WIT Press

The Iron-glass Roof Of The Milan Gallery Vittorio Emanuele II: Knowing The Past, Understanding The Present And Preservation For The Future


Free (open access)





Page Range

75 - 86




3,817 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


I. Stoyanova


Past research discussed the genesis of the Milan Gallery Vittorio Emanuele II and its importance as an emblematic example of 19th century glazed arcades. The iron-glass cover was hailed as a significant technological accomplishment at the time. Previous personal studies highlighted the reinforcing system which integrated the iron roof into the surrounding masonry structures and the glazing system as characteristic technological aspects which were closely related to the monumental vocation of the Gallery and survived until the present day.

This paper deepens the knowledge on the reinforcing and the glazing systems respectively as solutions for lateral thrust management and as a complex of glazing techniques which obtained architectural value in the case of the Gallery. The introduction outlines the complex Gallery genesis in relation to its monumental vocation. The paper then explains the elements and the logic of the two systems in view of the 19th century building practice. Next, these studies argue that the roof reconstruction after the Second World War conserved the primary roof system and improved the long-term performance of the original glazing technology with technical alterations such as dilatation joints and trapezoidal laps instead of triangular ones. The paper also documents the present-day state of the reinforcing and glazing systems and discusses which aspects complied with the original technology and which were introduced in the post-war reconstruction. Finally, the paper concludes that the two systems represent the conservation and preservation history of the Gallery.


Vittorio Emanuele, reinforced masonry, historical iron, cruciform bars, triangular edges