milan CONCEPT

Fondazione Feltrinelli | Herzog & de Meuron
The new building for the Fondazione Feltrinelli, designed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, opened on December 2016 in Porta Nuova, confirming once more the relevance that this district is gaining for the city of Milan. The building is settled over a slot left vacant form the bombardments of the Second World War, and its concentration on the Viale Pasubio side of the area permitted to realize a wide public space at its base. Once completed, this new public surface will extend the pedestrian area of the adjacent boulevard, and will work as a connection between the Fondazione Feltrinelli and the remains of the ancient Mura Spagnole, the 16th century fortifications that defined the city’s boundaries. Being inserted in such a context, the architects aimed at creating a linear and clean building, where the constant repetition of the vertical and horizontal partitions creates a regular grid that blends together the steep roof with the façades, and that pays homage to the traditional Cascina rural buildings. Without denying its monumentality, the Fondazione’s new headquarter it’s a kind of exception in today’s architecture production in Milan, where world renowned architectural studios are more likely to be selected to mark the landscape of the city with new sensational buildings that can raise media’s attention.
A diagonal cut, following the orientation of the structure, separates the Fondazione from the new Microsoft offices that moved in a couple of months after the opening. Both companies destined the upper floors to the offices, allowing to host public spaces at the ground level. Fondazione Feltrinelli also saved the last floor, under the dramatic view of the glazed slope that tops the building, for a public reading room, where readers will have access to the document of the historical archives. More important than the architectural result, the program of public activities that Feltrinelli and Microsoft are providing to the neighborhood’s life, stretching from cultural to ludic, will constitute a diversified and not banal counterbalance to the commercial and touristic inclination of the Porta Nuova district.
feltrinelli 2credits ph.Filippo Romano
feltrinelli 3credits ph. Michele Nastasi
Fondazione Feltrinelli

inside

Fondazione Prada Osservatorio | between art and architecture
osservatorio 1.jpgDelfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti. Courtesy Fondazione Prada
Not even a couple of years after opening the Milanese venue designed by OMA, Fondazione Prada keeps to invest in the cultural landscape of Milan, inaugurating just before the end of 2016 a new exhibition space dedicated to photography and visual languages. Placed above one of the most visited sites in Milan, the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, this new venue called ‘Osservatorio’, offers to the public – thanks to generous floor-to-ceiling glazed openings – original and unusual views over the octagonal dome and arcades of the Gallery.
The project of renovation mixes the intention to restore the original look of the spaces, recovering the authentic wooden finishing of the floor, with the will to deliver a functional and versatile space, establishing a measured balance between refinement and frankness. Walls display a polished concrete finishing, and the ceilings are reinforced with exposed metal structures that dialogue with the iron frames supporting the arcade of the Gallery. Allowing the displayed artworks to face directly the impressive view of the dome, Fondazione Prada offers to the city a new space where architecture and art will benefit from each other’s presence.
osservatorio 2Delfino Sisto Legnani e Marco Cappelletti. Courtesy Fondazione Prada

special

Citylife | how to place a long term bet on Milan
citylife 2.jpgimage courtesy StrutturaLeggera
The almost completed Citylife district is the next colossal project of transformation of the metropolitan area of Milan, after the construction of the Expo area – whose ultimate end-use is still under discussion, but that keeps to host big events and manifestations, demonstrating that its role can still be relevant for the city after the World Fair – and the renovation of the Porta Nuova and Isola district. Citylife project represents also the umpteenth proof that Milan keeps growing at a rate that is unparalleled by any other city in the country, and at levels that were not imaginable in Italy just ten years ago. Raised over a 255.000 sqm area formerly occupied by the city trade fair complex, the project started back in 2004, with the first design competition, and it is expected to be completed by 2018. The project is symbolized by its already famous business district – formed by the three towers designed by the world-renowned studios of Arata Isozaki & Associates, Zaha Hadid Architects and Studio Libeskind – and will also comprise a residential area, also designed by Zaha Hadid and Daniel Libeskind, commercial activities, and what is planned to be the third main green park of Milan.
This project has obviously originated all kind of attentions, expectations and reactions from media, locals and critics. But behind the clamor, the realization of Citylife district rises many question for the urban planning of the city. Differently from the Expo area, located outside the city center and lacking in the ambition to become an integrated part of the city, this operations is also distant from the experience of the Porta Nuova and Isola renovation, where singular projects inserted themselves in an already constituted part of the urban fabric. Citylife is instead replacing an entire portion of the city, previously occupied by a functional ‘island’ like the trade fair complex. And it will do it by proposing the solution of a luxurious garden city, whose implementation has faced mixed fortunes across the decades, and where residential proposal – whether you like or not the bold aesthetic of Hadid and Libeskind housing projects – is clearly destined to high spending client. There is much expectations and a lot of variables in this project. We will soon know if Milan has won another important bet on its future.
citylife 3image courtesy IThomas91
citylife 1image courtesy Daniel Libeskind Studio