The Ansaldo complex: from munitions factory to city of culture

With its inauguration just a few months away, Milan’s new City of Culture, designed by David Chipperfield, is now taking shape among the façades of the former Ansaldo industrial complex. Winner of the competition held in 2000, the British architect’s solution reorganizes the space freed up by the demolition of a number of disused factories as the site of Milan’s new Centre for Non-European Cultures.

Focal point of the new complex is the central atrium with its undulating, translucent walls. Like a covered urban gallery, this atrium receives and directs visitors to the various exhibitions areas and auxiliary facilities such as bookshops, boutiques, ethnic restaurants, cafés and shopping centre. With its double skin of translucent glass, at night the exterior of the building glows like an enormous lantern.

The complex as a whole comprises a number of buildings of two, three and four storeys, complete with a network of courtyards and walkways designed to integrate the new structures with the surrounding industrial architecture.

David Chipperfield is one of Britain’s most prestigious architects. In addition to architecture, he’s also distinguished himself in construction, urban planning, and interior and furniture design. An all-round designer, in other words, who has won all kinds of prizes, including the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) on various occasions for works such as museums, art galleries, libraries, private homes, hotels and offices. Chipperfield has offices in London, Berlin and Milan, as well as a delegation in Shanghai.

Noted for his minimalist approach to architecture, in 2004 he received a CBE for his services to architecture. A brilliant creative talent, David Chipperfield has worked in a number of schools of architecture in the UK and as a guest professor in various European and US universities.

Source: Arquitectura Viva, Metalocus.es
Photo: Metalocus.es

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