Studies, Foundations and Archives that represent figures from the world of architecture and design, firmly believe, like us, in the exchange and sharing of knowledge and have enthusiastically joined the project Archivia.
“The founders of Studio 5+1AA confront the contemporary in the way they address the relationship between territory, city and architecture, constructing this relationship as a representation of reality.
The perception and the transformation of reality are, therefore, the keys to a conception of architecture as both body and idea, at once real and emotional, pragmatic and sensual, acceptable and yet also capable of engendering wonder as a catalyst of new understanding.”
They founded 5+1 in 1995 and they first designed the Visitor Centre and Antiquarium in the Forum of Aquileia, the University Campus of Savona, the Wyler Vetta Pavilion in Basel, the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior in Rome, the Low Emission Building in Savona, the Palazzo del Ghiaccio e dei Frigoriferi Milanesi in Milan, the Assago Retail Park, the Villa Sottanis and Exhibition Centre in Casarza Ligure, the Blend Building and the Blend Tower for General Properties in Milan, the Marina Residence in Cotonou (with Peia Associates) and the Fiera Milano business headquarters. In 2003, for research activities, they were awarded with the title of “Benemerito” from the Culture and Art School of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture. In 2005 they created 5+1AA. In this year they won, with Rudy Ricciotti, the competition for the new Palazzo del Cinema in Venice. In 2006 Simonetta Cenci became a partner of 5+1AA, and they opened a studio in Milan. In 2007, they opened an architectural office in Paris together with Nicola Spinetto, who in 2009 became an associate. They developed the Master Plan on the basis of which Milan would prepare for the Expo in the city in 2015. In 2008 they won the competition for the new Fiera Milano business headquarters, built in 2010. In 2009 they won the competitions for the redevelopment of the docks of Marseille and for the Officine Grandi Riparazioni Ferroviarie in Turin, where the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Unification of Italy were held. In 2010 they won the competition to design the Generali SGR residential complex in Milan, and they also built the Museo del Giocattolo e del Bambino in Cormano, the ‘Torre Orizzontale’ in Milan, and residences in San Giuliano di Puglia. In 2011 they won the Philippe Rotthier European Prize for Architecture.This was awarded for the best combination of urban activity and local integration, for the Frigoriferi Milanesi project. In the same year they won the International Chicago Athenaeum Prize for the best global project of 2011 with the ‘Torre Orizzontale’: new headquarters of the Fiera in Milan.
In 2012 they completed the New Italian Space Agency building in Rome, the requalification of the former Metalmetron industrial site “Ex Officine” in Savona and the new integrated project of social housing for Aler, S. Polo Torre “Tintoretto” in Brescia. They develop in conjunction with Jean-Baptiste Pietri and Christian Biechier a residential project for the city of Evry, in France, they designed a strategic masterplan for the city of Palermo in Sicily, a urban programming and study for the sector around the Grand Paris area, a masterplan for the “Yeni Shenir” in Istanbul and for the “Secteur Étoile” in Ginevra. In the same year they won the competition for the new BNL/BNP Paribas headquarters in Rome and for the complex of social residences in wood in Brescia. They won the Award “Architetture Rivelate” with the Officine Grandi Riparazioni Ferroviarie in Turin and the “Trimo Architectural Award” with the project of Ex Metalmetron Area in Savona. In 2013, they built the Deledda Centre and the area of the Beleno Barracks in Venaria Reale, the new school complex in Zugliano and the fourth section of the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior in Rome. They won the competition for the regeneration of the former Fitram site in La Spezia and the competition for the urban requalification of the Michelet RRG site in Marseille with Carta Associés for Altarea-Cogedim. In the same year, they were entrusted for the reconversion of the Lots 4 and 9 of the Harbour of Tangier, in Maroc, and for a residential project in Paris, as well as being invited to participate in international competitions in Algeria, Germany and China. In 2014, they won the competition for the restructuring of the Bank of Italy in Rome, they have been entrusted with the project for the new tramway in Istanbul and have been invited for the new Ferragamo logistics centre in Florence. In March 2014, the IULM Knowledge Transfer Centre in Milan, received a special mention in the section of “best architectures” at the AIT Awards ceremony in Frankfurt, Germany. In 2015 they complete the IULM project in Milan, the GLF/MSC towers in Genoa and they are commissioned for the El Sokhna Masterplan in Egypt.
They have recently received invitations to take part in International limited competitions in Algeria, Germany and China. Their Projects currently under construction includes the second parcel of “CM” residential and officies complex in Brescia, the new Port Authority Headquarter in Savona, the new BNL-Paribas Headquarters in Rome and the requalification of the Marseille Docks.
Born 17 October 1905 in the countryside north of to a well-to-do bourgeois family, Franco Albini always preserved fond memories of Brianza, of its gentle landscape, its traditions, and the lessons learned from its peasant and domestic culture: the passage of time emphasized by the changing seasons, the forces tide to the principles of rationality and economy of rural work, the dictates of art apllied to every occupation, the precise beauty of agricultural and domestic tools.
Franco Albini always held the poetry and the power of such a tradition in his memory, just as he always felt the reverberations of a childhood amid a happy family and long conversations with his sisters.
After high school he attended architecture school in Milan, applying him self with great discipline to the eclectic course of academic studies than in favor.
He graduated in 1929 and served his apprenticeship with the Milanese Architects Gio Ponti and Emilio Lancia, in which time he had direct contact with talented cabinet-makers and craftsmen, from whom he sought to discover the potential of every craft and the range of freedom each would allow. Then Franco Albini discovered the Modern Movement.
