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Novecento Piu Cento

open competition, 2021

project team: Jens Jakob Happ, Roberto Roel, Nan Wu, Sebastian Falconi

Our proposal is based on Giuseppe Mengoni’s unfinished plan for the Piazza del Duomo from 1863. A pivotal component to Mengoni’s plan was two monumental arched gates arranged at the north-south axis to balance the imposing façades of the Duomo. One of the gates leads to the Piazza Scala through Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II and the other leads to the modern Piazza Diaz through via Marconi. The proposed southern gate that frames Via Marconi will connect the two Arengario towers at their upper level and in doing so, the Museo Novecento will become a single connected exhibition complex dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The form of the proposed copper-plated steel gate is a transformation of the original monumental arch proposed by Mengoni and a reflection of the built gate of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II on the opposite side of the square, thus maintaining a physical continuity. The purpose of its curved form is to create two small round pocket squares along Via Marconi where people can gather, and public exhibitions of the museum’s artworks can be displayed. It also facilitates the connection points by forming vestibules in front of the entrance areas on either side of the arch. The radially arranged public furniture of these small squares is designed in a way that people may comfortably sit during a public performance. The big arched openings maintain the visual continuity from the axis between Piazza Scala and Piazza Diaz and allow people to easily pass through. The aim is not to compete with the two Arengario towers from Griffini, Magistretti, Muzio and Portaluppi but, through a modern yet timeless interpretation, complete the Piazza and connect the two towers.