Giuseppe Terragni, Hotel Metropole-Suisse, piazza Cavour 19, 1926-27
The façade refurbishment of Hotel Metropole-Suisse is Terragni’s first project, even before his graduation when Gruppo 7 had just been formed (founded in 1926 with the aim of supporting functional architecture as an alternative to academicism). The Group’s innovative ideas may have influenced the realisation of the project. The intervention required from Terragni was limited to the first two floors of the hotel. His idea was to frame the ground floor and first floor to form “a single, sober and spacious motif”. Terragni kept all the existing openings but made some changes to their shapes. Two canopies were built above the two entrances, supported simply by tie rods. At first, Terragni proposed more traditional decorations for the Hotel in order to continuously match the classical lines of the existing building with his project. Then Terragni modified the façade with less canonical motifs. The pine cones that surmounted the pilasters on the ground floor were transformed into gems, and the capitals of these pilasters took on a more abstract form, making the façade less attributable to the classical repertoire. This reference to the past not through the similar use of forms perhaps explains Terragni's decision to replace even the canonical profile of the plinth with the simple geometry of the “half bullnose”.