The Torre Valesca by BBPR is part of the first generation of Italian modern architecture, while still being part of the Milanese context in which it was born, to which also belongs the Milan cathedral and the Sforzesco Castle. The tower, approximately 100 metres tall, has a peculiar and characteristic mushroom-like shape. The tower recalls the Lombard tradition of medieval fortresses and towers. In such fortresses, the lower parts were always narrower, while the higher parts propped up by wooden boards or stone beams. Planning laws required that the various programmes within the tower – mixed functions of residential and commercial use – be expressed volumetrically.

A by-product of the mushroom morphology is the urban panorama which an enlarged top floor plate allows. The tower / signal box as an urban periscope? What expanded views might be afforded over Shoreditch?  The overlooking of the adjacent park (Allen Gardens) could be enhanced as unnatural surveillance. Or a view to Christ Church framed by a window of steepled proportions?


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