His early travels took him to Barcelona and to the German Pavillion by Mies Van der Rohe; to Paris where he made a revential visit to the studio of Le Corbusier; then encounters with Edoardo Persico, raffaello Giolli, Giuseppe Pagano Pogatschnig, and his contemporaries Giancarlo Palanti and Renato Camus.
During the 1930’s, “Progressive” architects and intellectuals where exasperated with the establishment and with Academia. Polemics betwin the “Modernist” and the “ Moderns” (the Progressives) used to be attributed to motives of style. Clearly, young architects where interested in the risk, in the desire to substantially modify formal language.
During these years the most pertinent group of Milanese Rationalists gathered around Pagano, persico, Giolli, and the magazine Casabella.
They probed beyond questions of form and architectural language, delving into social issues and problems of production.
Casbella ventured to introduce criteria of modularity and seriality into architectural practice, in order to successfully industrialize the building industry.
At the 1936 Milan Triennale, while Ponti proposed “luxurious art for the elegant house” and” luxurious handycrafts for the Italian house” within the Palazzo dell’Arte, Pagano and his group presented their case in the external pavilions for indistrialized building that would allow “a house for everyone”.
The young architects were conscious that the important large commissions were going to architects of the regime, they focussed on minor themes, often ephemeral in duration. These activities, important in the way they helped to communicate new issues, were the focal point of intense personal research.
Collaboration was a frequent condition for young architects. Franco Albini gave his full commitment to significant projects and presentations (Milano Verde, 1938, in collaboration with Camus, Mazzoleni, Pagano, Palanti; Mostra dell’abitazione, at the VI Triennale, 1936, with Camus, Clausetti, Gardella, Minoletti, Mazzoleni, Mucchi, Palanti, Romano). But he most freely developed his own poetics when he collaborated in small groups (the Mostra dell’Oreficeria at the VI Triennale, 1936, with Giovanni Romano) and especially when he was able to work alone.
Whether working alone (Room for a Man, VI Triennale, 1936; Living Room for a Villa, VII Triennale, 1940; INA Pavilion, Fiera di Milano, 1935) or in collaboration, he always adhered resolutely to the principles and examples of the Modem Movement, as expressed by the Casabella/ Pagano group in Milan. Following Persico’s standard, he always sought “the coherence between conscience and language,” but in this regard he embellished his expression with his personal interests and great sensitivity in originai solutions that sometimes border on paradox.
Franco Albini turned his attention to many fronts. First, there was his respect for the “mie of art.” The analysis of the intrinsic reasons and conditions of the theme, of the technical possibilities of realization, could enrich one’s sense of invention and poetics but, at the same time, could be arbitrary obstacles.
He believed in studying models of centrai European Rationalism that proposed exemplary contemporary solutions in modem terms and in reflecting upon works from ali eras, realized by others, in order to grasp the value and the interactions of proportions, measures, volumes, and transparencies, and to understand the substance of the architectural language in question.
His penetration of the problem at hand was both profoundly reasoned and originai. For example, in 1941, on the occasion of the Scipione exhibition in the Napoleonic rooms of the Brera, he used expanses of paper along the perimeter of the rooms and detached from the walls, imbuing the spaces with a sense of depth and indicating the ephemeral duration of the intervention through the impermanent and spare material.
Evenearlier, in 1938, he carne up with the unusual solution of a completely exposed radio, mounted within a supporting system of glass panes. In 1940, for the Villa Neuffer in Ispra, he designed a staircase as a spatial object hung by slender tierods that occupied the volume of the entrance atrium. His sensitive solutions were always rigorously verifiable, subject to tests of feasibility and usability.
The war years, from 1940 to 1945, brought the fall of Fascism and the events of the Resistance. Persico died; Giolli died in a German concentration camp; Pagano, a veteran of the Albanian campaign, was active in the Resistance and was hidden in Albini’s house, but he too later died in a German concentration camp. Camus left the studio and collaborated with the Germans; Palanti, earlier active on the left, moved permanente to Sao Paolo, Brazil.
It was a time for doubt and reflection. While there was interest in looking to one’s own roots for ideas to enrich the language of the Modem Movement, there was also an awareness that the themes to be faced and the trials to be overcome were major in scale and rthat the structures, tools, and methods available were inadequate.
New dialogues emerged with the young Giancarlo De Carlo and the dynamic Giuseppe Samonà. Albini, silent but always attentively involved, if detached, acquired a clearer knowledge of social and politicai values and, at the same time, became very interested in looking back at vernacular architecture.
Even before the war, Pagano had begun a study of “rural architecture,” one of the first investigations into the values of vernacular architecture tied to primary functions. Along these lines Albini a mountain climber and expert on the Alpsbuiltthe “Casadei Ragazzi” inCerviniafor his friend Pirovano. He turned to certain typological elements and construction methods typical of shepherds’ huts in the Alps and in the summer pastures of the Valle d’Aosta.
Polemics and criticism of Albini’s project immediately ensued: was it a revival? A folkloric renewal? Where were the sacred principles of functionality and rationality?
This new interest in vernacular architecture, promoted by the 1951 Triennale exhibition organized by Albini with Samonà and De Carlo, clarified the causes and the significance of this renewal. The architects involved sought to insert their work within an ancient environment, clearly according to modem necessities but with great delicacy, without disturbing the older fabric with grand structures in reinforced concrete.
Albini’s Casa dei Ragazzi became an important point of reference.
