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. §