Sketches, technical drawings, photographs taken on-site and of the finished building illustrate the book, documenting the austerity and eloquence of the building.
The book is entirely devoted to the building designed to house the offices of the Milan branch of the German bank, Deutsche Bank. In 1997, the project was entrusted to the Friuli architect Gino Valle (1923-2003). The site was a plot of land in the suburban Bicocca district of Milan, an area transformed by Vittorio Gregotti, one side of which faces the city. Gino Valle interpreted it as a building composed of several sections, with a stone surface which plays on variations in light and people’s perception of its various segments as they walk past. Sketches, technical drawings, photographs taken on-site and of the finished building illustrate the book, documenting the austerity and eloquence of the building. The bottom of the building is clad with shiny black marble, while the rest of the massive surface is of gray Repen stone. Windows at the corners make the facades seem lighter. There are differences in projection towards the inner courtyard, continuous lines of windows on the facades facing the piazza and only tiny windows on the side facing the city. In addition to benefiting from previous experience gained in his research into types of linear buildings for office-blocks, from IBM’s headquarters at La Défense (1984-88) to the Olivetti building in Ivrea (1988-89), Valle’s building for the Deutsche Bank confirms his interest in the formal power of the urban buildings of the first two decades of the 20th century. As well as devoting space to the building’s interior, designed and supervised by Italo Rota, the book concludes by drawing our attention to the bank’s contemporary art collection and the visual and spatial relationships established by these works of art with the building and the people who work there.