Eleven floors of offices, an additional rehearsal room for the ballet company, and a new area for unloading and the pre-assembly of sets backstage.
A new tower adjacent to La Scala, designed by the architect Mario Botta, was opened this morning by Milan's mayor (and President of the Teatro alla Scala Foundation) Giuseppe Sala. Together with the theatre's intendant Dominique Meyer and its music director Riccardo Chailly, the ceremony gave light to a new rehearsal room for dance on the ninth floor (145 sq metres), office rooms up to the eighth floor, and a new space for the unloading and pre-assembly of the sets backstage. There are also two large terraces on the fourth and sixth floors (152 and 134 sq metres respectively).
The tower is 38 metres high extending an additional 19 metres below ground and the total volume exceeds 17,000 cubic metres. The building is energy efficient with air conditioning from heat pumps cooled using water from wells under the city, a district heating system and photovoltaic panels on the roof. Seven corridors at different levels connect the new tower with the main theatre.
New office spaces will accommodate those in rented offices nearby which costs the theatre €350,000 per year. On the sixth floor is a 13 by 20-metre rehearsal room for the orchestra, which has a height of 14 metres. It will now be soundproofed and equipped for making studio recordings. The orchestra's current rehearsal will become a rehearsal room for the chorus.
Structural work has also been completed on the new rehearsal room for the orchestra on the sixth floor- measuring 13 by 20 metres by 14 metres high. This made it possible to proceed with the tender for the construction of the acoustic coatings, also managed by Aria Spa, and now in the awarding phase. The new hall will be a decisive step forward for the musical activity and can also be used as a recording studio. This will also make it possible to proceed with the finishing and furnishing of the study rooms and changing rooms for the Orchestra in the adjoining rooms.
The new 235 sq metre unloading area is at the back of the stage and when the door is open, the depth of the stage becomes 70 metres. Sets can be assembled during rehearsals and performances when the soundproofed door is closed.
Photographer Giovanni Hänninen has followed all the phases of the construction of the new tower from the laying of the first stone.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.