Arengario Museo del Novecento, Milan, Italy
Program: permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, services, conference room
Size: 9,000 sqm
Status: competition, completed in 2000
The Arengario was originally designed as a ceremonial building, with the sole function of providing a way for Mussolini to get to the Arengo (a vertical, monolithic stone used as a podium facing the Piazza Duomo), where he gave speeches.
Though the Arengo was ultimately destroyed because of its symbolism related to the fascist dictatorship, is was never, in fact, used by Mussolini. The Arengario was not destroyed but was badly renovated as public offices.
The essence of the project is related to a rite that has been violently interrupted and transforms it into a “ruin”, creating just half of a staircase that leads to nothing, while the arched roof and windows evoke an arched tower.
The main visible part of the new museum is a glass tower built inside the perimeter of the stone façade of the old tower that faces the Piazza. The building’s entrance, vertical connection, and public facilities zones are concentrated in this area, while the art collections are found in the building’s interior.