Conversion to the premises of the Università Cattolica

Cecilia De Carli Sciume

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The essay deals with the settlement of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in the ancient monastery of Sant’Ambrogio, between 1929 and 1932, planned by the architect Giovanni Muzio, young professional who works in the studio of engineer Pierfausto Barelli. This plan, which transforms a historic stratified monument in an university, has a great importance both on historical and meta-historical terms. To fully understand the dimension of the transformation the essay refers to an ideal and of value path, as well as a number of actors and targets of the events that came before and accompany the realization of the architectural project. We consider all levels of the conversion work that begins with the design study and the construction of the building at the entrance, then the renovation of the monastery and the building of the chapel, the men's residence hall, the S. Francesco building, the new classrooms, then the women's residence hall, the studies of psychology and the university canteen. The complexity of the whole planning operations that involves urban planning, renovation, transformation, addition and overlap, completion and new construction, put in place an interpretative and analogic work to the old site and the programmatic approach of the founder, Father Gemelli, who wants to shape an exemplary university, a university citadel ante litteram. The essay also takes account of the sculptural intervention of Giovanni Manzù that, for the most part, is deeply linked with the architecture itself, in the primitivist research common to other contemporary artists and in the iconographic choices dictated by the principal.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLa fabbrica perfetta e grandiosissima. The monumental complex of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Number of pages42
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Università Cattolica
  • arte contemporanea
  • contemporary art


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