Permanence and ambiguity in Milan

This thesis examines and subsequently links two concepts of twentieth-century architectural theory, Aldo Rossi’s ‘propelling permanences’ (1966) and Colin Rowe & Alfred Koetter’s ‘ambiguous and composite buildings’ (1978), within the context of the city of Milan. It concludes that the ‘ambiguous and composite building’ is not a type, but rather the result of a certain way of designing, a specific urban and architectural design method. This thesis undertakes to define that design method, which will be named ‘ambiguous composition’. To test whether and how this design method works, a design is made for the Piazza Sant’Ambrogio in Milan, a location that is identified as being spatially unresolved.