Alfa Romeo Headquarter and Historical Museum Renovation
On June 30th 2015, the Historical Alfa Romeo Museum will reopen its doors after an extensive process of architectural redesign, developed by architect Benedetto Camerana.
The Museum was inaugurated in 1976, to complete the Arese (Milan) Alfa Romeo Headquarter.
In 1986, Fiat acquired Alfa Romeo and the Centre lost its directorial capacity, while the Museum remained open to public up until 2011.
In 2013, within the context of Alfa Romeo’s brand re-launch project, FCA identified the Museum – the sole historical and institutional presence in Milan – as the key component to the brand’s rebirth. By the end of 2013 Camerana was charged by Sergio Marchionne to contribute a project that would integrate the goals of the brand re-launch with the conservation constraints of the Lombardia Ministry of Cultural Heritage. The project concept was presented in June 2014 and immediately given all permits. Work started immediately: FCA and Alfa Romeo brand requested the Museum to be open within the following 12 months, a record time for such a high quality project.
The project must work on two separate, well integrated directions: rethinking the compound architecture in accordance with its new functions, and redesign the exhibit following contemporary criteria. The programme adds several new activities to the original Historical Museum, which is now transformed into a thoroughly modern museum, with supporting features (a store, café and archive) as well as a brand centre complete with show room, deliveries, events area, test track, archives, classic centre and open workshop.
The architectural project redesigns the Headquarter functions, updating them and bringing them in line with the predicted influx of visitors. Public access is moved to the north side, with the main entrance located in the Centre’s basement level, now a welcoming area before entering the museum exhibition.
The main value in the architectural project is a large red structure which winds its way throughout the entire complex. Starting as a welcoming canopy from the parking lot, it drives the visitors inside the building where, like a great winding ribbon transforms itself into the stairway volume leading up into the museum, at the start of the exhibition walk. This integration of old and contemporary architecture, also visible from the motorway in its bright “new Alfa red” colour, is the clearest symbol of the Museum’s rebirth.
The exhibit concept regenerates the historical Museum under a contemporary light. The essence of Alfa Romeo brand is synthesised into three core values: the Timeline, which represents industrial consistency; “Bellezza” (Beauty), which expresses the brand’s style and design; and finally, “Velocità” (Speed): combination of both technology and lightness. The Museum’s floors correspond to each of these core values.
The exhibit design is an efficient and coherent interpretation of the brand’s values, showcasing seventy of the most noteworthy and world-renown cars from the Alfa Romeo line. Each of the Museum’s floors is a different interpretation of the museum design, from the ‘Timeline’s inherent rationality, to ‘Bellezza’s elegance and ‘Velocità’s theatrical approach. The exhibition is also augmented by multimedia systems, both interactive and immersive, which accompany the visitor on an unforgettable and emotional journey.
Project: Benedetto Camerana, architectural project and exhibition Museum, concept and general artistic direction
Engineering: EP & S S.c.a.r.l.
Structures: Ing. Stefano Dalmasso
Electrical systems: Ing. Renzo Zorzi
Mechanical systems: Ing. Massimo Rapetti
Contributors: Marco Caretto, Giulia Mondino, Marco Biondi, Marco Caprani, Mattia Greco, Ivan Rotella, Anna Truglio, Shinobu Hashimoto
Customer: FCA / Alfa Romeo
Procedure: direct assignment
Chronology: preliminary project (July 2014), construction executive project (September 2015), installation project of the exhibition (December 2014), opening (24 June 2015)
Location: Arese, Milan
Dimensional data: 6700 square meters
Cost of the work: € 36,000,000
Photographs: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano; Marco Caretto