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Contemporary architecture in Milan

News > Design | Contemporary architecture in Milan

Iron, glass, steel and concrete. No dominant façade, nor decorative elements. In Milan, the less is more theory has dictated the architectural rules for the last century.

The entrepreneurial middle class, since the beginning of 1900, was looking for a design able to translate the dynamism of its age into architectural projects. It found an expression into the realization of, among the many, Figini’s villa in the Village of Journalists and Pagano’s Bocconi University.


The celebration of the new century has seen a revolution in the field of architecture. The simple and elegant buildings, of which the city was full, belonged to Rossellini and De Sica’s movies. People, now, wanted something more similar to Zemeckis’ Back to the Future. The buildings had to point upwards in order to become the symbol of technological and design progress.

Piazza Gae Aulenti, the new skyline of Milan

Some people compare it to Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz, some others to London’s City. Very few do not appreciate it and, most likely, they are the same that would complain about anything, even of having too much Nutella on their bread slice. The majority of the people, in fact, think about it as the symbol of Milan’s architectural and cultural rebirth.
We are talking about Piazza Gae Aulenti, the square located in front of the railway station of Porta Garibaldi, inaugurated on December 8, 2012

The square, designed by Cesar Pelli, has a circular shape, reminding of the ancient Roman squares, it is raised from the ground by 6 meters and has a diameter of 100 meters. In the centre, there is a fountain just a few centimetres deep, where in summer people can take a bath; on one side, there’s a structure with the trumpets, which are linked to the lower level, hosting a  supermarket. Around, the skyscrapers of Milan, who have finally given to the city a  metropolis-like skyline.

First of all, the Unicredit Tower: designed by Cesar Pelli, it is the tallest skyscraper in Italy, characterized by a futurist aesthetic. And then, the Bosco Verticale, the residential facility which was recently awarded with the Intenrational Highrise Award, the prize for the world’s most innovative skyscraper. Designed by Stefano Boeri , it is meant to be fully covered by trees, flowers and bushes of  the houses balconies.


And again, the Diamond Tower, 600,000 square meters of offices; and Solaria, the residential tower to which you can access through a walkway above Melchiorre Gioia.

Nowadays, the contemporary architectural projects can not ignore the issue of “green”. And that’s why, next to the exit of the bar/bookshop Feltrinelli Red, a huge wheat field recently appeared, sown on February 28 by over 5000 people.

Other examples of contemporary architecture in Milan

The reality is that, as far as other examples of such an innovative architectural and technological design are concerned, well…there are none. Or at least, there are none yet. There is already, however, the subway that will lead to the new complex of skyscrapers ready to revolutionize the panorama of Milan. The metro stop is called Three Towers and is located near the exhibition center Fiera Milano.

The skyscrapers are, or rather will be, three towers, designed by architects Hadid, Isozaki and Libeskind. For now, you can only admire the bulldozers and concrete mixers, while waiting for the buildings that will make us walk, once again, with our noses up in the air.

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