Renzo Piano, Four single-family houses in Cusago, Milano (Italy), 1972-74

Renzo Piano, Four single-family houses in Cusago, Milano (Italy), 1972-74

The four single-family houses designed by Renzo Piano (and Richard Rogers) between 1970 and 1974 in the Municipality of Cusago represent a significant part of his entire work, early testimonies of some design criteria which the architect has consistently been faithful to: maximum freedom of interior space; consequently no intermediate supports; necessary support of the roof formed by thin beams and visually autonomous from the underlying casing; thermal insulation, obtained by means of the ventilation chamber consisting of the double covering above and below the beams (double skin); concept of ‘prototype’ that the same unit is repeated many times in certain pattern.

In Cusago’s homes, as in many other Piano works, technological elements are aesthetic components of a building that transforms architecture into a communication tool. However, they do not play a protagonist role. Here on the domestic scale, they are dedicated to a project flexibility, lightweight, etc.

In the same years there was also the competition for Parisian Centre Pompidou, whose victory made Piano famous internationally. These four small houses were consequently an architectural research that led him over the years when designing museums, airfields, skyscrapers, quarters and large infrastructures.

Sadly, the future of these houses does not seems so bright. Even if Piano is one of the most appreciated and known Italian architect, those very first Milanese works – Four single-family houses – are likely to be demolished. Actually, two of them already were.





Vojtěch Bodlák

Authors of drawings:
Del Medico Paolo
Ruggiero Simonetta