Act I

INDUSTRIALISATION
AND MODERNITY
IN ARCHITECTURE

On 12 July 1956, the first bucketful of concrete to be poured for the foundations of the Pirelli Skyscraper received the archbishop’s blessing. In 1954 work had begun on demolishing the historic Brusada complex, part of Pirelli’s first factory in Milan where the Pirelli Skyscraper was to be built as the Group’s new headquarters. At the end of 1954 the main features of the Skyscraper were established: a 31-storey building 127 metres tall.

On 12 July 1956, the first bucketful of concrete to be poured for the foundations of the Pirelli Skyscraper received the archbishop’s blessing. In 1954 work had begun on demolishing the historic Brusada complex, part of Pirelli’s first factory in Milan. The company, which introduced the manufacture of elastic rubber to Italy, was founded in 1872 by the engineer Giovanni Battista Pirelli, a graduate of the Politecnico University of Milan. The company, which introduced the manufacture of elastic rubber to Italy, was founded in 1872 by the engineer Giovanni Battista Pirelli, a graduate of the Politecnico University of Milan.

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Group of graduates at the Politecnico di Milano in 1870. At the center, Giovanni Battista Pirelli, founder of the company Pirelli

Luca Comerio immortalised Pirelli workers leaving the factory in Via Ponte Seveso, Milan, 1905

The first view of the Pirelli factory in 1872 in a reproduction by Salvatore Corvaja, 1922

This building […] attains the transposition from a local area to a floor that affects modern architecture worldwide

Carlo de Carli, 1955

From "Capitani d’industria", 1963

by permission of Fondazione Cineteca Italiana

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