La Scala’s workshops and warehouses move to the outskirts of the city

The most famous theater in the world is looking for a new building for its laboratories and warehouses.

The cover of the call for an international design competition for the “Magnifica Fabbrica” that will include the creation of new laboratories and warehouses for the Teatro alla Scala and the extension of the Lambretta Park. Comune di Milano

On the one hand, the mission is to regenerate the area once occupied by the Innocenti factory, as envisioned in the Territorial Government Plan; on the other, to guarantee a suitable location for the needs of one of the most important cultural institutions in Milan and the entire country. 

The future of the Rubattino borough begins with the launch of an international design competition for the “Magnifica Fabbrica” that will include the creation of new laboratories and warehouses for the Teatro alla Scala and the extension of the Lambretta Park.

A photo of the current state of the property. Photo Comune di Milano.

The project was presented on Wednesday at Palazzo Marino in the presence of the Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, the Superintendent of Teatro alla Scala, Dominique Meyer, the Councillor for Culture Tommaso Sacchi and the Councillor for Urban Regeneration Giancarlo Tancredi.
“This is the first major piece of an even more extensive redevelopment project,” said Mayor Beppe Sala, “a sustainable design that aims to give a new centrality to the neighborhoods linking the historic center and the wider city. In particular, the relocation to the Rubattino area of the Teatro alla Scala’s laboratories and warehouses will create a cultural and creative center that will be always active and that will be inextricably linked to the theatre’s activities. The project’s sustainability will involve not only innovative solutions to protect the environment but also the expansion of the Lambretta Park.”

“The project on the Rubattino area” – added Mr. Meyer – “is part of two strategic aspects for La Scala. The first is the completion of an overall reorganization of the properties that began with the renovation of the theatre in 2001 and continues with the construction of the new building designed by architect Botta, which will bring together the offices and house the new rehearsal room for the orchestra. The ‘Magnifica fabbrica’ will bring great organizational and ecological advantages, which are and will be increasingly important. The second aspect is the interaction with the city. La Scala is not only a symbol of Milan but also an institution that thrives on the relationship with its citizens. We have seen this with the enthusiasm of the public on these first evenings at full capacity, and the success of initiatives such as La Scala in the City and the Prima Diffusa, now in its tenth year. Going outside the walls, engaging in dialogue with the neighborhoods and animating new spaces are crucial challenges for La Scala in the years to come.”

Currently, the laboratories for the Teatro alla Scala are housed in an ex industrial complex on Via Bergognone, in the Tortona district. Photo Comune di Milano.

The objective of the City of Milan, in agreement with the Fondazione Teatro alla Scala, is to create a new cultural, artistic, and production hub that will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The new venue, which will bring together several departments of the theater currently located in different parts of the city, will have to include both spaces partially open to the public dedicated to creative and cultural activities as well as the rehearsal rooms and areas for storing stage materials.  The design should have an approach oriented towards sustainability, focusing on innovative and environmentally friendly solutions.  The new complex may have several floors above ground; but given its proximity to Milan-Linate airport, the building height limit must be respected.

 At the same time, the City Council is looking for a plan for the extension of the Lambretta Park, which is set to double its size, providing for the improvement of the Lambro river area, and the protection of biodiversity. Rubattino’s new green lung should become a central part of the neighborhood and will be able to host various events open to the city, in synergy with La Scala’s workshops, such as shows and concerts. 

A map of the area that will house the new laboratories and warehouses of the Milan theater. Image Comune di Milano.

The “Magnifica Fabbrica” competition calls for the development of two possible scenarios: the first will involve maintaining the current route of Via Marcinelle, while the second option will involve a single area uninterrupted by the road. Of course, the design will also have to take into account the economic costs of the project, estimated at 120 million euro – 98 million of which for the part relating to the Scala laboratories and depots and 22 million for the extension of the Lambretta Park.

Gianmaria Biancuzzi is executive editor of Milano Art Guide.