Following WWII there was an urgent need for housing in Milan and under a succession of general plans the decision was made to expand the northern and western perimeters of the city with a series of satellite communities housing between 50,000 and 130,000 each. The first of these new communities, QT8 was started in 1946. A general master plan for the city, Il Piano Regolatore Generale (PRG), was adopted in 1956 and soon plans were begun for the second large new community, Gallaratese 1 and 2 (G1 & G2). The Monte Amiata Società Mineraria per Azioni privately owned part of the land in the G2 area. Eventually, the plan allowed for this private development as part of the G2 area. Studio Ayde (Aymonino & De Rossi) was commissioned to design this project in September 1967. The project went through the early stages of design between September and October, when the basic idea of was formed of two diagonal slabs intersecting in an amphitheater, with a third building of gridiron form, extending north and west from this intersection. In November, Aymonino brought Aldo Rossi into the project to design part of the northern extension. By early 1968, the scheme had evolved into the five building complex as it basically exists today. Aymonino was responsible for buildings A1, A2, B, & C, and Rossi designed the fifth building "D" that extends to the north, paralleling building "B".
The Monte Amiata site was a very odd-shaped, triangular parcel at the intersection of two new streets, Via Cilea and Via Fichera that was flat and empty, without any particular organizational features. Two large 8-story slabs A1 and A2 are splayed along the south side of the site. A third long slab B 6-floors high, extends north from the intersection of A1 & A2. The final Aymonino building C, 2-stories high is a bridge connecting buildings B and A1. A wall connecting building B to A2 forms two triangular, raised piazzas at the "hinge" of buildings A1 & A2 and building B forms an outdoor amphitheater. The underside of the theater helps create the entrance to the complex. The fifth building, the Rossi contribution, is a long 3-story high slab that is paced in a position parallel to building B and defining a service entrance between the two buildings. The five buildings constitute a freestanding group, detached from any surrounding buildings and surrounded by a fence. Parking is provided at the lower levels. A main concourse level, which extends more-or-less continuously beneath all buildings, is equipped with a few shops and public facilities such as the amphitheater. Altogether, the five buildings house about 2500 people in 440 dwellings. There is a great range of dwelling types including minimum flats and duplex apartments. The public levels contain about 25 offices and several shops.
Aymonino's slabs are complex and typologically diverse in the extreme, "the morphological accumulation of scintillating fragments", derived from and rendered like the "archaeological section" of Tragan's Market. The sections and elevations especially are a clue to the conglomeration of building and dwelling types within. A zone of courtyard apartments occupies the spread base of the building, accessed from the public concourse in the bottom floor. The three floors above this contain maisonettes that interlock unité d'habitationi fashion about an interior corridor. The top floor floors are single-loaded types that are reached from galleries on opposite sides of the buildings with a maisonette occupying the top two floors. Elevators and repeating stair turrets, a dominant architectural feature of Aymonino's buildings, provide access to this diverse section. The eclectic nature of the sezione archeologico is also evident in the architectural details of the exterior resulting in a rich bouillabaisse of quotes from Clarte, Marseilles, La Tourette and other modernist sources.
Text source: Housing Prototype