Milan Central railway station

1 Jun

building– Milan Central railway station
design relevance– design was modeled after Union Station in Washington, DC. It is very beautiful, and fascinating as it is formally like an American railway terminus, but covered with fascist-era decoration.
location– central Milan
date– 1931
style– Beaux Arts massing, with Arts Nouveau details (a bit like Edwardian Baroque).
construction– stone, steel
type– railway terminus
architect– Ulisse Stacchini
sourcehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milan_Central_Station
Full building description below.

Exterior gallery

Milan Central Station (in Italian, Stazione Centrale di Milano or Milano Centrale) is one of the main European railway stations. It is a railway terminus officially inaugurated in 1931 to replace the old (1864) central station, which was a transit station and could not handle the new traffic caused by the opening of the Sempione tunnel (1906).

King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy laid the cornerstone of the new station on April 28, 1906, before a blueprint for the station had even been chosen. The last, real, contest for its construction was won in 1912 by architect Ulisse Stacchini, whose design was modeled after Union Station in Washington, DC, and the construction of the new station began.

Interior, entry hall

Interior, entry hall

Due to the Italian economic crisis during World War I, construction proceeded very slowly, and the project, rather simple at the beginning, kept changing and became more and more complex and majestic. This happened especially when Benito Mussolini became Prime Minister, and wanted the station to represent the power of the fascist regime.

The major changes were the new platform types and the introduction of the great steel canopies by Alberto Fava; 341 metres long and covering an area of 66,500 square metres.

Construction resumed in earnest in 1925 and on July 1, 1931 the station was officially opened in the presence of Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano.

Its facade is 200 metres wide and its vault 72 metres high, a record when it was built. It has 24 platforms. Each day about 330,000 passengers use the station, totalling about 120 million per year.

The station has no definite architectural style, but is a blend of many different styles, especially Liberty (Art Nouveau) and Art Deco, but not limited to those. (Beaux Arts massing, with Arts Nouveau details (a bit like Edwardian Baroque).

It has been characterized by Frank Lloyd Wright as one of the most beautiful stations in the world, together with New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

On September 25, 2006, officials announced a €100 million project, already in progress, to refurbish the station. Of the total cost, €20 million has been allocated to restore “certain areas of high artistic value” while the remaining €80 million will be used for more general improvements to the station to make it more functional with the current railway services. The project includes moving the ticket office and installing new elevators and escalators for increased accessibility.

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