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Chipperfield hits out at ‘unacceptable quality’ of Milan museum’s flooring

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David Chipperfield has demanded his name be taken off the flooring of Milan’s £44 million Museum of Culture following clashes over the ‘poor quality’ of materials used on the scheme

According to The Independent, Chipperfield hit out at ‘the laying of stone of poor quality’ for the Milan Museum of Culture’s floors claiming it had turned the building into a ‘museum of horrors’.

The floors throughout the cultural space contained pieces of stone that were scratched, stained and poorly laid - according to the RIBA gold medallist.

The dispute over the 5,000m2 of poorly laid flooring has been ongoing for 18 months, and Chipperfield said that throughout this time ‘at no point did we resort to anything other than trying to resolve the physical mistakes made to the building’.

In a statement, Milan council said: ‘It cost €60m, of which €3.6m went to Chipperfield for his design and project management. These are sums of money appropriate for a public institution and right for the importance of the project, but it was necessary to make choices based on common sense and in the interests of the taxpayers.’

The statement continued: ‘The samples and the visits to the quarry supplying the material were overseen by staff of the office of David Chipperfield Architects, who validated the choice of the material used.’

But Chipperfield, who had been working on the job for more than 15 years, responded: ‘My ‘Italian career’ wasn’t motivated by a desire to become rich but to work in a society that has a deep history and profound understanding of the importance of architecture, the city.

‘Despite the fact that the process was at times exceptionally frustrating, despite the fact that the project started and stopped many times and despite the fact that the public administration began construction without engaging us in 2009, despite the fact that we have attended the project for the last three years with no fee at all, and the previous two years we were paid just over €100,000, despite all these frustrations, we were, 18 months ago quite satisfied by what had been achieved.’

He added that the practice had attempted to engage with the Italian administration to resolve the issues with the flooring.

‘Specialist subcontractors who work with us agreed to donate their work at a minimum cost. Responding to the public administrations demands on time, as we were working to the deadline of a September opening, these specialists put together a team to do the work during August. During august they would have sent in a specialist team to work continuously, to guarantee an acceptable homogeneity to the floor for approximately €300,000. Quite an offer, all problems gone for €300.000!’, Chipperfield said.

He added: ‘The public administration’s reply was, could they do it for free? Being resilient and rather stupid we offered that the public administration could use an outstanding fee owed to my office of approximately €150.000, presuming that this would make it into an offer that couldn’t be refused.

‘That was the situation in last September after months of work and collaboration, including and in fact centering on August. As of today the specialists have not had any further correspondence and nothing has been done to the floor.’

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