The Building in Via Leopardi, Milan

1958 - 1961
1958 - 1961

Vico Magistretti

Guido Veneziani

Impresa Gadola

Società di Assicurazioni "L'Abeille"

manufacturing technology

Façade: steel panels framed by white marble slabs (offices); brick infill wall (apartments and courtyard façade); exposed reinforced concrete (staircases)

Load-bearing structure: beams and piers in reinforced concrete

Roof: flat terrace roof; copper sheet pitched roof

Windows: wood (apartments); aluminium (offices)

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This is a multi-purpose building: the first three floors above ground are the offices of the Assicurazioni L'Abeille company (the client) while the other floors are occupied by medium to big apartments for the Milanese upper classes. The difference is obvious due to Magistretti's decisions regarding the volumetric rhythm and finishes of the façade along Via Leopardi. The office floors have a series of vertical steel panel windows framed by white marble slabs while the terraced apartments gradually draw back from the line of the façade wall. Big French windows with wood frames are inserted along the brick infill walls of the apartments. The pairs of coupled pilasters, with inserted drainpipes, represent the element uniting the two parts of the building, stretching all the way up the building. The architecture changes on the brick front facing the internal courtyard. Here Magistretti and Veneziani invent a plastic design, introducing balconies with a cylindrical section - anchored around a tall exposed reinforced concrete column - and a semi-cylindrical staircase, part glass and part brick. The roof is terraced in some areas, but has a copper sheet pitched roof in others.

In 2015 the building was restored, as far as possible in line with the original project. The Fondazione Magistretti acted as the scientific consultant for the restoration project.


V. Vercelloni, Casa di via Leopardi, in Superfici 1, marzo 1961

La forma della funzione, in Design Habitat, settembre 1973

W. Pagliero, Architettura come rappresentazione, in Casa Oggi 163-164, febbraio 1988

V. Magistretti, Relazione di progetto, Casa in via Leopardi, Milano, 1958-61

Palazzo per uffici nel centro di Milano, in Casabella-Continuità 217, 1957

Walls and partitions. Curtain wall office block in Milan, in The architects' journal 3328, dicembre 1958

A. Aguzzi, Facciate in acciaio a Milano, in Superfici 1, 1961, p. 61

M. Grandi, A. Pracchi, Milano. Guida all'architettura moderna, Bologna 1980, pp. 308-317

S. Polano, Guida all'architettura italiana del Novecento, Milano 1991, pp. 144-145

F. Irace, V. Pasca, Vico Magistretti, architetto e designer, Milano 1999, pp. 60-61

G. Gramigna, S. Mazza, Milano. Un secolo di architettura milanese dal Cordusio alla Bicocca, Milano 2001, pp. 336-337

M. Biraghi, G. Lo Ricco, S. Micheli (a cura di), Guida all'architettura di Milano 1954-2014, Milano 2013, p. 53

project profile by Maria Manuela Leoni
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