Milan’s Fondazione Prada will open its OMA designed Tower on April 20, built to house the institution’s permanent collection. The tower is one of three new buildings that distinguish Fondazione Prada’s architectural complex. The tower is nine floors, six of which will dedicate 2,000 square metres to exhibitions.
While the Fondazione Prada was officially opened in May 2015, it’s taken almost three years for it to be completed in a large-scale development that saw seven buildings renovated and three new structures added. The project was led by architect Rem Koolhaas along with his colleagues Chris van Duijn and Federico Pompignoli.
Aptly named the ‘Torre’, the final structure is the tallest and most starkly modern. While it contains a restaurant, panoramic terrace and rooftop, its main function is to exhibit Prada’s vast collection of 20th to 21st-century art pieces. To this end, each level is unique and complements the work within.
The ceilings gradually get higher (from 2.7m on the ground floor to 8m at the top), the shape of the floor plan shifts, while natural light streams in from different angles. The external façades are characterized by an alternation of concrete and glass surfaces, which allows different exposure from all points of view.
“By introducing so many spatial variables, the complexity of the architecture will promote an unstable, open programming.”………… Rem Koolhaas
The irregular geometry of Torre allows its exterior appearance to vary according to different observation points, and perfectly embodies the architectural vision for the entire Fondazione.
It adds to the varied architectural and design style of the complex, which includes such unusual structures as the Haunted House, a building covered in 24-carat gold leaf, a cinema camouflaged in mirrors, and a bar designed by Wes Anderson.
About Fondazione Prada
Fondazione Prada is co-chaired by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli and has been in existence since 1995. It is an institution dedicated to contemporary art and culture. From 1993 to 2010, the Fondazione has organised 24 solo shows at its exhibition spaces in Milan, in 2015 the doors of the permanent space opened. The 19,000 sq m project includes seven redeveloped buildings and two new ones, built in 2015 it houses the permanent collection of the Foundation.
About Rem Koolhaas
Rem Koolhaas was born in Rotterdam in 1944. He began his career as a journalist, working for the Haagse Post, and as a set-designer in the Netherlands and Hollywood. He frequented the Architectural Association School in London and studied with Oswald Mathias Ungers at Cornell University. In 1978, he wrote Delirious New York: a retroactive manifesto for Manhattan, which has become a classic of contemporary architectural theory. In 1975 – together with Elia and Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp – he founded OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture).
The most important works by Koolhaas and OMA, from its foundation until the mid-1990s, include the Netherlands Dance Theatre at The Hague, the Nexus Housing at Fukuoka in Japan, the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, the Grand Palais of Euralille and Lille, the Villa dall’Ava, the Très Grande Bibliothèque, the Jussieu library in Paris, the ZKM in Karlsruhe and the Seattle Public Library.
Together with Koolhaas’s reflections on contemporary society, these buildings appear in his second book, S,M,L,XL (1995), a volume of 1376 pages written as though it were a “novel about architecture”. Published in collaboration with the Canadian graphic designer, Bruce Mau, the book contains essays, manifestos, cartoons and travel diaries.
Among the awards he has won in recent years, we mention here the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize (2000), the Praemium Imperiale (2003), the Royal Gold Medal (2004) and the Mies Van Der Rohe prize (2005). In 2008, Time mentioned him among the 100 most influential people of the planet.