It is about 1140 when the abbot Surger restore the church of Saint-Denis outside Paris and, came to the area of the choir, the most sacred space, he decided to design it soaring towards the sky and huge windows that let the light in, the one of God.
And it was the Gothic.
Half a century later, bishop Milone, after a fire which destroyed the old buildings, begins the reconstruction of the Cathedral of Beauvais: he was pushed by ambition, by the desire to go higher than anyone else, up to 70 meters – it is said, perhaps exaggerating a bit – of the ridges of arches. Too much, too much for the architectural techniques available in 1270, and in fact the daring construction did not hold, and the vault collapses. Rebuilt during subsequent decades, it is now believed to be the tallest church in the world.
With another time warp let’s go to 1418. The Opera of Florence Duomo is holding a competition to complete the great cathedral with equally great coverage. In charge of the venture were Filippo Brunelleschi and Lorenzo Ghiberti: it was due to them the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, the largest one ever built. These three ancient works even today, centuries later, leave us breathless provoking emotions that only revolutionary spirits – perhaps not free from a certain amount of recklessness – are able to pass with their genius.
2012. Milan, Porta Garibaldi. Another peak, this time made of steel, concrete and glass, the Unicredit Tower has changed the skyline of Milan, it is seen from Centrale, Monumental Cemetery, Interland, in those rare but beautiful clear Milanese days. Made by the argentine architect César Pelli, is now the tallest skyscraper of Italy, it stands up to 231 meters with its spire that the Madonnina is forced to watch – surprised and admired, too – from the bottom. With its huge wrap like a rolled sheet, whose center is Piazza Gae Aulenti, it is thought as the directional pole of a bank that has invested in a property, of course, but also an amazing communication campaign full of beauty of modernity and power.
Risk and ambition, money and glory are always been at the base of Avant-garde, that with the passage of time deserves to fall into the category “masterpieces”, because it innovates, because it is expression of his contemporary, because it is not imitation or trivialization of older models. Milan is changing, is betting on this century than anywhere else apparently not yet begun. And we can not wait to find ourselves with the nose under the skyscrapers of Daniel Libeskind, Zaha Hadid and Arada Isozaki in future district City Life.