L6 – Antonio Monestiroliopere, progetti e studi di architettura


AUTHOR Massimo Ferrari (edit by)
YEAR 2001
ISBN 8843576771

Antonio Monestiroli has collected in this book twenty-eight projects, made between 1972 and 2000. Of these, only a few have been built or are in the process of being built, a fate, this, shared by many architects working in Italy. What the Milanese architect has designed and built stands out for the consistency that defines his figure and for the obstinacy of which it is an expression. Hence the uncompromising character of his work, a reiterated declaration of unwillingness to the urges coming from changing fashions in the world of architecture. If one looks at Monestiroli’s projects, one notices how they are the result of a curious contamination of different lessons.

On the one hand, in fact, they denounce the importance their author attaches to Aldo Rossi’s teaching, both on the theoretical and on the formal level: from the project for a kindergarten in Segrate (1972) to that for an elementary school in Fagnano Olona (1977), to the extension of the cemetery in Voghera (since 1995), Monestiroli’s works are the result of an insistent comparison with the projects and rare constructions of the young Rossi, with what he has realized up to the cemetery in Modena. On the other hand, Monestiroli’s debt to Mies van der Rohe, whose work he dealt with on several occasions, as his writings confirm, was then curiously resolved in the development of expressive formulas traceable to the projects of Ludwig Hilberseimer and the constructions of Heinrich Tessenow. Monestiroli succeeds in mixing and fruitfully employing such diverse references by virtue of the cult of simplicity he practices. At the origin of the formal reductions he favors is the belief that the main quality of the project consists in its transparency. This is not the transparency that glass or other materials allow for (if anything, the very programmatic absence of this kind of transparency in his works confirms how it is Hilberseimer and Tessenow, not Mies, who are the author’s favorite references in this volume). Transparency is a word that in Monestiroli’s case should be used as a synonym for clarity-clarity in making the constructive logic each project adopts immediately perceptible. Tightness in the conception of details, limpid tectonic essentiality, strict selection of the construction materials used, recourse to repetition and iteration in order to eloquently manifest the rigor of the variations of which the compositions are the result, exemplarity of typological choices and indifference to novelty: these are the characteristic features of the projects presented in these pages. Once again, this book also demonstrates how an obsession with topicality is ill reconciled with rigorous, grounded design work, conscious of its historicity, disenchanted but not cynical, such as Monestiroli’s.