During the same period, Albini approached an urban pian for Reggio Emilia (carried out in collaboration with Enea Manfredini, Luisa Castiglioni, and Giancarlo De Carlo) with a desire to find a complete and complex analytical method, capable of supporting decisions interrelated to many problems, not only spatial ones.
The creation of prewar working class quarters and urban plans, such as the one for the San Siro quarter of Milan or the one for Milano Verde, addressed simple sets of problems. They provided partial solutions, important in the way they broke with then current formalizations and in the attention they gave to issues of daylight ex-posure and distribution, but they were schematic in their approach.
The Reggio Emilia pian required a somewhat broader approach. Albini wanted to seek out certainties upon which he could base decisions and designs. The study for this pian is one of the first in Italy that focussed on the actual state and complex analyses of social problems and issues of development.
Albini’s urban planning work continued in Genoa, with a study of some important detailed plans. He developed working relationships and collaborations with old friends Giovanni Romano, Ignazio Gardella and with Genoese architects and enlightened public servants and administrators from the municipality of Genoa.
It was a period of new hope and enthusiasm. Indeed, it was in Genoa that Albini’s work achieved its highest degree of fulfillment. Genoa is a fascinating but difficult city, full of contradictions, rich in “monuments,” in highly suggestive architectural solutions, with an urban fabric that is very distinctive but in a state of decay. During the 1950s the city officials and administrators included numerous open minded figures who had foresight and the ability to see projects through to completion.
Under the aegis of mayors Adamoli and Pertusio and Counsellor Doria, Genoa called upon various architects from the Milan school to collaborate with locai professionals and with the municipal technical offices. Caterina Marcenaro (director of the Division of Fine Arts and History of the Municipality of Genoa from 1949 to 1971) proposed the renovation of the city’s museums, and she entrusted the Chiossone Museum to Mario Labò, Columbus’ house to Ignazio Gardella, and the Palazzo Bianco Museum to Franco Albini.
Working with Caterina Marcenaro, a woman of exceptional sensitivity, tenacity, and rigor, was often difficult on account of the severity of the demands she imposed, but Albini’s working methodology was characterized by a desire to understand to the greatest degree possible the problems at stake, delving into them thoroughly. He responded to her insightful criticisms, strengthening his work with new images and new suggestions. It is worth noting that in ali his museum projects Albini concerned himself above ali with how to display the exhibited work to best advantage, without ever expressing a judgment about the work itself.
At the beginning of my collaboration with Albini, at the time of the 1953 exhibition of Italian Decorative Art in Stockholm, one of the paradoxes that he frequently used to express himself succinctly was: “There are no ugly objects, one only has to display them well.
It was not an ambivalent position, but it was his committed way of conveying his specific role, his professionalism. It was not in his nature to become enraptured before a piece or to assume a criticai stance; rather it was his role to make available his technical expertise and his abilities to understand the problem and to best resolve it.
The Palazzo Bianco was important both for the rigor of the museum design and for the flexible interpretation of the collections to be exhibited, for the building’s role as a historic container, and for its surrounding environment. In addition, Albini designed the Treasury Museum (a hypogeum in the courtyard of the archbishop’s palace, adjacent to the cathedral), and the Palazzo Rosso, on the via Garibaldi.
While Albini’s interventions were always measured and ratìonal, he succeeded in creating a particular “atmosphere.” Objects were exhibited to be best appreciated by the public, but the space, even if basic, had an emotional charge that heightened one’s perception of the values of the materials exhibited.
Around 1950-52, Franco Albini began his teach-ing career. I believe his interest in teaching was quite strong during the early years of his professional practice, but the politicai conditions and the hegemony of the academic establishment excluded figures like Albini, who were open minded and basically skeptical.
Only with the “opening” of the postwar period did Albini begin to teach, first, briefly, a course in “interior design” at the Polytechnic Institute in Turin, and then, more appropriately, in that extraordinary complex, the University Institute of Architecture in Venice, which, under the direction of Giuseppe Samonà, had assumed a leading role among architecture schools in Italy.
As I have already indicated, Albini’s commitment was intense, concentrated, tenacious, even relentless. This fundamental character informed his teaching, both at the university level and in the establishment of his own practice.
His was a linear but rigorous and Constant method, which demanded that every problem be faced without preconceptions and analyzed in depth and objectively. The parameters to which he referred were considered in their complexity and interrelationships; the method of analysis was approached with rigid logie and a sense of experimentation, especially in terms of the drawing, which is the specific tool for making architecture.
Initially the drawing expressed the first glimmer of an idea. Bit by bit the idea was clarified, defined, and refined through the drawing. It did not matter if one didn’t draw well; what counted was that the drawing was clear and useful for the development of the architectural idea, that it could be used with fluency, in various techniques, at various scales. The drawing was not an end in itself but was intended to serve a function as the drawing of an architect, not of an illustrator or a painter. The drawing would vary, whetherit was to communicate an idea or to specify the construction issues at hand. It was used to specify the idea itself, to communicate to others the intentions of the project, to control formai aspeets, and to ensure the project’s feasibility. A drawing, even a first sketch, had to be in scale; if it was not, even if it were a beautiful drawing, it failed to fulfill the requirements of making architecture.
Dimension is the basis of form, and the architect’s drawing must bear this in mind. As soon as the idea had to take shape and become something realizable, concerns for method and pos-sible alternative means of execution guided the design process. Along with the sheet containing the general design, numerous little sketches were produced for a joint, for a structural system, for openings, for door or window trame juncture to verify “How will this be built?” as well as innumerable orthogonal, axonometric, and perspective sketches to verify “How will this be seen?
