The building is organized in two buildings of different size on an L-layout. It introduces a number of high quality projects built in this area of Milan's historic center, partly damaged in the war. Here, a short way from San Simpliciano's cloisters, where BBPR worked to restore the convent also creating spaces for its own studio, there is the residential complex on Via dei Chiostri (1961-1970), also by BBPR, and the Pirelli house (1962-1964) by Luigi Caccia Dominioni; Vico Magistretti completed the "triad" in the late 1960s with a mixed-use complex between Via San Marco and Via Solferino (1969-1971).


GPA Monti (Gianemilio, Piero and Anna Bertarini, Piero's wife) consisted of cultured, sophisticated professionals, hired to design the block between Via Tessa, Via San Simpliciano, and Corso Garibaldi for apartments and retail space. The architects decided to proceed following the organization of two different volumes, emphasizing the façade on Corso Garibaldi with a building that is three floors higher than the four above-ground floors of the shorter unit, which has wider façades. Central to the composition is the theme of cladding, showing sophisticated mastery in the use of traditional materials like brick. Though it references the preexisting adjacent building of S. Simpliciano, for GPA Monti it was a recognizable mark on which to try out sophisticated textures, here mainly at the corners. It is starting specifically from the corner that the entire complex's composition is organized. The two buildings different heights mark the different characters of the streets they face. The base that holds the retail businesses, marked by a continuous light stone string course, rises at the corner of Corso Garibaldi. On a compositional level, an important role was given to defining the apartments' layout. They are the elements that generate the layout of the façadés, where thin openings and "French windows" alternate with slightly projecting windows, distributed with a tighter rhythm in the tower than the more relaxed one on the streets. The interior site plan organization is informed by the "human scale" often stressed by Gianemilio Monti as an essential basis of contemporary design. Shifts in height and differences in apartment sizes were devices in the pursuit of continuous, fluid spaces. The use of large, fullheight windows in the living rooms on the fourth and fifth floor was tied to the intent to favor the view of the avenue. This is also true of openings on the last floor of the lower building, made a mansard (topped by a private terrace and underscored by the projecting cornice that is a counterpoint to the architrave system of the shops) for a view of the church of San Simpliciano.


Between 1962 and 1965, the Monti studio also designed interiors for the home of the painter Pino Tovaglia, where the differentiation of functions corresponded to different spaces through the sophisticated variations of floors; the continuity of the space was achieved by using the same emerald green Japanese fabric on the walls.


Maria Vittoria Capitanucci

Pianta del piano terra
Sezione longitudinale su via Tessa
Vista prospettica

Buildings for residence and offices

Milano, Brera