Must see: Fondazione Prada by Rem Koolhaas
The facade of this hundred year old former distillery, renovated by Rem Koolhaas, is not marked by a flashy Prada logo. Instead, a discreet signing 'Fondazione Prada' tells you this is indeed the Prada art and culture institution. You could've easily missed it.
It's a trend in the art world to renovate industrial buildings into art institutions - like the Tate Modern or the many German musea that are located in former factories or plants. However, it is hard to find an industrial renovation as beautiful as Koolhaas' bureau OMA did for Fondazione Prada. The distillery, that dates back to 1910, consists of seven different buildings like old warehouses and silos. During renovation, the original industrial style of most of the buildings has been preserved. Koolhaas added three new ones: a glass art hall (Podium), a movie theater of stainless steel (Cinema) and a ten-floor tower of white concrete (Torre). The Fondazione Prada offers 19.000 sqm exhibition space - twice the size of the recently opened Whitney Museum in New York.
Koolhaas, who previously designed Prada storesin New York and Los Angeles http://oma.eu/projects/prada-los-angeles, refers to the complex as 'a campus'. You could also call it a little art town, with squares, alleys and gangways. The famous architect explains: “The Fondazione is not a preservation project and not a new architecture. Two conditions that are usually kept separate here confront each other in a state of permanent interaction – offering an ensemble of fragments that will not congeal into a single image, or allow any part to dominate the others."