Breathtaking encounter of architecture & education
The founder of the famous Feltrinelli publishing house, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, was one of the most illustrious figures of post-war Italy. The publisher, politician, and revolutionary counted Che Guevara among his close friends, and his years in the political underground are the stuff of legend. Since that time, the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli has tended his legacy.
Herzog & de Meuron (Basel) paid an architectural tribute to Feltrinelli with the construction of the foundation’s new HQ: an elegant two-part glass building stands at the Porta Volta – where the Brera, Garibaldi, and Paolo Sarpi districts meet. This is the first significant building in Italy by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. Jacques Herzog describes the structure, standing at 200 meters long and 32 meters high with its steeply pitched roof and angled facade, as a “secular cathedral”.
Taking just two years to build, the public building was completed in what is now the center of Milan. The ground-floor entrance area is home to the latest bookstore of the Feltrinelli publishing house, extending over an open area of 400 square meters and featuring its own bar. The second story houses a multi-purpose room for events; offices and seminar rooms are located on the third and fourth floors; and the top floor boasts a beautiful reading room with a view of the city’s rooftops. The building has a total of seven stories: five above ground, two below. The foundation regards itself as an open, forward-looking cultural center. The Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli is intended to be a meeting point, a place of interaction – with an international program of exhibitions, concerts, and film screenings. The various bathrooms throughout the building are fitted out with Darling New, the bathroom range conceived by sieger design for Duravit.