Milan, universally known as the Italian business capital, boasts a motley architectural style, symbolized by the geometric profile of its skyline.
This is an extraordinary period for Milan because is the set where are rising projects designed by world renowned architects such as Zaha Hadid, Libeskind, Perrault, Pelli, and the Italians Piano, Zucchi and Boeri, preparing for the big event of Milan Expo 2015.
Skyscrapers, meeting centers and squares, redesigned to pay tribute to the homeland of creativity and contemporary style, are the cornerstone of this itinerary.
After winning the prestigious International Highrise Award 2014 the Vertical Forest
earns the recognition of the most beautiful and innovative building in the world. The skyscraper was evaluated in terms of in terms of sustainability, design and urban integration, and it stood out from the other 800 valued skyscrapers because it proved to be “Expression of the human need for contact with nature” as stated by Prof. Dr. Felix Semmelroth, Cape the department for culture and science of the city of Frankfurt, member of the jury of the Highrise Award 2014.
Leaving the hotel and turning right, you will find yourself at Porta Nuova, district, which together with the adjacent Porta Garibaldi and Isola, revives one of the hearts of the city. Its extraordinary energies help fuel the silent hard work of a city that has always been able to excel on the European stage. It is the largest urban redevelopment ever built in the centre of Milan and one of the main at European level: more than 290,000 square meters.
Porta Nuova is the natural extension of Via Manzoni and Via Turati, just 1,500 meters from the Duomo. In just a few minutes’ walk, you will be able to reach piazza San Babila, the Castello Sforzesco and the gardens of Porta Venezia. Porta Nuova will be a development point central to the area of Expo 2015 in North-West Milan, with its strategic role of economic growth driver.
In front of the hotel one can admire the Diamond Tower, which with its height of 140 meters ranks fifth among the tallest skyscrapers in Italy. A particular characteristic are its vertically inclined perimeter columns.
The interior layout is based on a central core around which the space is developed to maximize the entry of natural light and to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view of the city.
Without distancing yourself too much, you will be able to admire the tallest skyscraper in Italy, the Torre Unicredit, which with its 321m has quickly become the symbol of the ever-changing Milan and the emblem of the whole redevelopment project of the Porta Nuova neighbourhood.
The skyscraper, whose summit may be reached by elevator in 40 seconds, is visible from a distance of 10km, and is four times the height of the Tower of Pisa and twice the height of the Duomo of Milan. In Milan too, like in New York, Hong Kong, Paris and many other international metropolises, some buildings have now become part of the “panorama of the city, its memory and history” (M. Catella).
The skyscraper is part of a three building-complex, arranged in a semicircle around the new Piazza Gae Aulenti, circular-shaped elevated podium and vital centre of the new neighbourhood of Porta Nuova. (MM2 Porta Garibaldi)
It is interesting to know that the square is named after an Italian architect and designer, who in the redesign of Piazza Cadorna outlined what is still today a gem of the city of Milan: the Ago, Filo e Nodo (Needle, Thread and Knot).
The latter, in addition to being a symbol of Lombardy’s hard-work and a tribute to the fashion world, is an interpretation of the snake of the Milan emblem. (M1 M2 Cadorna).
Another “must-see” attraction is the Torre Branca in Parco Sempione, slender metal structure that is located next to the Triennale, and is the highest vantage point available to the public in Milan.
Denominated “Littoria”, it was built on the occasion of the 5th Triennale Exhibition of Decorative Arts designed by Giò Ponti and was opened on 10 August 1933. It was reopened to the public in 1997, after the restoration work carried out by the “Fratelli Branca Distilleria” company. The lift allows you to reach the summit in about 90 seconds to enjoy the panoramic view of the city.
Because “the human must not exceed the divine”, as stated by the commissioner, the height of the tower is equal to that of the spire that houses the Madonnina (108.50 meters). In 1939 the first experimental radio visual broadcasts started from its peak. (M1 M2 Cadorna + 9 min walk through Via Piero Paleocapa-Viale Emilio Alemagna).
Also not to be missed is the skyscraper symbol of Italy’s post-war economic rise and one of the most famous symbols of Milan, the Pirelli Tower. The “Pirellone”, as it is affectionately called by the Milanese, is the first building that welcomes those who arrive at Milan Central Station.
