When first commissioned by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli to design Fondazione Prada’s new space in Largo Asarco, OMA set out to “expand the repertoire of spatial typologies in which art can be exhibited and shared with the public.” The result, an “unusually diverse environment” staged within a historic 20th-century distillery south of Milan’s city center that goes beyond the traditional white museum box.
On Sunday, Prada ditched the classic runway to kickoff their 2015 Fall/Winter menswear line in a “disorienting landscape” designed by OMA’s research counterpart AMO. The partitioned catwalk transformed an exiting room inside the Fondazione Prada at Via Fogazzaro 36 in Milan into an intimate series of interconnected spaces affectionately referred to as “The Infinite Palace.”
“The existing room is disguised into a classic enfilade of rooms, gradually changing proportions as in an abstract mannerist perspective. As opposed to a single stage, the new sequence of spaces multiplies and fragments the show into a series of intimate moments,” described AMO.
In The New Yorker’s latest Postcard from Rome Elizabeth Kolbert talks to Renzo Piano in his Senate Office at the Palazzo Giustiniani, just around the corner from the Pantheon. Piano, who was named a Senator for Life by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in September 2013 (when he was 75 years of age), immediately “handed over the office, along with his government salary, to six much younger architects.” He then “asked them to come up with ways to improve the periferie - the often run-down neighborhoods that ring Rome and Italy’s other major cities.” Kolbert attests to Piano’s belief in the power of museums and libraries and concert halls. For him, ”they become places where people share values [and] where they stay together.” “This is what I call the civic role of architecture.”
The city of Bressanone, Italy, is looking for a new School of Music, and Tomas Ghisellini Architects have won a recognition of honor for their proposal. Taking inspiration from the loggias, piazzas and cloisters of the surrounding city, their school design creates a “landscape within a landscape” in which students may study and practice music. Called “Supernova,” the design includes a rehearsal hall, classrooms, and plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces that act as transitional space between the city fabric and the abutting parkland. Learn more, after the break.
The Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Investimenti Sgr has recently acquired the former Precision Electrical Components Factory in Flaminio, located between Via Guido Reni and Viale del Vignola, that will now be transformed into the new City of Science district.
Signaling the debut of a course of urban developments near Rome’s historic neighborhoods, the area is marked by such iconic landmarks as Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI Museum, Renzo Piano’s Parco della Musica, and the Foro Italico and Olympic Village of 1960. The competition calls for a master plan for a neighborhood “integrated within the context of contemporary Rome.” Covering an area of 5.1 hectares, the neighborhood should work in tandem with the City of Science, and feature landscaping, public areas that attract local residents as well as outside visitors, and residential spaces (including apartments and social housing) serving 1,500 to 2,000 people. Six participants will be chosen to move onto the second phase of the competition.
Rome-based firm Beyond Architecture Group (BAG) has designed “experimental furniture” – dubbed Looking (C)up – for the Frammenti Music Festival at the Archaeological Park in Tusculum, Italy. The firm, known for building houses with bales of straw, chose to craft an astronomical observatory with wooden pallets.
Italian architect, philosopher, architectural theorist, visionary and design practitioner, Alessandro Mendini, has been selected to receive the 2014 European Prize for Architecture. Awarded annually by the European Centre for Architecture, Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, the European Prize for Architecture aims to recognize “influential architects that have changed and challenged the direction of contemporary architecture today and who have blazoned a more humane and intellectual approach to architecture.”
“Not since Frank Lloyd Wright has the world seen a more theory-driven and profound-thinking architect than Mendini,” said Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, the Museum President of the Chicago Athenaeum, in a press release.
Azerbaijan has recently unveiled the design of “Treasure of Biodiversity,” its dedicated pavilion for Expo Milano 2015, marking the first time the country has participated at a Universal Exposition. Designed by Italian firm Simmetrico Network, the pavilion aims to reflect the unique cultures and landscapes of Azerbaijan while acting as a model of sustainable design. Complete with biospheres and undulating walls, the pavilion’s unique form takes cues from the central Expo theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” and hopes to engage visitors with the values of protected biodiversity.
Four years after winning a competition to rebuild 71 Via Boncompagni in the heart of Rome, MAD Architects has been awarded approval and will now enter the implementation phase of their first European project. This approval will allow the Chinese practice to transform an incongruous 1970s commercial courtyard building into a 145-unit residential complex that reutilizes the building’s “bookshelf” structure by stripping away its facade and inserting new living quarters, giving it an entirely new look and function.
It seems as though the complex case of architectural copyright has been a major talking point of 2014. As the year begins to draw to a close, a fresh tension has risen between two European offices. British practice Wilkinson Eyre have claimed that a central structure at the site of the 2015 Milan Expo is direct plagiarism of their Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay project in Singapore, completed in 2012. According to an article in The Telegraph, the ‘Tree of Life’ will “form the centre-piece of the Italian pavilion” in Milan.
The 2015 Milan Expo has been keeping architecture fans in the loop with “Belvedere in Città,” its continuing series of videos filmed with the help of a drone. Since our update last month, two new videos have been released – and now that the recognizable forms of the pavilions are starting to emerge, the videos include labels for each feature of the expo site. With the help of these new videos it is easy to see the forms of highly-touted pavilions such as Libeskind‘s Vanke Pavilion, or Nemesi & Partners‘ smog-eating pavilion for Italy, gradually taking shape around the twin axes of the “cardo” and “decumanus,” an ancient Roman planning tool borrowed for the site’s masterplan by Jacques Herzog, Mark Rylander, Ricky Burdett, Stefano Boeri, and William McDonough. Read on after the break for the second video, and screenshots of the construction works.