This continuai concrete and pragmatic commit-ment was part of Franco Albini’s way of looking at things made by others, whether ancient or contemporary. Both the whole and the detail were invested with his lively and Constant curiosity in knowing how things were done, in understanding why, in evaluating the effect, and in understanding the elements that these effects generated. He had profound admiration for work well done, for the correct solution, and for work brought to resolution. The memory of things he had seen became part of his intellectual resources as an architect.
His attention to objects, to projects, to methods of execution, and to tools was in no way speculative or abstract, but was rather the attention of a craftsman who showed a broad interest in the everyday problems his work continually posed.
He wanted to demonstrate ali of this to his students, and he did convey these ideas to those who worked with him in his studio. At the same time, he became interested in the paradox of proposing solutions that were so unusual they would both renew interest in and be respectful of “tradition.”
As it was earlier for Giuseppe Pagano, tradition was charged for Franco Albini with values to be recaptured and handed down. The construction skills of the past; the wisdom and balance of the solutions of vernacular architecture; the complex values of spaces and their geometry, linked in their modifications to the unfolding of history, of custom, of technological possibilities; the perfor¬mance of materials over time; the expression and the creativity of successive cultures; the semantic value of determining elementsali of this is tradition, and ali of this must be present in the consciousness of a modem architect. This is a modem architect who will work in modem terms, according to the methods and the language of his time, without betraying the society in which he is a participant and a representative, always aware of the most complex contemporary examples, but mindful of the innumerable messages that tradition contains and watchful that the “rule of art,” heeded as law in the old traditions, is respected in contemporary works.
Between 1950 and 1970 Albini’s professional commitments grew. The most ambitious themes and most of his collaborative projects led to new solutions. One element that was often present was the integration between traditional values and new technological research. I remember how it was working with Albini, and how with continuai, tireless rigor he put together a school. In the midst of ali the new academic movements, for the most part revivalist, amid the confusion of languages, Albini and his studio and school continued to be not only rational, but also reasonable. The tie with the Modem Movement is a conceptual one, but it functions to overcome schematicisms and to elaborate upon language while renewing it. The future of culture demands a renewal of expression, not a withdrawal into already resolved formai experiences (even if they can be marvelous and fascinating). What Albini put together was not a movement, but a school, founded on principles, criteria, and rich but not arbitrary methods.
After 1950 I was a continuai participant in the work of the studio, and I was later joined by Antonio Piva and his son, Marco. Giuseppe Rizzo, Luigi Mereghetti, and Ambrogio Giani have worked in the office for more than thirty years, and their contributions, guided by Albini’s example, have always been of the highest quality. It is more an association than an office, interwoven with esteem and reciprocai affection.
Clients change, the size of projects grow, but the work always is marked by a respectful continuity with twenty years of Franco Albini’s solitary professional lite.
The Rinascente department store in Piazza Fiume in Rome, which utilizes the channeling of services to punctuate and characterize the volume (prescribed by the preexisting pian), is also an investigation into new construction tech-niques. The prefabricated exterior wall is mounted on site, like a curtain wall, but it is by no means rigid, mechanical, or colorless, like the curtain walls in most commercial buildings. The same is true of the Baths of Salsomaggiore and with the third SNAM office building in San Donato Milanese, where services are placed at the very end of the building, giving a distinctive cast to the volume as well as being extremely efficient. In this latter case too, the investigation of new materials is accompanied by a research into new forms, strictly interrelated with the necessities of function.
The M.M. project is rich in implications. It was not only a question of turning casual, non organized spaces into homogeneous ones, analogous in their distributive qualities and in their image; this underground project that energizes the urban fabric also had to be a sign that invested the entire city. It had to be created with particular means: on the one hand, it needed to have the robustness of railroad installations, on the other, the constructive independence of a concrete shell “finish.”
Along with these important commissions there were many other ventures buildings of various sizes, exhibition and trade show installations, design projects. Whatever the requirements, each one was approached through the most appropriate means, without making allowances for the minor scope of a job, and always enriching the environment.
In conclusioni Franco Albini had naturai gifts of fantasy. The invention of new forms, the control of proportions, the richness of composition these carne easily to him. His work, however, was not facile; thoughtful deliberation went into every project.
(Albini used to say that an entire life was needed to design a chair. For example, the “Luisa” model, which first carne out in 1949, reached its definitive solution in a version produced by Poggi in 1955.)
Albini did not let himself get carried away by his own optimistic nature, but sought to delve thor oughly into every idea, analyzing its motives, verifying its validity, foreseeing its consequences. At the same time, he attempted to endow each project with the greatest possible individuality, enhancing the dominant formai and con¬structive idea. What was difficult was the fact that choosing a particular design path meant rejecting ali others; it required an effort of continuai restraint, Constant self control. His innate shyness and reserve could perhaps be daunting to those who did not trouble to examine and follow his work in depth.
I worked by him, for him, with him, for over thirty years, and I don’t think there has ever been an artist who has been more generous in transmitting his knowledge, more open to a democratic exchange and to an equal collaboration with ali who were willing, as he was, to believe in and to labor toward intelligent work.
