LA VERDI AUDITORIUM
L.go Gustav Mahler | Milan
Arch. Giancarlo Marzorati
Arch. Enrico Favero
The Cariplo Foundation Auditorium of Milan, which is the home of the Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Milan, was inaugurated in October 1999. In just a few years, it became one of the main cultural centers in the city. The Milan Auditorium currently hosts the actual headquarters of the Verdi Orchestra of Milan on Corso San Gottardo (between Via Conchetta and Via Torricelli). Built in 1920 as the "La Montagnetta Cineteatro", it became the "Cinema Gottardo" in 1932. Remodeled again in 1937, it was renamed "Cinema Massimo". The building was damaged by bombing during World War II. Rebuilt, it became the home of Milanese theater and culture in the '70s, presenting performances and concerts. It closed in 1979 and became a TV studio.
In the following years, the building was left in a state of great disrepair until entrepreneur Agostino Liuni bought it and decided to renovate the historically important venue. His passion for music and culture convinced him to launch a renovation project of the hall as the future home of the Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
Liuni entrusted the project to the Marzorati architecture and design studio in 1999. The result is a multipurpose space for various activities (symphonic, choral, jazz and pop music concerts, film screenings, etc), with a capacity of about 1,300 seats. The space also is equipped with recording studios, rehearsal rooms for orchestra and chorus, and briefing areas.
The seats are distributed in the spoon-shaped parterre and tiered gallery with curved balustrade that wraps around the back of the theater. The ceiling is characterized by the original exposed reinforced concrete lattice beams arranged in a striking radial pattern branching out towards the proscenium that the restoration project enhanced and emphasized. The acoustic shell-shaped proscenium is 20 meters wide. The excellent acoustics of the hall were obtained by covering the top of the ceiling and walls with curved pear wood panels. The thick wood panels with different curvatures are spaced to reflect the sound properly and to ensure adequate reverberation times. The need for excellent acoustics not only concerned the interior, but also the exterior, with overlapping double doors and soundproofing layers in all walls as well as soundproof insulation of the mechanical systems.
Above the stage are spaced suspended wood panels resembling sails that not only serve for acoustical purposes but also house projection screens. On November 28, 2001 Milan Mayor Gabriele Albertini renamed the square in front of the auditorium "Largo Gustav Mahler", in recognition of the Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra's musical and cultural importance in Milan.