Art and culture

Palazzo Cassa di Risparmio

Piazza Grande - Modena - MO

Almost thirty years after the call for proposals for Piazza Matteotti, in 1960, the Cassa di Risparmio bank published another call for tenders for construction of its headquarters, after it moved from the rooms in Palazzo Comunale.
The project was part of the 1958 Plans that aimed, for the old city centre, to reduce vehicular traffic by decentralising some of the management and administrative departments.
The plot of land purchased by the bank on the southern side of Piazza Grande restored the city’s main square to how it was before the Palazzo di Giustizia was built during the reign of Umberto I, demolished in 1963.
Following the unsatisfactory results of this consultation, the project was commissioned to the firm of Gio Ponti, one of the most important twenty-century Italian architects, who a few years earlier had designed the Pirelli skyscrapers in Milan.
The need to reconcile the requisites laid down by the Superintendence with those of the commission appointed by the City Council, comprising some of the most esteemed planners of the time, Franco Albini, Giovanni Michelucci and Ludovico Quaroni, led to considerable delays at the planning stage and the abolition of some interesting preliminary solutions. In line with the architectural research and language, the architect from Milan suggested a façade with tall openings on the ground floor and hexagonal and diamond-shaped windows.
The current solution, designed in 1966, was devised to ensure the building fitted in better with its surroundings and includes exposed brickwork, a portico with round arches on the ground floor that picks up from that of Palazzo Comunale and recovery of the corresponding height at gutter level of the adjacent episcopal palace.