LIUC – Cattaneo University was founded in 1991 on the initiative of the Union of Industrialists of the Province of Varese.
Aldo Rossi’s project
The University is located on the premises of the former Cantoni cotton mill in Castellanza: it is a concrete and inspiring example of rehabilitation and conversion of an industrial area.
The project was the brainchild of Aldo Rossi, one of the most significant architects and designers in Italian history, the first Italian to win the Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious award for architecture, in 1990.
Rossi had numerous collaborations with prestigious companies, making furniture and utility products for them: examples include Alessi, Artemide, Richard-Ginori, Rosenthal and many more.
In his lifetime he was interested in the use of a limited range of architectural details and placed great importance on the context in which his buildings were constructed – his approach came to be called “neo-rationalism”. In short, his approach was not to completely replace the architecture of a city: according to him, a good architect must be able to reconcile new ideas with modules belonging to previous eras.
The conversion of the Cantoni Cotton Mill, which took place between 1989 and 1991, thus respected the exterior architecture of the buildings and preserved the industrial and Italian Liberty style appearance of the cotton mill.
Many spaces for student gathering and contact have also been provided, reflecting the dual role of economic actor and element of social identity that has always been played by the Cantoni factory within the town of Castellanza.
The project defined different functions for the “upper” and “lower” portions of the building complex, with the park as a distinctive unifying element.
“I have always seen architecture in the light of these two major components or these two boundaries: on the one hand, its mode of realisation (in planning and construction), which roughly corresponds to what we call the technical part, and on the other its relation to the city, as the reference and foundation of architecture.”
Created by businesses for businesses
The history of LIUC – Cattaneo University, from its founding to the present, shows all the spirit of doing, which is natural to the business world that gave birth to the University, a spirit that becomes knowledge and skills. The history of LIUC is thus the history of a cultural, social and human fabric that goes beyond the mere timeframe of its existence and draws on the great values that inspire its tradition of work, thought and excellence.
This spirit is found in the vision and mission of a modern university, a university created by businesses for businesses, which places the value of human resources at the centre, with a view to continuous renewal and innovation.
It comprises also a strong sense of belonging, born of sharing not just the goal but also the road that has to be taken to get there.