By Costanza Beltrami

Architect and writer Luigi Broggi was born on 6 May 1851. He studied at the Accademia di Brera under Camillo Boito, an influential architectural theorist, art critic and writer. After opening an independent studio in 1879, he won design competitions for a new parliament building in Rome and a monument to the ‘Cinque Giornate’. However, the architect’s first design to be actually constructed was the Palazzo Broggi on via Dante, designed to a set of consistent norms regulating the appearance of the newly-opened street. Later on in 1902-3, Broggi designed his most significant work, the Contratti department store, a metal and glass building inspired by the newest European creations and decorated with Art Nouveau flourishes.

Favored by the Royal family and in particular by Queen Margherita, he also designed several noble villas, government buildings, and banks. Alongside this activity he was a prolific writer, publishing pamphlets on the history of architecture, on the rationale of his own works, and on the most important architectural debates of contemporary Milan.

Broggi died on 14 October 1926, having almost completely withdrawn from competitive architectural work to focus on teaching and philanthropy.

References: “Broggi, Luigi.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online,

Paolo Favole, ‘BROGGI, Luigi,’ Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 14 (1972),                                                                                                           

Cucine Economiche, 1881-83, Milan.

Magazzino Contratti (1902–3), Milan, in the early twentieth century and today.

Palazzo Broggi, 1899, Milan. 

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