David Chipperfield has boycotted the official opening of his £43 million Mudec Museum of Culture in Milan and is taking legal proceedings over alleged defects in a floor
The RIBA Gold Medallist declined mayor Giuliano Pisapia’s invitation to the ceremony because of an ongoing dispute over poorly laid stone flooring.
In a statement published on David Chipperfield Architects’ (DCA) website, the firm claimed it had ‘played no part in the artistic supervision’ of the permanent gallery’s fit out.
It also alleged the client, Milan City Council, had made no attempt to correct defects, even though Chipperfield had been raising concerns about the flooring for more than two years.
The latest statement said: ‘The Milan City Council is opening the doors of the museum despite David Chipperfield Architects having played no part in the artistic supervision of the design of the permanent exhibition and despite the fact that the Milan City Council has not attempted to rectify the defects in the realisation of the museum that David Chipperfield Architects has been calling attention to for the last two years.’
Shortly after Mudec‘s soft launch in March, the architect spoke out about a poorly laid 5,000m² stone floor, featuring scratches and stains, which he claimed had created a ‘museum of horrors’.
He revealed that the practice had offered to forfeit £107,000 in fees to pay for half the cost of relaying the floor, but that this was rejected.
David Chipperfield Architects is now taking legal proceedings against the council.
The practice’s statement continues: ‘As legal proceedings to the Court of Milan are currently pending between the parties in order to establish both the existence of and the liability for the defects claimed by David Chipperfield Architects, David Chipperfield responded in writing to decline Mayor Giuliano Pisapia’s invitation to the opening. Neither David Chipperfield himself nor a member of David Chipperfield Architects will be present.
‘Lawyers representing the parties concerned are currently in confidential negotiations through the courts in order to understand whether a settlement can be reached so as to draw this controversy to a close and finish Mudec in the way the City of Milan deserves.’
Earlier this year French architect Jean Nouvel failed in similar legal bid to remedy design changes that allegedly ‘savaged and sabotaged’ his Philharmonie de Paris concert hall.
The Pritzker Prize-winning architect had boycotted the £280 million venue’s official opening and called for ‘amending work’ to remedy 26 incidents of ‘non-compliance’ with his original design.
Chipperfield won a contest to transform the former steel works into a new cultural museum almost 14 years ago.
The Mudec project created a new home for Milan’s Centre for Advanced Studies of Visual Art and the Centre of Non-European Cultures. The scheme also includes a puppet workshop and archaeological museum.
Chipperfield’s design features a number of zinc-clad buildings arranged around a central curved glass ‘lantern’.