Milanese Ice Factory and Ice Palace | The Plan
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Milanese Ice Factory and Ice Palace

5+1AA Alfonso Femia Gianluca Peluffo

The long, compact frontages of the Open Care - Frigoriferi Milanesi buildings running along Via Piranesi are an integral part of this once peripheral quarter that sprung up in the late 19th - early 20th centuries and is now part of the city. The stolid Palazzo dei Frigoriferi was built in 1899 near the Porta Vittoria railway-shunting yard as a foodstuffs warehouse and ice-making factory. Later it also became a depot for works of art and furniture as well as a safe storage for banks and private individuals. The recent renovation follows in the footsteps of the building’s traditional usage with the creation of laboratories for the conservation and restoration of works of art. 5+1AA’s programme has turned the monolithic industrial building into a multi-purpose area. The last floor of Palazzo dei Frigoriferi has been redesigned to create a large public-functions space under the original multiple-vaulted roof. On the outside, of note is the new, black-dominated colour scheme. New openings have been made into several elevations and the main façade has been redesigned with a system of stairs going from the underground parking area to the top floor. The new distribution system is built around a deep “gulley” housing two unobtrusive glass lifts whose hoisting mechanisms have been deliberately left on view. They emerge into the light on the top floor from the shadow of the well. The “Open Care Caveau” is the pivotal node of the whole complex. Suspended between black access ramps, its largely white foyer leads off to a maze of corridors and safety vaults. Built in 1923, the Palazzo del Ghiaccio, or covered ice rink, was a place for competitive and leisure sports. When the rink was closed, the Palazzo became a venue for trade shows, sports competitions, musical, film and fashion events. The renovation programme has concentrated especially on the two volumes that back up against the main building housing foyer, café and restaurant, turning them into galleries looking out onto...

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