Dedicated to the church of Our Lady of Mercy (Nostra Signora della Misericordia) in Baranzate, designed by Angelo Mangiarotti, Bruno Morassutti and Aldo Favini and begun in 1956, the book documents the story of the original building up to the recent phase of restoration.
Considering its image as one of the first examples of prefabricated building in Italy, the church provides an exemplary prelude to the production of modular space and serial assembly practices using pre-compressed reinforced concrete. The aim of the restoration project, begun in 2004 and concluded in 2015, was to re-establish the original appearance of the building when it was opened in November 1958, adapting it to modern requirements and levels of comfort. What remains of the material of the original building in today’s church is the line to follow in this building, together with its iconography, backed up by architects’ drawings and publications, as well as the extraordinary photographic documentation provided by Giorgio Casali. Firstly, the restoration of the entire architectural complex involved the conservation of the structure and the building as a whole, including the transformations imposed by use and circumstances, adding new spaces only where it was now feasible. With regard to the new glass windows, this involved a patient, accurate study of samples to find a type of glass that corresponded to the original, using new materials that would provide the necessary amount of sensitivity and produce the visual effect of the original facade. A game animated by light passing through the various layers of glass with different characteristics, which had to be carefully balanced between the materials to achieve an effective amount of constantly changing, multiple and multi-form reflection, refraction and opalescence. The modern restoration work has been documented by the photographs of Marco Introini.