Franco Albini died in November of 1977. Certain ventures that he had begun, such as the designs and built projects in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and the SantAgostino Museum in Genoa, were continued and brought to conclusion by his colleagues. Other projects (the M.M. station in Molino Dorino, the AGIP branch headquarters in Ortona, restorations and renovations of monu¬mentai buildings in Genoa and Milan, temporary exhibitions such as the Pitocchetto and Moretto shows at Santa Giulia in Brescia, and permanent installations, like the Marino Marini Museum in the Villa Reale, on the via Palestra in Milan) were designed and carried out by his studio, which continues as a close knit unit in the school of Franco Albini.
Franca Helg May 1989
(Translated from the Italian by Marguerite Shore.)
Michele De Lucchi was born in 1951 in Ferrara and graduated in architecture in Florence.
During the period of radical and experimental architecture he was a prominent figure in movements like Cavart, Alchymia and Memphis. De Lucchi has designed furniture for the most known Italian and European companies.
For Olivetti he has been Director of Design from 1992 to 2002 and he developed experimental projects for Compaq Computers, Philips, Siemens and Vitra.
He designed and restored buildings in Japan, Germany, Switzerland and in Italy for Enel, Olivetti, Piaggio, Poste Italiane, Telecom Italia.
In 1999 he was appointed to renovate some of ENEL’s (Italys principal Electricity Company) power plants. For Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Bundesbahn, Enel, Poste Italine, Telecom Italia, Hera, Intesa Sanpaolo and other Italian and foreign banks he has redesigned the service environments and corporate image, introducing technical and aesthetic innovation into organization of their working environments.
He designed buildings for museums including the Triennale di Milano, Palazzo delle Esposizioni di Roma, Neues Museum Berlin and the le Gallerie d’Italia Piazza Scala in Milan. In the last years he developed many architectural projects for private and public client in Georgia, that include the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the bridge of Peace in Tbilisi, the Radison Hotel and Public Service Building in Batumi.
His professional work has always gone side-by-side with a personal exploration of architecture, design, technology and crafts.
In 1990 he founded Produzione Privata, a small-scale production and retail company through which Michele De Lucchi designed products that are made using dedicated artisans and craft techniques. From 2004 he has been using a chain saw to sculpt small wooden houses which create the essentiality of his architectural style. In 2003 the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris has acquired a considerable number of his works. Selections of his products are exhibited in the most important design Museums in Europe, United States and Japan.
Born in Milan from a family of Genoese origin who for four generations moves with passion and consistency to architecture; he graduated in engineering from the Politecnico di Milano in 1928 while receiving the degree in architecture in 1949 at the IUAV.
Besides being dedicated to pure project, Gardella teaches at IUAV and was appointed full professor since 1962: also active in the field of design bases, along with Luigi Caccia Dominioni “Azucena”, drawing mostly furniture.
The long professional activity produces an enormous amount of projects and achievements: the competition design for the tower in Piazza Duomo of 1935, despite not being realized, established him in the press thanks to an article by Giuseppe Pagano (?)
Between the ‘ extensive list of works include: the Anti-tuberculosis dispensary in Alessandria (1934-38) which is one of the masterpieces of rationalist. At the same time he is the protagonist of the major cultural events, such as CIAM.
In the first postwar Gardella he resumes activity with full force producing many important works and masterpieces, like the Borsalino’s houses in Alessandria (1952), the Pavilion of Contemporary Art, Casa Stork Zattere in Venice, the Mensa Olivetti in Ivrea, the House at the Gardens of Hercules in Milan, designed by Roberto Menghi and Anna Castelli Ferrieri, House Tognella, called “House in the Park”, via Paelocapa (with L. Ghiringhelli) 1947-54, the extension of the Bocconi University of Milan and the projects for the chain Esselunga Supermarket.
The figure of Gardella remains at the top of the architecture for the 60s and 70s, with intense professional activity whose importance is evidenced by the presence on the major international journals.
The project of the new Courthouse belongs to him
In the last period of his life Gardella, now among the deans of Italian architecture, still it produces significant projects, such as the Faculty of Architecture in Genoa (1975-89), that place still at the forefront of architectural debate.
Among the awards received include: the National Award for Architecture Olivetti (1955), the Gold Medal of the President of the Republic to the worthy of the School of Culture and Art (1977), the Golden Lion career
at the Venice Biennale (1996), the titles of honorary member of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), a member of the Accademia di San Luca (of which he was President 1979-1990) and honorary member of the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera.
Ignazio Gardella dies in Oleggio March 15, 1999
Già professore ordinario di Composizione Architettonica e Progettazione Urbana, è professore emerito al Politecnico di Torino. E’ Accademico Nazionale dell’Accademia di San Luca a Roma e socio dell’Accademia delle Scienze di Torino.
Nel 1988 riceve il Premio Feltrinelli dall’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei; nel 1991 il Premio Internazionale Architetture di pietra e nel 1992 il Premio Internazionale Architettura contemporanea alpina per il Monastero delle Carmelitane a Quart (Ao); nel 1998 il Premio Speciale Luigi Cosenza della Giuria Targa d’Argento per la migliore architettura realizzata in Italia nel biennio 96/97; nel 2002 la medaglia d’argento di Benemerito della Cultura Italiana; nel 2006 il Premio Nazionale Ance-IN/ARCH alla carriera. Continua a leggere >
Vito nasce a Firenze il 29 luglio 1912, da una famiglia di origini modenesi trasferitasi poco dopo a Milano, città dove Vito e il fratello minore Gustavo avranno modo di compiere il proprio percorso formativo, oltre che di svolgervi larga parte della futura comune esperienza professionale.
