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OMA completes Milan's Fondazione Prada

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Rem Koolhaas’ practice OMA has completed this new home for art organisation the Fondazione Prada in Milan

The ‘art campus’, which has taken seven years to complete, opens to the public next weekend.

The 19,000m² project has transformed an existing early 20th-century gin distillery including warehouses, laboratories and brewing silos, with three new additions arranged around a central courtyard.

The scheme, which overhauled seven existing buildings, has created a museum, a temporary exhibition hall, a cinema, an auditorium, and a ten-storey permanent exhibition space.

OMA Foundacion Prada

Rem Koolhaas on Fondazione Prada

‘It is surprising that the enormous expansion of the art system has taken place in a reduced number of typologies for art’s display. To apparently everybody’s satisfaction, the abandoned industrial space has become art’s default preference - attractive because its predictable conditions do not challenge the artist’s intentions - enlivened occasionally with exceptional architectural gestures.

‘The new Fondazione Prada is projected in a former industrial complex too, but one with an unusual diversity of spatial environments. To this repertoire, we are adding three new buildings - a large exhibition pavilion, a tower, and a cinema - so that the new Fondazione Prada represents a genuine collection of architectural spaces in addition to its holdings in art.

‘The Fondazione is not a preservation project and not a new architecture. Two conditions that are usually kept separate here confront each other in a state of permanent interaction – offering an ensemble of fragments that will not congeal into a single image, or allow any part to dominate the others.’

‘New, old, horizontal, vertical, wide, narrow, white, black, open, enclosed - all these contrasts establish the range of oppositions that define the new Fondazione. By introducing so many spatial variables, the complexity of the architecture will promote an unstable, open programming, where art and architecture will benefit from each other’s challenges.

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