Tuesday, September 5, 2017

once you’ve seen this shopping center…

you’ve seen the mall.

Italian architect Giuseppe Mengoni was tasked with creating a monumental gathering place in the center of Milan in the mid-1800’s.

He won an International Competition for his design of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, a huge tunnel-like shopping mall connecting the Duomo Cathedral with the La Scala Opera House.

The first stone was laid in 1865 and it was completed in 1877, about 9 years before our own ClockTower.

The internal streets are covered by a soaring cast iron arcade with intricate glass inserts, and for decades the roof was prone to leaks.

At the central intersection a huge glass and iron dome was created, almost 125 feet in diameter.

The detailing was so complex, Mengoni was often called to the worksite to climb the scaffolds and answer questions about his intent.

But alas, this did not work out so well.

On December 30, 1877 Mengoni fell from the roof while inspecting the waterproofing details.

He died that day at just 48, 
not living to see his finished masterpiece.


Modern mall design owes a lot to the Galleria.

But the Galleria appears to have figured out how to survive!

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