Broletto 44-46: reinterpreting the past with an eye to the future
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Broletto 44-46: reinterpreting the past with an eye to the future

This adaptive reuse project restores the original elegance of Soncini’s architecture while responding to contemporary needs

Asti Architetti

Broletto 44-46: reinterpreting the past with an eye to the future
By Editorial Staff -

Another of Asti Architetti’s “gentle transformations” has brought a piece of Milan’s history back to life. The studio, renowned for its sensitive approach to interpreting the past and context of architecture, has breathed new life into a building designed by Ermenegildo Soncini in the 1960s.

The former headquarters of the La Milano insurance company was designed by the Milanese architect in the international style over the ruins of a part of Palazzo Silva di Biandrate, which was bombed during the Second World War. Only the section along Via Lauro was spared from the devastation of the bombs and it remains intact today, giving this corner of Milan both charm and prestige.

After Soncini’s project was completed, stone cladding was added in the 1990s, obscuring the elegance of the original rationalist style and destroying its balance. Asti Architetti, however, has successfully restored the building’s original elegance, while adapting it to modern needs.

 

Conservative restoration

Broletto 44, Asti Architetti ©Stefano Gusmeroli courtesy of Asti Architetti

Notable for its symmetry and geometry, the Via Broletto building comprises twin towers that rise from a common two-level podium, with a total of seven aboveground and two underground floors. Set back from this portion of the building, another tower stands in an internal courtyard, which has maintained its original features, including its elegant and modern curtain wall façade.

“Remaining true to the original design, we restored the lightness of the international-style glass façade that characterized the 1964 project, removing the artificial stone cladding that weighed it down,” commented studio founder Paolo Asti.

The most important work on the main façade was the removal of the Antigorio Serizzo stone stringcourse and the installation of metal window frames. The entire project was distinguished by a sensitive conservative approach. Where further work wasn’t considered necessary, the façades were simply cleaned of traces of decay and particulate matter, with any new elements and materials chosen to reflect the style of Soncini’s original design. The new burnished sheet aluminum frames mark off bands formed by the windows at ground level, the first floor, and from the second to the fourth level. The Serizzo stone has been replaced by back-painted glass panels along the original stringcourse.

 

A complex green space design

Broletto 44, Asti Architetti ©Stefano Gusmeroli courtesy of Asti Architetti

The mixed retail and office building will be completed by a complex green space design, which will cover the top of the façades and have a hanging garden that will separate the common podium from the two towers on the main façade. Then, at the back of the building, metal stairs with vertical slats of burnished aluminum have been designed to accommodate a climbing garden, which will give a green and fresh appearance to the volumes.

>>> Also discover Faravelli 14, a renovation project by Asti Architetti of an industrial building in Milan’s Portello district

 

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Credits

Location: Milan, Italy
Architects: Asti Architetti
Client: Generali Real Estate

Photography by Stefano Gusmeroli courtesy of Asti Architetti

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