Paolo Antonio Chessa
Ministero per l'Assistenza Postbellica
Triennale di Milano
Load-bearing structure: load-bearing walls
Roof: pitched roof built with bricks
Windows: painted wood
Façade: rustic plaster
In 1946 Vico Magistretti, Paolo Antonio Chessa and Mario Tedeschi (with whom Magistretti was also working on the design of the church of Santa Maria Nascente) participated in a nationwide competition launched by the Ministry for Post-war Assistance to build a series of small row houses for veterans of the war in Africa. The houses were to be built in the new QT8neighbourhood.
Only eleven of the envisaged twenty apartments (out of a total of thirty-eight) were actually built based on the model specified in the competition tender. The houses were to be occupied by families of four to six individuals and had to respect the strict measurements specified by the tender. This prompted the group of designers to experiment with new solutions, not so much as regards the materials (also strictly specified by the promoting agency), but as regards the planimetric regulations which had to respect the latest international minimum housing standards - a clear reference to the debate on rationalist houses which the CIAM launched in the thirties. Nevertheless, the influence Ernesto Nathan Rogers exerted over Magistretti's architectural concept, and Rogers' theory regarding the pre-existing environment, was both evident from the start; in fact the typologically innovative features of his houses include references to rural traditions, something that undoubtedly curried favour with the Ministry since these features remained in all the design variants.
Compared to the houses that remained unbuilt, those that were had a different planimetric solution: the staircase rested against the spine wall and was aligned with the entrance, while the unbuilt apartments had an L-shaped plan in which the vertical distribution element occupied the shorter side of the lot and was placed next to a group of facilities.
Magistretti, Chessa and Tedeschi also designed the winning project in one section of the competition for six-bedroom houses with a quadrangular plan and central staircase.
P. Bottoni, Il quartiere sperimentale della Triennale di Milano QT8, Milano 1948, pp. 46-51
Il quartiere sperimentale modello QT8 della Triennale di Milano, in Metron, n. 26-27, 1948, pp. 28-30
M. Grandi, A. Pracchi, Mlano. Guida all'architettura moderna, Bologna 1980, p. 229, p. 248
F. Irace, V. Pasca, Vico Magistretti, architetto e designer, Milano 1999, pp. 34-35