The History Of The Gallery Is Also The History Of A Great Construction Company. A Short Time, Not A Lot Of Money, Great Ambitions Back In 1865. It Is Interesting To Browse Through The Numerous Archive Photos, Among Which The Image Of The Great Scaffolding Placed In The Center Of The Octagon For The Construction Of The Dome, The First Mobile Scaffolding Of The Gallery, Stands Out. On A System Of Wheels That Run On Wooden Guides.

Deroche & Heyland, Construction Of The Dome Of The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Ii, February-May 1867 Milan, Civic Photographic Archive, Inv. Register G 107/33

Deroche & Heyland, Mobile Scaffolding For The Construction Of The Dome Of The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Ii, March-May 1867. Milan, Civic Photographic Archive, Inv. Register G 107/39

The Restorations

The Gallery Is An Artifact At The Limits Of The Technological Possibilities Of Its Time And Therefore Very Complex. The Glass Plates Used Are Fragile, The Decorative Apparatus Perishable. Maintenance Is, If Not Necessarily Continuous, Like That Of The Nearby Duomo, Very Frequent. Debates Are On The Agenda. The Monument Is Often Subjected To Ordinary And Extraordinary Maintenance Works. Numerous Archive Photos Show Past Interventions. On A Winter Evening From The 1980s, The Gallery Has Its Facades Completely Hidden By Scaffolding.

Piazza Duomo, Temporary Reinforcement Works Of The Vittorio Emanuele Ii Gallery, January 1962, Photo: Publifoto

Reinforcement Works Of The Vittorio Emanuele Ii Gallery Due To The Opening Of The Underground – Interior. Corriere Della Sera

The Portal

The Knowledge Of Past Interventions, The Desire To Preserve The Full Usability Of Commercial Accesses, The Need To Guarantee Security And The Need To Optimize Construction Times, Have Forced A Reflection In Search Of A “Creative” Solution. The Desire Was Ambitious: To Carry Out A Restoration Without Scaffolding. The Classic Way Of Doing This, Or Moving With Platforms Capable Of Moving In Height, Was Immediately Not Feasible, Given The Considerable Vertical Development To Be Covered (Over 40 Meters) And The Delicacy Of The Floor. Faced With The Apparent Impossibility, The Will Was Strengthened, Animated By The Awareness That The Gallery Could Not Be “Packaged” For A Year. The Idea Was Born From The Creative Flair Of A Company That Transformed Little More Than A Dream Into A “Machine”:

The “Flying Scaffolding” Therefore, Or Self-Propelled Portal, Is The Engineering Of This Approach And Of These Objectives. A Worktop That Moves The Bulk Of The Scaffolding Over The Heads Of Passers-By And Over The Shop Windows, Resting On The Ground With Eight Punctual Elements With A Minimum Size And Which Extends For Only 15 Meters, Moving At The End Of Each Work Phase. The Portal Moves Forward And Leaves The Clean Facades Behind.The Big Wheels That Move Copyright © Impresa Percassi (Matteo Zanardi – Officina Della Comunicazione)

Frontal View Of The Portal

Suggestive View Of The Portal Copyright © Impresa Percassi (Matteo Zanardi – Officina Della Comunicazione)

The Idea Became An Artifact After The In-Depth Survey Of The Tunnel’s Geometries And The Analysis Of The Loads Of The Ground Floor Slab. The Gallery Built Around 1860, Very Quickly, Is An Almost Perfect Artifact, With A 3mm Tolerance From Top To Bottom Of Its Longest Arm. It Is Possible To Travel It All With A Large Car, A Sort Of “Ship” That Houses The Restorers, Protects Passersby, Guarantees Traders.

The Portal Allows You To Extend The Time Allocated For Restoration Work By Compressing The Logistics. The Structure Was Assembled In A Week On The Side Of Piazza Della Scala And Thanks To A System Of Wheels On Rails And Jacks, It Moved Along The Entire Main Nave In Modules Of Three Vaulted Bays Until It Reached Piazza Del Duomo. In Less Than A Week, It Is Disassembled And Reassembled On Via Silvio Pellico, To Cover The Short Side Of The Gallery In 4 Months. The Two Movements Through The Octagon Are Spectacular.

Preservation Of Historical Flooring

The Portal Project Was Developed Taking Into Account The Delicacy Of The Floor. The Tracks Run Along The Most Solid Portion Of The Pavement Avoiding The Glass Rosettes.

Reduction Of Construction Site Activities

The Portal Was Assembled During The Night With Temporary Land Occupations. First The Metal Carpentry Structure On Wheels Was Installed, Then The Scaffolding Above Was Mounted To Cover The Two Fronts Of The Facades To Be Restored. Finally, Custom-Made Sheets Were Installed To Seal The Scaffolding On All Sides.

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