The Building in Via Conservatorio, Milan

1963 - 1966
1963 - 1966
manufacturing technology

Windows: wood (apartments); aluminium (ground floor shops)

Façade: rust-coloured fresh plaster

Load-bearing structure: beams and piers in reinforced concrete

Roof: copper, flat, with a roof garden

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The apartment complex in Via Conservatorio was a unique opportunity in Magistretti's career because it was located next to the condominium on the corner of via Bellini designed by his father Pier Giulio in the twenties.

The building was to be constructed in a prestigious neighbourhood bombed during World War II; its L-shaped plan did not, however, reflect the block-shaped buildings that once stood there. The street façade is, in fact, extremely narrow; the building's task was to link the different heights of the adjacent blocks. The rear of the main volume extends to a small garden overlooked by the balconies and terraces of the increasingly tapered building.

Direct comparison with his father's architecture takes place primarily in the inner courtyard at the rear where the old merges with the new thanks to the ground floor offices designed with full height glass façades.

The plan includes a single staircase with a circular ramp inserted in a triangular volume; its design recalls several projects by the maestro Louis Kahn.

Here too Magistretti opts for a red-brown finish for the façade reminiscent of traditional Milanese terracotta; at the same time it confirms not only his intention to nestle the building in its surroundings (according to the now famous lesson by Rogers), but also the choices he made for the buildings in Via Santa Marta and Piazza San Marco.


S. Giacomoni, Disegno la Milano che cambia, in La Repubblica, 08 gennaio 1985

V. Magistretti, L'architetto Magistretti: un protagonista di fronte al rame, in Il Rame 18, giugno 1967

Magistretti, in Controspazio 2-3, luglio 1969

G. Chigiotti, La regola e l'eccezione, in Area 11, settembre 1992

M. Boriani, C. Morandi, A. Rossari, Milano contemporanea, Torino 1986, p. 183

M. Grandi, A. Pracchi, Milano. Guida all'architettura moderna, Bologna 1980, p. 335, scheda 457

F. Irace, V. Pasca, Vico Magistretti architetto e designer, Milano 1999, p. 73 

M. Biagi, Vico Magistretti. Architetture milanesi, Milano, 2010, pp. 20-21

project profile by Maria Manuela Leoni
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