Milan’s Porta Nuova Gioia district will soon have an incredible green tower to add to its skyline. Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and Stefano Boeri Architetti (SBA) won the competition for Pirelli 39, a mixed-used project designed as part of a larger renovation effort to an existing mixed-use building. Part of the remodeling project includes changes to the existing Pirellino office tower in addition to the architects’ new green residential tower. The two buildings will be connected by a floating base that acts as a greenhouse bridge and is designed to include public educational events and programs as well as Milan’s Biblioteca Degli Alberi, or “library of trees.”
The winners describe that this project is an opportunity to introduce environmental design while improving urban life and connectivity. “As much of our work focuses on the future of cities, the Pirelli 39 project presents a great opportunity to develop a new model of mixed-use development and sustainable urban growth,” says architect Elizabeth Diller of DS+R. “The project combines the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings with environmentally responsible new construction and a vibrant ‘living’ cultural destination devoted to the art and science of plants.”
This focus on environmentalism is part of what led COIMA, the investment and development firm that launched the competition, to choose these collaborators as the winning entry. The jury appreciated that this project focused on the relationship between urbanity and nature; the 18,000 square feet of vegetation used throughout the new residential tower will help offset the building’s carbon footprint by absorbing 14 tons of CO2 and producing nine tons of oxygen annually. Additionally, the wood utilized throughout the project will also help towards minimizing its carbon footprint. And with almost 30,000 square feet of photovoltaic panels, 65% of the building's energy needs will be met through solar power.
“This project will reinvigorate the iconic former Pirellino building, creating a new tower that mixes architecture and nature to create a green space that is open to the whole city,’ adds Stefano Boeri. “In such a difficult period, this project relaunches the vision of a forward-looking Milan and bravely faces the great challenges of the climate crisis.”