“Building and not rebuilding!”: after World War II, Ponti invited Italy to be reborn, directing it towards a solar and Mediterranean modernity, prefigured by his book L’architettura è un cristallo (1945) and reiterated in Amate l’Architettura (1957).
The new architecture must have a “closed, finite and immutable form” like that of a crystal in nature and, implicitly, reject the international model of a “glass box” building, spread above all by American culture.
Ponti therefore imagined segmented plants with façades pierced by curtain walls, windows or diamond-shaped holes; often, they are covered with shimmering ceramic surfaces while the roof hovers over the underlying structure.
The Pirelli skyscraper, built in Milan for the industrial group of the same name and now the Lombardy Region Council headquarters, is its emblem. Immediately recognizable “crystals” include the Garzanti foundation in Forlì, the two houses in the Harar-Dessie district, the hospital church San Carlo and Montedoria palace in Milan, villa Ercole in Arenzano and the Taranto Co-cathedral.