Project by: OMA
Publications: IGNANT Magazine, March 15 2018
Since 1995, Rem Koolhaas has overseen the transformation of a 1900s gin distillery into an expansive art center for Miuccia Prada. Located in Largo Isarco in the southern part of Milan, ‘Fondazione Prada’ is a multifaceted space designed to challenge conventional exhibition and art practices.
The site lies in a sparse, outlying neighborhood in Milan, and were it not for the two buildings—one glittering gold, one white and concrete—that break up the traditional terracotta skyline, you would be forgiven for not realizing it was there. ‘Fondazione Prada’ functions here as a cultural institution that explores art, literature, theatre, film, music, philosophy and science. As Miuccia Prada explained, ‘Fondazione Prada’ is not a museum, “but rather the continuation of an intellectual process founded on the exploration of doubt and on extensive research.”
Originally opened in 2014, the campus is a bold complex of exhibition venues and architectural interventions. The reimagination of this industrial site has been in motion since 1995, and today includes seven existing buildings and three new structures: ‘Podium’, ‘Cinema’, and ‘Torre’. The latter, ‘Torre’—a nine-storey tower constructed from exposed white concrete, marked the completion of OMA’s conversion in 2018. “Torre is the final section of a collection of different exhibition conditions that together define ‘Fondazione Prada’,” Koolhaas explained of the project. “To extend the typologies offered by the Fondazione, a series of systematic variations is applied: each next floor is taller than the previous one, rectangular plans alternate with wedge shapes, the orientation of the rooms alternate between panoramic city views to the North, or narrower views in opposite directions, East and West.”