Here at Zero, we watched Prada’s white tower grow day by day, Koolhaas’s finishing touch to the former distillery. Gazing up from Via Quaranta 40, through the windows of the bizarre Gabetti building where we work, in the area that we have recently dubbed SOUPRA (South of Prada) to keep up with the latest naming trends, we watched the building grow up to 60 metres, framed between the strong>Panificio Automatico Continuo and the picturesque chimney stack opposite Plastic. And we always wondered what that strange diagonal thing behind the building was for. Naturally it was a purely idle thought, this is no longer the age of Loos, ornamentation is no longer a crime. However, we now know that it connects the tower to the warehouse and that it hides a panoramic elevator (a straight one, mind, not some kind of diagonal lift).
Sadly, we aren’t the best spot for tower-gazing, because the Symbiosis building and what will soon be the Fastweb building have grown in turn behind Prada and obscured our view. What looks like a side-on rectangle from behind, has a zig-zag profile when looking from the entrance to the citadel, almost as though a large blade had sliced out two wedges from the inside. What provides a perfect façade from the outside endows the interior with extraordinary movement: every floor is different from the next, with heights ranging from the standard 2.7 metres to a vast 8 metres. Some have a trapezoidal floorplan and others rectangular, making space for restaurants and artworks and gigantic installations.
There is no question that the rooftop will be one of the best spots in town for observing the urban development of Milan: the view from up there will take in the evolution of the rail yard, which we hope resembles Cino Zucchi’s bright idea for a large piazza to link north and south, as well as the molecular development of SOUPRA itself, with the next Piazza delle Arti just around the corner and who knows what else.
The Zero team will be there with drinks in hand, looking down on the Gabetti building with great satisfaction.
Written by Lucia Tozzi