Nel 1930 Vito Latis consegue il diploma di maturità scientifica, per poi intraprendere gli studi di architettura al Politecnico di Milano, portati a termine nel luglio del 1935, con una tesi di laurea sulla realizzazione di una casa per abitazioni.
Nel periodo dell’università sono suoi compagni Franco Longoni e Cesare Cattaneo, con cui inizia a frequentare l’ambiente comasco e si affaccia alla progettazione. Già con un Circolo del tennis sul lago presentato insieme a Cattaneo. Continua a leggere >
Giulio Minoletti graduated in 1931 and began his career with a dual role: that of an architect and urban accompanied by the teacher at the Polytechnic between the 30s and 40s. Already in 1934 he won the victory in the competition of the plan of Busto Arsizio, followed by a second award to Gallarate; numerous competitions in which it participates along with prominent personalities of Milanese rationalism and signature “Milano Green” – poster rationalist urbanism Milan in 1938 with, among others, Mario Pagano, Franco Albini, Ignazio Gardella, Giangiacomo Predaval, John Romano Giancarlo Palanti; in the same years designs and builds important buildings among which the house in Piazzale Istria (1936), the Cologne Climate in Formia (1937), the House of Beam in Gallarate (1942) and the house for the weekend in Varenna – Fiumelatte (1945 ).Architect working on the debate on the architecture of those years, he has been President from 1953 to 1955 MSA (Movement of Studies for Architecture), INU member since 1930 and involved in the planning and building committees of the City of Milan. Between the 50s and 60s made other important buildings such as the pool Ettore Tagliabue at Monza (1951), the Cedar House in Milan (1953-1958), the Mensa to Pirelli Bicocca (1956 demolished), the home villas in overlapping in Arcadia Gardens in 1959 his Milan residence), the Palace of Fire in Piazzale Loreto (1964) and together with Eugenio Gentili Tedeschi and Mario Tevarotto concludes work at the Porta Garibaldi station (1963); his signature several hotel buildings among which the famous Grand Hotel Timeo made in the 70s.Among the architectural curiosities on the theme of hospitality is to be considered the project to the hut Minolina, small prefabricated removable still present at a campsite in Scario. To remember the important collaboration with the Breda (numerous exhibitions for Montecatini and Breda), for which he designed the interiors of the electric-train Settebello (1953) and those for the four-BZ 308 (1948) and the task for the preparation the cabins of some transatlantic including the Andrea Doria (1952) and the Cristoforo Colombo (1954).
Among the leading architects of the structural architecture of the 20th centuryl, Pier Luigi Nervi (Sondrio, June 21, 1891 – Rome, Jan. 9, 1979) continued his research developed at the beginning of the century by the great engineers as pioneers François Hennebique, France , and subsequently, among others, Robert Maillart in Switzerland. Designer and manufacturer at the same time, as both of his predecessors, Nervi has made, using the same technique of reinforced concrete works of great charm, combining art and science of building.
According to him, the concept of structure is similar to that of the classical period, when the architect was the leading actor in each phase of the construction process, while using current methods and techniques entirely different. In most projects Nervi remained faithful to traditional reinforced concrete – a material that is easy to mold into the desired shapes and tough – trying to develop its full potential, without use of the new technique of prestressed concrete, but instead by exploiting to the maximum, and with great genius, the extraordinary freedom of composition and structural offered by the use of prefabricated elements.
Nervi has based its work, as well as on its solid experience in the design and construction, also on an intelligent intuitive, with a continued strong focus on relationship-shaped structure. He gave such life to a kind of general expression, in which each part of the structure is made strictly according to internal forces which it is subject, and the role it plays is clearly manifested in the overall design.
The first impressive works of Nervi was the stadium of Florence and a number of hangars for the Italian Air Force, built between 1935 and 1940. In these works Nervi pursues a refined formal result, while devoting special attention to economic considerations, causing it to adopt innovative techniques and, in particular in the case of the hangars, to experiment for the first time that use extensive of the prefabricated elements, which will become a constant in a large part of his next production.
After the war Nervi designs and builds some of the most extraordinary works for industrial and civil buildings (the Pirelli skyscraper in Milan together with Gio Ponti, the audience hall at the Vatican), exhibition facilities and sports facilities, in particular in connection with the Olympic games in Rome 1960. Since the fifties became the best-known Italian designer in the international arena, creating works of great prestige in Europe (the UNESCO headquarters in Paris with Bernard Zehrfuss and marcel Breuer), North and South America (the terminal bus New York, the St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, the skyscraper Stock Exchange in Montreal, the Italian Embassy in Brasilia, etc.), and Australia (Australia Square Tower in Sydney).
In 2010 Pier Luigi Nervi is celebrated with a major retrospective that international touring, with several cuts always, came from Brussels and Venice, Rome and Turin in December in 2011 will touch Italy and then continue in other European capitals and America.
Each stage deepens one side of this multifaceted engineer symbol of the great moment of Italian engineering after the war.
PARK ASSOCIATI – Milan
The primary aim and goal of PARK ASSOCIATI, the architecture firm set up by Filippo Pagliani and Michele Rossi in 2000, is to constantly move beyond the compositional and typological bounds of architecture; its projects draw on the kind of free and open exchange of ideas characterising the work carried out by its partners and collaborators; they are based on stylistic-compositional input coming from context, technological research and a combination of materials and methods; they are structured around the handling of design complexity and always focus special attention on the issues of sustainability and energy saving. Featuring a constantly changing yet highly distinctive stylistic approach, PARK’s works are aimed at constantly moving beyond the compositional and typological bounds of architecture: by experimenting with different building scales and different realms of design, they challenge building conventions and stand out on the Italian and international cultural scene for their formal, technological and functional innovation.
