TAP – Torre al Parco

Magistretti - Olivari


5-10 September 2021
Guided tours and exhibition in the atrium of the building Torre al Parco

Torre al Parco
Vico Magistretti, Franco Longoni
Via Revere 2, Milan

Four visits a day (one in english)
From 4.00 pm to 6.00 pm – Duration: 30 minutes
Maximum 15 guests to each group

In collaboration with Fondazione Vico Magistretti

The visits will be conducted by architects Marialuisa Montanari and Stefano Suriano, of the Ad Urbem studio, specialized in promoting the knowledge and dissemination of modern Milanese architecture.

For the occasion, a careful study of the material preserved in the Magistretti historical archive was carried out. Part of the collected material has flowed into the volume “TAP2021”, which summarizes the main elements of the project, both in the architectural and construction aspects.
At the end of the visit, all participants will be given a free copy of the volume.


The Magistretti-Olivari collaboration

In the 1950s, design was born with architects and their architecture. Also in the case of Torre al Parco, the architects invented every last detail of the building from construction elements to the door-handles. The latter were designed by Vico Magistretti and produced by Olivari in 1955 specifically for this purpose.

The “Torre del Parco” handle was part of the Olivari range from 1962 to the 1980s under the name of the building for which it was designed. Made in die-cast and polished brass, the handle came in different versions for doors and French doors.

The light-weight simplicity of the softly curved, thin element responds to the need to reduce the quantity of metal wherever possible. Indeed, the grip is small for current standards, but correctly proportioned for the doors and window frames of those years, which were narrow. The escutcheons were very little, too, corresponding to the handle.

Historical notes

The story of Torre al Parco began in 1953, when the Liquigas company asked Vico Magistretti and Franco Longoni to design a residential building.

The architects’ proposal establishes a prime relationship with the greenery of Parco Sempione by going tall and only using one third of the surface area at their disposal (450 square metres out of a total of 1,200).

The lot lies along the last segment of the railway cutting belonging to the Ferrovie Nord Milano train company. The design required special permission from the City of Milan to transfer the already approved number of cubic metres (for the construction of a traditional 30-metre-high housing block with a closed court) to a soaring new 85-metre-tall residential tower with a smaller footprint.

The high-rise as an expression of modern living

The Torre al Parco building (1953–1956) by Ludovico (“Vico”) Magistretti and Franco Longoni is said to be one of the most elegant residential high-rises in central Milan due to the modernity of its urban image and the refinement of its spatial qualities.

Its 21 aboveground storeys plus 3 underground storeys for parking are laid out in an L-shaped plan. Right behind the inner corner, a polygonal stairwell begins its ascent. All ancillary rooms look out onto the two-sided inward angle. Living rooms and other larger rooms open onto the external sides of the L toward the greenery of the park and the skyline of the city centre.

In their concept for this design, Magistretti and Longoni reinterpret the principle of stacked villas, a popular housing type in Milan back then, and adapted it to skyscraper proportions. By freely layering two typical floor-plans in an irregular rhythm that creates the elevations’ voids and solids, the architects offer a many-faceted and complex idea of the architectural organism.

The playfulness and variety that characterises the facades continues for the indoor arrangement of the apartments in size and layout, which correspond to the individualistic needs of Milan’s entrepreneurial bourgeoisie in those years, who felt a growing urge to personalise their living space.

As Magistretti writes in the project description, the Torre al Parco represents “a volumetric expression that aims for detachment from the spirit of the skyscraper intended as an algebraic multiplication of storeys truncated at a certain height by regulations. Instead, it aims to portray and express as much as possible the individuality of the single dwelling.”