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New “La Scala” Theatre

Mario Botta

New “La Scala” Theatre
By Redazione The Plan -

The architectural renovation of Milan’s La Scala was required to reinstate the building, overhaul the technical plant, and extend the services areas. Refurbishment also involved the masonry work and backstage machinery.
The project had several elements: conservative restoration of the historic building; enlargement of the stage tower and the building of a new, ellipsoidal, administrative and office space, called Ellissoide. The adjacent building, a former bank, will be repalced. The original 18th century building by architect Piermarini with its 19th century additions underwent conservative restoration.
The original structure and finishings were restored, subsequent add-ons removed, and the floor of the auditorium raked to provide better visibility. In order to meet new technology requirements the above ground stage tower was elevated to make way for double flies. The below-stage area was also enlarged.  
Alongside the enlarged stage tower, the empty space of an inner court was recovered, and the built structures previously added on above the opera house roof were demolished to make way for a new ellipsoidal volume housing the dressing rooms. Both new buildings rise above the roofs of existing volumes and are in structural reinforced concrete externally clad in classical Botticino marble. On the Ellissoide, marble slats create a series of full and empty spaces that allow daylighting of the interior while making for a very dynamic exterior.
The weight of the individual lengths of marble, the relatively high risk of stone chipping, and the lack of a proper worksite, induced façade installers, Aliva, to use pre-assembled panels. The elliptical geometry was divided during the subsequent design phase into arcs of a circle.
The whole surface was then divided into three main bands – one for each floor. These were in turn subdivided into panels weighing approximately 2 t each. It was important therefore to ensue a structure frame suitable for...

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