Examples of these projects are the Nestlé Headquarters in Assago, the restructuring of the “Serenissima” or “Gioiaotto”, “The Cube by Electrolux” travelling restaurant, Salewa Headquarters in Bolzano and the latest international stores for Brioni fashion company or the most recent new pop up pavilion for a restaurant Priceless Milano, all projects that have helped build the firm’s reputation and are frequently published in specialist magazines and invited to take part in leading national-international architecture exhibitions.
Piero Portaluppi was born in Milan on 19 March, 1888 to Luisa Gadda and Oreste, a construction engineer. In 1905, he obtained his school-leaving certificate from the Carlo Cattaneo Technical High School and subsequently enrolled at the Polytechnic University of Turin, where his classmates were Enrico Agostino Griffini and Carlo Calzecchi. While studying at university, he began working as a cartoonist for several Milanese satirical magazines, amongst which “Il Babau”, “A quel paese” and “Il Guerin Meschino”.
In September 1910, he graduated in architecture and was awarded the gold medal prize, which the Association of Engineers and Architects of Milan used to award to the best graduate of the Polytechnic. The following year he was appointed “associate lecturer appointed by the University Management Committee” linked to the course held by Gaetano Moretti and he thus began his academic career. At the same time, he established his own architectural practice.
After the first minor works – decorations of façades and some tombs – in 1912, he began his long collaboration with Ettore Conti, a leading figure in the Italian power sector. From 1912 to 1930, Portaluppi designed numerous hydroelectric power plants – situated mainly in Val Formazza – for Imprese Elettriche Conti, or firms connected to it. Amongst these, the most famous are: Verampio (1912-1917), Valdo (1920-1923), Crevoladossola (1923-1924) and Cadarese (1925-1929). From 1918 to 1920, he also built the Grosio power plant for Azienda Elettrica Municipale di Milano. In June 1913, Portaluppi married Lia Baglia, Conti’s niece, his sister’s daughter whom he adopted in 1939. The couple had two children Luisa, born in 1914, and Oreste (familiarly called Tuccio), born three years later.
During the First World War, Portaluppi served as an officer in the Engineer Corps in Veneto and Friuli. In 1916, he was detailed to Val Formazza for the reconstruction of power stations that had been destroyed by enemy bombing. After the Battle of Caporetto, he asked to be reassigned to a combat troop division.
In the same period, Portaluppi was appointed professor of architecture. At the end of the war, he resumed his private architectural practice. In 1919, he was commissioned important projects, including the headquarters of the Linificio e Canapificio Nazionale, the renovation of the Pinacoteca di Brera, Villa Fossati and, above all, Casa degli Atellani in corso Magenta (Ettore Conti’s house). Thanks to Conti, Portaluppi was introduced to important Milanese middle-class clients. The following families became his clients: first Borletti and Fossati, followed in the 1920s by Crespi, Angelo Campiglio and Mino Brughera. In 1920, Portaluppi developed two projects, which are iconic of his architectural practice: – the skyscraper that appears on the New York skyline for the company S.K.N.E. – whose initials were pronounced “scappane” by Portaluppi (which in Italian means “Get out of here!”), which was almost a warning, and; – the residential blocks for the Allabanuel district – (which he read backwards to form the Milanese expression “L’è una balla” (“It’s a hoax”). These exemplify the architect’s ironic stance with regard to modernism and urban design. In 1926, these works were followed by his design for an infernal utopia called “Hellytown”. The twenties are a period of intense design activity. Besides being commissioned the prestigious projects of the Banca Commerciale Italiana office building (1928-1932) and the Hoepli Planetarium (1929-1930), he also worked on the following major residential projects: the Buonarroti-Carpaccio-Giotto building (1926-1930), Casa Crespi in corso Venezia (1927-1930) and palazzo Crespi in piazza Crispi (1928-1932). In the industrial sector, in addition to hydroelectric power stations, he built factory buildings for Società Ceramiche Italiane in Laveno and, between 1925 and 1928, the Alfa Romeo, Agip and Pirelli pavilions at the Milan Trade Fair. In 1926, together with Marco Semenza, he won the competition for the Milan General Plan, with the project called “Ciò per amore” (meaning “This for Love”) from the anagram of their names. In 1929, as he was widely recognised as being a highly acclaimed architect, he was invited to build the Italian pavilion for the Barcelona Universal Exposition. In the same year, with the restoration of the Atellani Chapel, wanted by Conti, he started working on the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Portaluppi restored the church between 1934 and 1938, and was then charged with the reconstruction (1944-1948) and restoration (1958-1959) of the sacristy designed by Bramante.
The 1930s saw the consolidation and stabilization of his private profession, in the electricity sector – due to the fact that Conti had left Edison – but this was firmly focused on a series of important public and private projects in which there was a shift towards moderately modern stylistic features. This is apparent in the Villa del sabato per gli sposi, built together with BBPR for the fifth edition of the Triennale in 1933. Amongst his most important projects are the INA building in piazza Diaz (1932-1937), Villa Campiglio (1932-1935), the Ras insurance company building in via Torino (1935-1938), the headquarters of the Federazione dei Fasci Milanesi (Milan Federation of Fascists) in piazza San Sepolcro (1935-1940) and Palazzo dell’Arengario, built between 1937 and 1942, together with Griffini, Muzio and Pier Giulio Magistretti, after winning a competition for rearranging Piazza del Duomo.
