OMA completes Fondazione Prada project in Milan with addition of new concrete tower

Dutch studio OMA has completed the final structure of the Fondazione Prada arts compound in Milan, a 60m high tower, Torre, which was inaugurated during Milan Design Week.

Photography by Bas Princen (also feature image). Courtesy Fondazione Prada.

Torre is the third structure that OMA added to the former gin distillery, which transformed the 19,000m industrial campus into a venue for the art shows and cultural events, located in the southern edge of Milan.

Photography by Jacopo Milanesi, Courtesy of OMA.

Designed to promote a “new typology for the exhibition of art”, Torre is a white concrete tower featuring nine levels, each complete with various spatial parameters due to variations in plan dimensions, height, and orientation, with a facade that alternates between glass and concrete surfaces.

Photography by Jacopo Milanesi, Courtesy of OMA.

The height on each of the levels also differ, cumulatively increasing with each floor from the bottom to the top of the tower.

Photography by Bas Princen. Courtesy Fondazione Prada.

Photography by Bas Princen. Courtesy Fondazione Prada.

“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 alternates between panoramic city views to the North, or narrower views in opposite directions, East and West,” said founding partner Rem Koolhaas, who led the project.

Photography by Jacopo Milanesi, Courtesy of OMA.

Also leading the project were partner Chris van Duijin and project architect Frederico Pompignoli.

“With the completion of Torre, the only vertical gallery on the compound, Fondazione Prada can finally reveal its presence to the center of Milan, emphasizing the strong relation between Prada and the city of Milan,” said van Duijin.

Photography by Bas Princen. Courtesy Fondazione Prada.

OMA’s previous additions to the industrial complex included Podium which consists of an exhibition pavilion at the centre of the compound, complete with a translucent gallery space on the ground floor as well as a second gallery that is clad in aliminum foam on top.

Photography by Jacopo Milanesi, Courtesy of OMA.

The second addition is Cinema which is a multimedia auditorium with large bi-fold doors that can be used in multiple spatial configurations and combined with the outdoor courtyard.

Last year, OMA also inaugurated its first project in the UAE – an arts and events space called Concrete in AlSerkal Avenue, that features a translucent poly-carbonate facade which opens up to the central courtyard.

Speaking at an open lecture ahead of the inauguration, Koolhaas spoke about the firm’s contribution to Dubai and the UAE, and how Dubai “forced OMA to reinvent ideas on urbanism”. 

Koolhaas also commented on architecture in the Middle East, stating that overusing air conditioning and keeping people inside is not the solution for harsh weather. 

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