Slab, point-access
Corso Italia
Moretti, Luigi | Milan, Italy | 1951-56
Image of Corso Ital...
View of office and residential slab at the end of the entry courtyard. The apartments occur at the upper 7 floors.

ProjectCorso Italia
ArchitectMoretti, Luigi
AddressCorso Italia 13-17/via Rugabella 21
Building TypeSlab, point-access
Number of Dwellingsc. 40
Date Built1951-56
Dwelling Types2 & 3 BR flats
No. Floors3,6,9, 14 (top 7 floors apartments)
Section Typeflats
Exterior Finish
ceramic tile, curtain wall
Construction TypeR-C frame,
Ancillary Servicesshops, offices, below grade parking

Most of Moretti's Italian work is in Rome. Although he lived and practiced for a period after WWII in Milan, his best known housing projects are in Rome. A notable exception is this dense office, residential and shopping center on one of the principle radial streets in the center of Milan, Corso Italia. The complex consists of 5 discrete building elements: a low 3 story building along Via Rugabella, a 9 story office block, a 6 story office block, a two story bridge-like element connecting these two and a 14 story mixed office & residential slab. An entrance street off Corso Italia forms a long courtyard enclosed on the south by a 6-story office slab and on the north by a 9-story office slab. The taller of these two slabs has a trapezoidal shape that forms a very narrow blank wall facing Corso Italia but has a deflected surface along the courtyard forming a forced perspective that opens to the residential slab as the viewer progresses along the courtyard. The end of this long courtyard is enclosed by a 14-story slab with 7 floors of apartments above a zone of offices on the lower 7 floors. This building faces a landscaped garden on the east. An interior street passes through the courtyard beneath the large slab and through the garden. Shops occupy the ground floor of the three smaller buildings and parking garages are located below the 4 slabs. The two east/west slabs are connected together with a bridge two floors in depth which spans the street forming, along with the narrow end of the 9-story block, a gateway beneath from Corso Italia. The rear slab is divided in two with a stair/elevator circulation block in each and two large apartments per floor in the top 7 floors. The residential floors are differentiated by the horizontal bands of cantilevered balconies.

This complex retains many of the mannerisms associated with earlier Moretti buildings. The slightly deflected walls seem derived from the Astrea Co-op of 1949. The narrow cleavage of the tall western slab provides an aperture to the garden space behind recalling a similar coulisse condition in Il Girasole apartments in Rome completed in 1950. The attention to the curtain wall glass details so important with Girasole and the recall of traditional palazzo concepts of base, piano nobile and attic, the idea of elevational zoning and extended layering that is evident in both the office and residential slabs here seem also to be details begun with the earlier experience in Rome. Corso Italia combines the range of functions typical of difficult, dense urban sites where unlike typical social housing, ground floor commercial use and office are a necessary part of the planning package. It would be hard to find a more difficult infill site; an irregular block, existing buildings and spaces and a complex program that includes underground parking. Corso Italia is also a remarkable design for this early date.

Grandi, Maurizio & Attilio Pracchi, Milano; Guida all'architettura moderna, Zanichelli Editore, Bologna, 1980, pp. 369 & 313.

Arquitectura (Madrid), No. 282, Jan-Feb, 1990, p. 56.

Finelli, Luciana, Luigi Moretti la promese e il debito, Officina edizioni, Roma, 1989, p. 61.

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