in a region and a city strongly characterized by diverse political and religious nuances.

The cooperative form was seen as an expression of mutual trust and support, where individual initiatives in which one person might impose strategies and hierarchies were rejected.

The “collective” cultivated numerous joint operations with leading figures in twentieth century Italian architecture, such as Franco Albini and Franco Marescottior in the political world of the time, like Ivano Curti and Giuseppe Dossetti.

The Cooperativa Architetti(Architects’ Cooperative), as it is often called, conquered the scene in Italian architectural culture, with various works completed between 1955 and 1970, published in the most important trade magazines (both national and foreign)..

During those years, it received the gold medal for architecture and several accolades from the National Institute of Architecture as well as the gold medal from the Province of Reggio Emilia.

The outstanding works that contributed to these successes include the INACASA social housing districts, the offices of institutions and companies in both Rome and Bologna, innovative urban redevelopment projects in various cities and regulatory plans for municipalities and provinces.

In the 1970s, following the construction of hospitals and hotels in Kenya and Somalia, its position was confirmed through important international architectural competitions inin Turchia, Tenerife, Algeria and Marocco.

Since the early 1980s the Cooperative of Architects and Engineers has carried out extensive study and development activities in the field of regional planning and and building design across all sectors: from residential construction to the tertiary sector and from commercial and industrial complexes to the design and restoration of numerous religious buildings..

A multidisciplinary approach has always been a distinguishing strength ofCAIRE and in the 1990s it contributed to the expansion of its activities in the field of structural and infrastructural design, computation, works management and complex plant engineering projects.

This projected the team into the new millennium, with an important legacy of skills, handed down to many young professionals and integrated into the technological progress of BIM (Building Information Modelling) design, allowing the company to remain a reference point over time for the colleagues and clients who have worked with it through more than seventy years of activity.


Integration between designers and business is undoubtedly the recipe for true innovation in the construction field …

The people in Cairepro know how to listen and how to put common sense and customer satisfaction before economic interest. They have shown that they are always able to put themselves in the difficult and sometimes unforeseen position of a client company, not only with high value professional skills but especially with personal skills such as integrity, sacrifice and willingness to adapt – fundamental to the success of plant design, especially in our country – even over and above technical knowledge.

If today in Reggio Emilia the healthcare system and community can be rightly proud both of its professionals and of its buildings, this is also due above all to the engineers and architects of this Cooperative …

I think I can testify that Cairepro’s uncompromising and ethical approach to the work and the social function of architecture as a focal point for an innovative professional approach capable of leveraging and coordinating multi-disciplinary contributions has been implemented extensively in healthcare projects.
By working together, with their varied skills and subjective sensibilities, they developed an innovative design; a meticulous design phase demonstrated a high-level school that excels at combining the functionality of the design with beauty and sustainability.

I would like to stress that in all these projects I have always encountered excellent design, engineering and management skills.
I came to know many people during the implementation of these works; I encountered professionals who put total customer satisfaction, respect for deadlines and therefore costs before everything else. These have all been positive experiences that honour the current management of CAIREPRO

I have learned from the Engineer Paolo Voltolini of CAIREPRO that there is always a fine line between what is achievable, what is sustainable and what is really needed.
And I also learned that a good technician and a good organizational doctor must be able to work side by side to identify this and make it the trajectory of their work.

From these years spent together, I remember a phrase pronounced at key moments: “I’m going to the cooperative”.
This phrase encapsulates the spirit and values of this collective, but above all represents its added value.
For me, as a client, it was a clear signal: don’t worry, I’m going back to base to involve all the staff with their available skills and I will find the solution. For the people who said it, it represented a certainty: I’m not alone, I can count on a group.

For the Manutencoop Group, Cairepro is above all a reliable, competent, collaborative and professional partner, with whom we have worked profitably on various projects, not least the new power plants and the trigeneration plant at the Sant’Orsola Polyclinic in Bologna, one of the largest energy efficiency projects undertaken in Italy in the healthcare sector …

Coming to Reggio Emilia I never thought to find an entrepreneurial entity like Cairepro

Partners and friends of the common good rather than professional service providers
“Returning to us, I must say, without fear of exaggeration, that from the very start of the relationship you realised you were working with people with great technical expertise, deeply concerned about public health, the common good of the Reggio Emilia community, focussing on something that is important to them as well as to the client.”

“These first 70 years of the Cooperativa Architetti ed Ingegneri di Reggio Emilia include and express the progress of an original and successful entrepreneurial experience, which has accepted and risen to the challenge of combining a concept with ethical work practices, firmly anchored to the driving force of the social function of architecture and urban planning, with recognized and appreciated quality and professional riches, also achieved through a rigorous culture of innovation applied to its designs.”

The objectives set were to complete a work that would be an example of architecture and inclusion in a residential context with a strong and significant environmental impact and enhancement of this context.

“By working together, with their varied skills and subjective sensibilities, they developed an innovative design; a meticulous design phase demonstrated a high-level school that excels at combining the functionality of the design with beauty and sustainability.”

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