In 1990 I was selected for the final of the first and last architecture competition I ever participated to (later on it will be clear why the last one):



According to the competition, presented in grand style by Mayor Pillitteri (Craxi’s brother-in-law), managed by the company SINETICA (which owner was another relative of the mayor) and blessed by all institutions (Patronage of the Order of Architects, Patronage of the Municipality of Milan, the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture in the examination board), the winning project would have been realised at the centre of the square, replacing a miserable tree. The competition was reserved to Italian architects under40 who were members of the Architects Association of Milan.

The winning project was realised by Alzek Mishef, Bulgarian, artist, 50 years old, who developed the project together with his architect wife.


I had entered the final, so obviously I was quite bothered, because I believed that my project in normal conditions could have won the competition. It had indeed its own reasons, since it was meant to be seen by people driving around the square, which was in fact a roundabout.

The project was characterised by two counter posed parallel high walls, with upset trapezoidal shape; once ringing around the fountain, it would reveal a single high water jet, like a mountain rock broken down by the power of spring water.

I asked a friend, a good architect, for his opinion, and he honestly said he didn’t like it very much because he believed a fountain should be made mostly of water, not walls. I think he was right.


The project was never realised. It was stopped by the then-Assessor who rightly claimed that maintaining 365 water jets would have been too onerous and thus the maintenance would have been neglected. I wondered why this observation wasn’t made by the examination board. Anyways, the tree is still there, as a symbol of what struggles but never changes.


© 2020 Massimo Mussapi