The Monte Amiata Housing Development was built between 1967 and 1974 to an urban design coordinated by Carlo Aymonino and is considered the manifesto of the architectural theories on social buildings of the late 1960s. The architects ignored all links to the context and revived key features of the historic city: the street, square, theatre and shared balcony.
The result is a series of five constructions in different heights but designed as a single large one. The buildings are the product of multiple combinations of geometric shapes: the cube, parallelepiped and cylinder. This generates a sequence of semi-public spaces that break away from the traditional concept of the private building and embraces a more communal concept of collective living, clearly conveyed by a large open-air theatre, the symbolic nexus of the design.
Squares, terraces and shopping spaces open up along covered and uncovered passages.
Aymonino’s dark constructions contrast with the pure white apartment building (1969-70) by Aldo Rossi, a single straight block 182 m long and 12 m deep with a system of shared balconies leading to the apartments. The ground floor features a spectacular porticoed gallery, a covered street with closely set thin walls and four monumental columns positioned close to the stairs to mark the differing heights of the passageway. The building’s long fronts are distinguished by a repetition of the square window and covered balcony modules, reiterating a pattern typical of Rossi’s architecture. The project was based on a number of studies on traditional Lombard balconied dwellings.
[Text from Comune di Milano]