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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pirelli building, Milan, Italy

Work completed on new Pirelli building in Milan
The project for the new office building, the construction of which has recently been completed, was required under the regulations to respect restrictions regarding the height, use and land base of the pre-existing industrial building. This “building replacement” scheme has been run with the demolition and reconstruction of the building dimensions already present in the previous construction, working to achieve an enhancement of the architectural quality while respecting the morphologies of the former building fabric. Since the new construction is located within the Pirelli precinct at La Bicocca, an architectural image has been highlighted to make it fall into line with the other buildings present in the same area (the Pirelli RE headquarters, currently being extended, and the Research Centre), so as to give a cohesive representation to the corporate image of the business group. The programmatic and architectural choices for the recovery and transformation of the whole Pirelli precinct and its buildings have therefore been made to highlight the production continuity established in the area during the 20th century. The architectural articulation of the new office building places in the central part, overlooking Viale Sarca, the spaces of the company cafeteria: a volume 5.32m high (for a surface area of around 2,400 m2), the horizontal roof level of which is organised with a hanging garden and large skylights that characterise its spatiality in an original way. On the three perimeter sides the building reaches a height of four storeys, to be used for production activities. With this configuration the building delimits both the open public space on Viale Sarca and the private inside the precinct, guaranteeing the alignments of the frontages with the adjacent architectures and giving continuity to the overall urban design. The presence of the old water tower to the north, with its original neo-medieval profile, constitutes a spatial reference and a backdrop against which to measure the depths of the views. For this the disposition of masses of the new building presents two slender projections in the foreground, made of anthracite coloured stoneware, which highlight a perception of it in depth through the verticality of the architectural elements that structure this part of Viale Sarca. Public pedestrian accessibility to the building is guaranteed via an entrance on the same avenue, at the northern end, and via two others on the internal private road of the precinct. This distribution allows safe management of the diversified use of the spaces. An internal gallery organises the distribution to the activities located on this floor and connects the lifts with the main entrances. In addition to the approx. 9,000 m2 to be used as offices, located in the two basement floors are the car parks, storage rooms, services for the cafeteria kitchen and equipment rooms. The organization of the production spaces on the various floors is open plan, modulated around a structural grid of 7.50 x 7.50 m. The facades of the building are covered with dark grey porcelain stoneware, with the same material as the buildings of the Pirelli headquarters and the Pirelli Research Centre. The west façade, designed to frame the volume of the cafeteria, has the fronts of four storeys covered in anthracite grey stoneware, while the parts that look out onto the hanging garden are aluminium and glass curtain walls, articulated by a horizontal rhythm of shading devices. Thanks to this configuration, the open plan formats on the various floors have a facing aspect that is continuous and full height onto the hanging garden

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