It is an important work of architecture, typical of Italian Rationalism and with a height of 127m over 31 floors (2 other floors are underground). It is one of the tallest buildings in reinforced concrete in the world. Indeed, the choice of design materials is peculiar: the whole structure is made of reinforced concrete, rarely preferred to steel for buildings of considerable height. It was built between 1956 and 1961 by architect Gio ‘Ponti and engineer Pier Luigi Nervi.
It is interesting to know that for nearly 50 years it has held the record of tallest building in the city, and for 8 years of tallest building in the European Union. (M2 M3 Centrale) .
The building was originally built to house the offices of famous Italian tire company Pirelli: it stands on the area where the group’s factories were located before being bombed during World War II. In 1978 the skyscraper was purchased by the Regione Lombardia, to make it its headquarters after a renovation by architect Bob Noorda.
The Grattacielo Pirelli was surpassed in 2010 by the Palazzo Lombardia, 161m high, the new headquarters of the Regione Lombardia, and in 2011 from the Torre Unicredit, 321m high. It is the headquarters of the Regione Lombardia, with the presidency and totality of departments (general directorates). The complex is built in the piazza Città di Lombardia, adjacent to Via Melchiorre Gioia, in Milan. It is currently the building with the tallest roof in Italy.
The complex is composed of a tower surrounded by a system of buildings with sinusoidal shape. This particular shape gives life to an urban ovoid space covered by a structure in transparent plastic material, which is considered the largest covered square in Europe. (M2 M3 Centrale + 9 minute walk along via Luigi Galvani).
It is good to know that you can admire the city panorama from the Belvedere, on the 39th floor of Palazzo Lombardia, every Sunday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM for free.
Not to be forgotten is the Torre Velasca, expression of post-war Italian Rationalism projected towards economic development. However, it is also the first skyscraper able to look to the past, as its shape is reminiscent of medieval towers.
The name is linked to the Spanish governor Juan Fernández de Velasco, to whom the square was dedicated in the sixteen hundreds. In 2011, the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage submitted it to cultural bond, for its historic-artistic interest. (M3 Missori).
Geometries of impact, suspended spaces, natural lighting, and materials retrieved from the local tradition and adapted to contemporary style. The new building of Bocconi University, located between viale Bligny and via Roentgen, began as a project of the Irish Grafton Architects, and in particular from the minds of Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell, who in 2001 won the international competition organized by the Milanese University to build the structure to accommodate its entire faculty and a new big Aula Magna. (Tram 9 Direction Porta Genova to Via Bocconi).
From the architectural point of view, the project revolves around two basic ideas: floating volumes and diffusion of natural light. The insoles of the five floors of the Grafton building do not rest on pillars but are hung, through steel rods, to large beams: a structural principle similar to that of bridges. The result is a series of open spaces, stairs and elements in reinforced concrete, that seem suspended in the air with a large presence of windows and vents that channel the natural light, even to the underground.
If you are passionate about architecture you cannot leave Milan without having seen and visited the headquarters of the main Italian financial information group: Il Sole 24 Ore.
Rationality, efficiency, transparency and elegance are the hallmarks of the building. (M1 Pero + 7 minute walk to Via dei Caduti-Via Dante Alighieri + Via Carlo Pisacane).
The path in modern Milan continues with the magnificent Milano Congress Centre, the largest convention centre in Europe. The building, which is located in the heart of Fiera Milano City, is characterized by innovative design and versatility of spaces. Entry from viale Eginardo/viale Scarampo (M1 Amendola – 700 m from the Congress Centre, or Lotto 800 m away).
Designed by internationally renowned architect Massimiliano Fuksas, the Stella Polare congress centre is another ‘must-see’ design jewel which is celebrated worldwide. The main building consists of the auditorium, which is a large shell-shaped space that combines elegance and comfort, aesthetics and services. (M1 Rho Fiera)
And finally let’s have a look at the work in progress in preparation for Expo: CityLife, a complex of new aesthetic and functional orientation in Milan with one of the largest car-free zones in Europe.
Indeed, it will be its commercial, cultural, entertainment and residential functions to make it a new active and lively centre, well served by public transport, with bus stops Tre Torri and Portobello of the new underground M5 line.