Teatro alla Scala’s new tower inaugurates in Milan: the project explained by Mario Botta

The superficial works have been completed, but for the “beating heart” of the new extension, the competition has just begun, says Mario Botta, who designed the building with Emilio Pizzi.

Today, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala celebrates the inauguration of the new tower on Via Verdi, designed by Mario Botta in collaboration with Emilio Pizzi. The theater, designed by Giuseppe Piermarini (1778), was extended by two new buildings in 2004. A third will be added. The 38-meter-high structure will house the new ninth-floor dance rehearsal room (145 square meters), the offices up to the eighth floor, the backstage unloading and pre-assembly area (235 square meters), and two large terraces on the fourth and sixth floors (152 and 134 square meters).

Mario Botta shared details of the project with Domus, stating that he had already included the Via Verdi building in the 2004 reorganization plan for the theater. Therefore, “the project is a legacy of the past, an intuition that already included this component as the last reserve of the La Scala’s spaces”.

Among the spaces not yet completed, there is what the Ticino architect defines as the “beating heart” of the new extension: the orchestra’s rehearsal room, equipped for recording, whose structural work has been completed but will not be finished until the spring of 2024. It is a hypogean space of 302 square meters – a surface similar to that of the stage – with a height of 14 meters. A competition has been launched for the creation of acoustic coverings, which is currently in the awarding phase. “With the change of government that has taken place, the contract for the furnishings of La Scala, especially the wooden part, has only recently been awarded,” explains the Ticino architect. “The construction site is a machine with its own life, it cannot be bent to political needs. The fact that it is being inaugurated now may be somewhat counterproductive in terms of the project's image,” Botta concludes.

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