Fondazione Prada, Milan with Office for Metropolitan Architecture

Transformation of former industrial complex into contemporary art museum including renovation of existing buildings and construction of two new buildings.

The Fondazione Prada's new art center and permanent exhibition space will be based in a former distillery dating from the early 20th century. The existing buildings include warehouses, laboratories, brewing silos and workers' residences surrounding a large courtyard.

The project includes renovation of the existing buildings plus two new ones: a 60m Tower and the "Ideal Museum", a multi-purpose exhibition space. The project was conceived in response to what appears as an increasingly limited repertoire of exhibition spaces for contemporary art. Typically there is either the "gallery" (white, abstract, neutral yet infinitely flexible) or the "found space" (typically post-industrial and attractive because its "character" is so different from the artwork that like the gallery it does not challenge the artist's intentions).

The new Fondazione Prada seeks to reinvent these two conditions and develop a dynamic relationship between art and its environment. The existing buildings are industrial but mostly of a small, almost domestic scale, resulting from the particular demands of the original owners. The design for these galleries seeks to soften the industrial qualities through quite minimal yet strategic interventions - graphic wallpapers, colored resin floors, lighting boxes.

The new buildings in contrast offer more ideal conditions for art - good climate, scenographic lighting - yet have a strong spatial and material quality to give specificity to the environment. The tower, for instance, contrasts exposed concrete walls and ceilings with large glass windows. The "Ideal Museum" is constructed with a porous aluminum foam which is also exposed on the interior of the galleries. The sum of the existing buildings plus new structures is a museum with a set of unusually diverse spatial environments a break from the typical white and neutral conditions of the contemporary museum.
Largo Isarco in near Porta Romana
1:100 scale
Museum tower looming
Exhibitions to be viewed and viewed through
New tower + old warehouse
View to exterior gallery under tower
Gallery height increases from bottom to top
With artwork from Damien Hirst
With artwork from Michael Heizer