The war dramatically marked his personal life due to the death of his son Tuccio. After the Liberation of Italy, two lawsuits were brought against him to remove him from his post of university professor and from the register of architects. He was acquitted of the charges brought against him between the end of 1945 and 1946. Reinstated as dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Portaluppi retained this position until he withdrew from academic life in 1963.
After World War II, his presence in institutional circles increased – with his appointment as chairman of the Association of Architects (1952-1963), as a member of the Governing Council of Fine Art and Antiquities and the Papal Commission for Religious Works of Art, and as chairman of the Technical Committee of the Teatro alla Scala – while his professional activity slowed down. Portaluppi, however, worked on some of the most important historical buildings of Milan: Brera (1946-1963), the conversion of the Convent of San Vittore into the Museum of Science and Technology (1947-1953), the conversion of the hospital Ospedale Maggiore into the Università Statale (Milan University) (from 1949), the Piccola Scala (1949-1955) and the project for the rearrangement of Piazza Duomo (1964). He also designed new buildings, some of the most well known being: the Milan headquarters of the Ras insurance company, in collaboration with Gio Ponti (1956-1962), and the Italian hall of residence of the Cité Universitaire de Paris (1952-1958).
Piero Portaluppi passed away in his home in corso Magenta on 6 July, 1967.
RuattiStudio Architects was founded in 2007 in Milan – Lambrate after more than 20 years of activity began a collaboration between Renato Ruatti and Silvia Cesaroni.
Mariano Pichler, Mezzocorona 1951
Mariano Pichler, born in Mezzocorona and graduated from the Polytechnic of Milan in 1977, is attentive and sensitive contemporary art collector who has always combined his passion with his profession of architect entrepreneur.
In 2000 he undertook an important work of urban regeneration in the industrial district of Lambrate in Milan, creating a new center of art and design. Pilot project still growing, Lambrate has become a model for subsequent interventions in other neighborhoods of Milan.
Luca Scacchetti was born in Milan in 1952.
He obtained an architectural degree at the Politecnico of Milan in 1975.
He is an architect and designer. His expertise ranges from urban planning to architectural projecting of the buildings, from internal architecture to single objects. Several are his projects of hotels. In the design field he cooperates with the leading Italian and worldwide manufacturers of furniture, office ware, lighting, bath ware, coatings and gifts.
He ran projects throughout Italy and in France, Spain, The Netherlands, Russia, Greece, Cyprus, Japan, Armenia, Kazakhstan. He carried out a project in China for Shanghai Expo2010 involving a new neighborhood in PJ South – Shanghai.
His works have been published in the most important magazines in the field. Five monographs have been dedicated to his projects: Alfabeto. 82 progetti di design di Luca Scacchetti, with essays of F. Burkardt, M. Byars, A. Colonnetti and V. Pasca, Bologna, Compositori, 2006; Luca Scacchetti, disegni 1983/2002, with essays of P. Portoghesi e M. Brusatin, Milano, Federico Motta, 2002; Luca Scacchetti – architetture with essays of E. Ambasz, R. Bofill, A. Cantafora, G. Motta, F. Moschini and P. Portoghesi, Milano, Idea Books, 1991; Walking in different ways, edited by V. Pasca, Tecno publishers, Milano, 1990; Luca Scacchetti – forme oggetti architetture 1975/198, edited by F. Moschini, Roma, Kappa, 1986.
In 2001 he founded Scandurrastudio. He pursues his professional career in parallel with research, publishing and teaching activities. Visiting professor at SUPSI Lugano-based Swiss University since 2005, he has been teaching at the Milan Polytechnic from 2004 to 2007. In 2011 he published the book “Carlo Scarpa e l’origine delle cose” (Marsilio publishing house) and in 2012 he has been nominated Head of Advisory Board of Portaluppi Foundation.
In 1926 he graduated from the School of Architecture at the Politecnico of Milan and in the same year, he co-founded the “Group 7”, signing, with a series of articles on “The Italian Festival”, the first document about modern architecture in Italy.
In 1927 he began his professional career in Como, participating in the I and II Exhibition of Rationalism in Rome in 1928 and in 1931, the tenth anniversary of the show in Rome in 1932, the V Milan Triennale in 1933. During these years he also took part in several group exhibitions of painting with works inspired by the current of the “twentieth century”; later he will collaborate with artists of abstractionism from Como and Milan; he started the magazines “Dial” in 1933 and “Primordial Values” in 1938. In 1933 participates in the IV Congress of CIAM in Athens, together with Le Corbusier.
His most famous works are the monuments to the fallen of Como and Erba, the residential building “Novocomum”, the Casa del Fascio in Como, the Sant’Elia kindergarten in Como, Villa Bianca in Seveso, the Danteum in Rome, “Casa Rustici” in Milan, “Casa Giuliani Frigerio” in Como.
The originality of its projects is characterized by inventive design solutions, but with forms for “a desire for truth, logic, order, for a lucidity that knows of Hellenism”. His work put him in a position out of the official culture of the fascist regime, and set it apart from the strict rules of the European and American functionalism, which tend to adjust the architecture with abstract patterns and replicable in fixed modules.
Called to Arms in 1939 and consigned the following year on the Russian war front, back to Como physically and mentally jaded, and died suddenly on July 19, 1943.
Although his works are concentrated in just 10 years of feverish activity, Terragni is unanimously considered today the most important Italian architect of the first half of the twentieth century.
Edited by Attilio Terragni