Milan and architecture: an ongoing discovery

Beatrice Costa, Director of the Foundation of the Chamber of Architects of Milan, and architecture in Milan

In Milan, the Foundation of the Chamber of Architects works intensely to promote the design culture and the knowledge of the territory through architecture. We have talked about it with Beatrice Costa, Director of the Foundation since 2018.

Beatrice Costa

The Foundation of the Chamber of Architects, Planners, Landscape Architects and Conservators of the Province of Milan was born in 1998 – explains Beatrice Costa. Therefore, the Foundation has been promoting culture for over twenty years. Since 2014, with the introduction of mandatory continuing professional development, we have offered initiatives aimed at the professional development of the members, in agreement with the Chamber of Architects. Moreover, again on behalf of the Chamber, we offer some services supporting the profession.

Let’s start with the cultural activities: are they open to all the citizens?

The cultural initiative that we have been organizing for the longest time is represented by the evenings dedicated to architecture. This is a program that has been running for several years now, with several appointments during the year, evenings of debate on various themes, with Italian and international guests. Another quite complex activity is our editorial program, which includes publications that can be read also by a non-expert audience. For example, Itinerari di Architettura Milanese is a series dedicated to modern and contemporary architectural projects in Milan. It is a guide to discover the most recent interesting buildings, which are often less known but equally interesting. All publications can be purchased on the Chamber’s e-shop.

Cover of the volume of Itinerari di Architettura Milanese dedicated to Asnago and Vender

Next to the Itinerari, the editorial program includes more technical publications, such as the Guide Paese. The first guide of this new series, edited by Francesca Frassoldati, professor at Politecnico di Torino, is dedicated to China. Among other things, the guide contains legal and fiscal notes on the architectural profession in China, tips and interviews with architects working there; it is an aid for those who want to extend their activity to other countries.


Moreover, over the last two years, the editorial program has been enriched by two Quaderni. The most recent of them, dedicated to Giancarlo De Carlo, featured many international contributions.”

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Quaderno di architettura published by the Foundation of the Chamber of Architects of Milan, dedicated to Giancarlo De Carlo

During 2020, with the pandemic, were you still able to carry out your various activities?

We, as Chamber of Architects and Foundation, have offered for several years now the possibility to connect remotely, which is very useful for training. Moreover, Milan is a pole of attraction – and even more so in recent years – so we have always had many requests to participate in cultural activities, and the online mode has allowed a wider audience to participate. With the pandemic, we have simply amplified and accelerated this mode of work. In this way, our activity has continued without interruption. In May, for example, we organized the General convention of Milanese architects completely online, with several working tables and a final conference. It was an interesting opportunity to reflect both on the post-pandemic world and on the city of Milan. Moreover, we took advantage of the occasion to give a new impulse to the editorial activity, for example by developing some podcasts for book presentations or other contributions.

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Among the various initiatives, the Chamber of Architects of Milan organizes several awards

Beatrice Costa continues: “Another significant activity is the institution of awards, assigned to architectural projects and to closely related disciplines. The biennial Premio Gabriele Basilico, organized by the Chamber of Architects of the Province of Milan, Studio Gabriele Basilico and Fondazione Studio Marangoni is dedicated to architectural photography. A closely related biennial award is the International Architecture Film Award (AFA), promoted by the Milano Design Film Festival, the Chamber of Architects of Milan and the Foundation. The Matilde Baffa Ugo Rivolta European Architecture Award, organized by the Chamber of Architects of Milan every two years, rewards Europe’s best social housing projects and is a reference for the international debate on social housing. Finally, every year the Chamber of Architects of Milan rewards recent graduates from Politecnico di Milano to encourage young architects to embrace the profession.

Conferences are continuing thanks to the virtual room. What conferences are on the schedule?

The virtual environment was very helpful to keep holding events in 2020. Given the situation, of course, we had to cancel the main in-person initiatives, including the exhibition during the Fuorisalone. Among the various successful initiatives, we can mention the series of meetings on women’s architecture. Last summer, there were two evenings dedicated to Franca Helg, organized by the Foundation of the Chamber of Architects with the Franco Albini Foundation, on the occasion of the centenary of her birth.

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Last autumn, we organized two meetings dedicated to women’s architecture in Finland and in Switzerland. This series of conferences continues; we have recently held a meeting dedicated to women’s architecture in the United Kingdom, and on February 18 there will be a conference dedicated to women’s architecture in Denmark. The theme of women’s presence in the various professions is very topical, and we are extremely interested in promoting the quality of women’s architecture, both because it is made by women and because it is interesting and of good quality”.

Discover The contribution of women in contemporary architecture in the United Kingdom

Featured image: Ca’ Brutta, a project by Giovanni Muzio, 1919-21

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