New heights: OMA completes Fondazione Prada’s Torre in Milan
When the Fondazione Prada opened its doors in Milan to critical acclaim in 2015, the fashion, art and architecture worlds found a natural home in the OMA-designed complex. The site, a former distillery dating from 1910, has been widely covered and lovingly visited since, but behind the scenes, further works have been quietly underway. Now, the foundation and its architects have just announced the completion of the complex’s next phase – its imposing tower.
Fittingly named ‘Torre’, this new element brings height to the campus, which is composed of seven structures in a calculated mix of looks and sizes. The completed design, headed by Rem Koolhaas, with Chris van Duijn and Federico Pompignoli, also marks the completion of the Milan venue.
A soaring 60m of white concrete, the tower unfolds across a total surface of approximately 2.000 sq m and nine levels. Six of these are exhibition spaces, with a restaurant, a panoramic terrace with a rooftop bar, and further visitor facilities occupying the remaining floors.
Each floor is designed to host specific environmental conditions, according to the type of art displayed within. The height varies accordingly too. Glass opening are cut out of the concrete form, making the most of the Italian sun. The irregular shape allows for the variations in sizes and needs, cantilevering gracefully over the public spaces.
‘Torre is the final section of a collection of different exhibition conditions that together define Fondazione Prada’, says Koolhaas, going on to focus on the tower’s own, varied exhibition spaces. ‘Together these variations produce a radical diversity within a simple volume – so that the interaction between the spaces and specific events or works of art offer an endless variety of conditions…’ One thing, points out Koolhaas, brings it all together. ‘The staircase is the one element unifying all irregularities – its complexity lifts it beyond the typical pragmatic element, the staircase has become a highly charged architectural element.’
The Torre is scheduled to officially open its doors to the public on the 20th April 2018.