Innovation and optimism lead Milan’s architectural future
We are looking ahead at the exciting architectural future of Milan, Italy's financial and design capital, as the city slowly emerges from the challenges brought by the global pandemic
Milan is a design mecca. This northern Italian city attracts international visitors to the Salone del Mobile furniture fair each spring. But as the season neared this year, a temporary shift in focus saw Italy tragically become – for a while – the epicentre of a pandemic. Streets were deserted, as trees blossomed in the Parco Sempione. The historic Duomo was closed. Now, as the city springs back to life this summer, things are, again, set to change – this time, with a strong sense of optimism and positivity.
Milan’s Strade Aperte (‘Open Roads’) initiative is becoming one of Europe’s most ambitious mobility schemes. This will dramatically transform city planning, in bringing cycle lanes and pedestrian spaces to 22 miles of city streets, encouraging safe travel. With the city recently grown to 1.4 million-strong, a series of projects are underway, including new housing, as well as education, culture and science hubs. This not only mirrors the population growth but is also set to boost the city's sustainability credentials, and its overall dynamic and role in the global scene.
At the same time, the financial capital of Italy has aspirations to rival London as a banking hub, after the UK’s departure from the European Union. Italy’s tallest skyscraper, Cesar Pelli’s Unicredit Tower, articulates its business-focused drive. Named after the Italian architect of Paris’s Musée d’Orsay, the Piazza Gae Aulenti stands at the heart of the city’s fast-developing, modern neighbourhood, the Porta Nuova district. Stefano Boeri’s verdant and award-winning Bosco Verticale housing scheme is visible from the square and the area's new park, the BAM. This openness and ambition capture the freedom and innovation of Milan’s architecture scene; and it's a great representation of what's to come in this vibrant metropolis. Take a scroll for yourselves. §
Human Technopole by Piuarch
Piuarch has designed a new building for Human Technopole, Italy’s research institute for life sciences, situated at the centre of the growing MIND, Milano Innovation District. Reaching 61 metres at its highest point, the building will contain over 16,500 square metres for laboratories
Bosco Navigli by Stefano Boeri Architetti
Designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti, this public-facing, mixed-use housing and commercial structure traces the form of a Milanese courtyard house. Set near the Ticino river area, the building reveals a sustainable ethos in the solar and photovoltaic panels covering the roof and rainwater collection systems. The green courtyard building is set to revitalise Via San Cristoforo in the creative quarter of the south-west area of Milan.
BAM Park by Inside Outside and Petra Blaisse, with Simona and Franco Giorgetta
At the heart Porta Nuova district of Milan is BAM, a public park designed for developer COIMA by the Dutch studio Inside Outside and Petra Blaisse, together with Simona and Franco Giorgetta, covering approximately 10 hectares – including a dozen circular forests each dedicated to a plant species, a labyrinth and flower beds of perennial plants designed by Piet Oudolf. Read Oudolf's advise on garden design here.
Politecnico di Milano architecture campus by Renzo Piano and Ottavio Di Blasi
This is Politecnico di Milano’s answer to the tough global competition among top international architecture schools. Ottavio Di Blasi is overseeing the design, from an original idea by Renzo Piano. The campus will see the restoration of Gio Ponti’s ‘Trifoglio’ and ‘Nave’.
Bocconi University new urban campus by SANAA
Bocconi University’s campus by Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA expands the city's internationally renowned school of economics. With sustainability at the heart of the design, the light and transparent buildings are under construction at the former Central Dairy.
Apple Store, Piazza Liberty Milan by Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners has designed a public space for technology giant Apple. The stepped plaza is close to Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the central, pedestrian-friendly street filled with fashion boutiques. The dramatic fountain streams into an amphitheatre, leading to the Apple store.
Generali Tower by Zaha Hadid Architects
The residential Generali Tower joins skyscrapers by Arata Isozaki and Daniel Libeskind in the CityLife district, which revitalises the site of Milan’s old International Fair, after its 2005 closure (when the Fiera moved to its current location at Rho). The twisting structure orientates upper floors to face the city centre and the Duomo. Photography: Hufton + Crow
The Portico by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
BIG has designed the final part of the CityLife masterplan. The Danish firm imagines two buildings connected by a 140metre-long hanging roof structure: an urban-scale portico forms the entrance to the district. This creates a shaded public realm, while the buildings will contain offices and a hotel.
Museo Nazionale della Resistenza by Herzog & de Meuron
Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the twin building to Porta Volta's existing Fondazione Feltrinelli will house the Museo Nazionale della Resistenza (National Resistance Museum). Completing the urban vision for the Porta Volta area, the two important cultural institutions will frame this ancient gateway of Milan.
The Fondazione Prada’s Torre by OMA
The Fondazione Prada’s Torre completes the Milan home of the foundation. Designed by Rem Koolhaas, Chris van Duijn and Federico Pompignoli of OMA, the white concrete tower adds height to the architectural complex and offers panoramic views of the city, as well as exhibition space inside.
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Birkenstock celebrates its most memorable styles with colourful capsule (and matching socks)
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V&A's Tropical Modernism: a vivid look at architecture culture in newly independent Ghana
Subtitled ‘Architecture and Power in West Africa’, V&A's 'Tropical Modernism' is a richly historical show at the 2023 Venice Biennale, perfectly aligned with the overarching theme of inclusion and exploration of modernism’s overlooked cultural impact
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Villaggio Eni: a modernist gem in the Italian Dolomites
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Adler Spa Resort Sicily blends sustainability and relaxation
Adler Spa Resort Sicily by architect Hugo Demetz opens in southern Italy, championing sustainability and relaxation
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The Fendi factory in Tuscany disappears into the landscape
The new Fendi Factory in Italy, set in the rolling hills of Tuscany, is the brainchild of Milan architecture studio Piuarch and the luxury brand
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Step inside the dramatic Cava Arcari by David Chipperfield
Cava Arcari by David Chipperfield reimagines a series of caves outside Vicenza as a multifunctional event space
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Rinascente is reborn in Rome’s Piazza Fiume courtesy of design studio 2050+
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This Sicilian villa brings contemporary architecture to the foot of Mount Etna
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