The architecture of the Maggiolina district: from Villa Mirabello to Milan’s igloo and mushroom-shaped houses

 

Maggiolina is a verdant residential district encompassing the Quartiere dei Giornalisti complex and part of the Mirabello neighbourhood. The latter contains the brick-built fifteenth-century suburban farmstead of the same name, with its L-shaped layout, high chimneys, pointed-arch windows and triportico with loggia facing onto an inner courtyard.

 

The nearby chapel of Santi Carlo e Vitale alle Abbadesse is also well worth a visit. This small church dedicated to two saints is as little known as it is beautiful, decorated with frescoes by Pietro Maggi and today protected by the cultural-heritage authority.

 

Milan’s igloo and mushroom-shaped houses

 

The district is home to one of the most intriguing residential experiments ever seen in Italy, the igloo homes, which originated as temporary housing for those displaced after the Second World War. The habitations have a circular shape, created using a vaulted construction.

The same highly original architect, Mario Cavallé, also experimented with mushroom-shaped houses; unfortunately no longer here.

 

 

Milan’s Casa Palafitta

 

Moving on, there is the eye-catching Casa Palafitta (“house on stilts”); a single-family villa designed and inhabited by architect Luigi Figini. Inspired by Le Corbusier’s renowned Villa Savoye, the building stands on 12 pillars on completely open, green space. It features ribbon windows and internal courtyards, creating highly liveable spaces and privacy. The architect imagined the villa as a magical place to welcome guests and share experiences.

 

 

Luigi Caccia Dominioni’s “bourgeois” residential complex

 

The “bourgeois” complex in Piazza Carbonari, designed in 1960 by architect Luigi Caccia Dominioni, certainly deserves note. This refined building aimed at the well-to-do citizen is located in an area which was on the outskirts of the city at the time, and stood as a landmark in the chaos of its surroundings.

The complex was made up of a series of overlapping urban villas facing onto gardens.

 

Torre Milano and the new Milanese skyline of the Maggiolina district

 

To bring us up to the present day, we must mention recent vertical development that has also touched the Maggiolina district. Here stands Torre Milano, created by Beretta Associati architects. This residential skyscraper has a green and contemporary approach, with a wide range of shared services.

Generally speaking, Maggiolina is a relaxed district with beautiful historic villas, little traffic and precious peace and quiet. It is the first example of a “garden city” in Italy, with citizens in the second half of the nineteenth century mobilizing to redesign urban space, reducing population density and expanding green spaces.

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