Lately Milan has developed several construction sites, including Palazzo Lombardia, the project for the new location of Regione Lombardia and a part of the huge regeneration of Milan’s Garibaldi-Repubblica district. The complex, which has been recently awarded “best tall building in Europe” by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) from Chicago, has been designed by the New York based Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in association with Caputo Partnership. They won the international design competition held by Regione Lombardia in 2004 and they were chosen from 98 applications from the best architectural firms all over the world. However, the building complex does not replace the Palazzo Pirelli by Gio Ponti, restored in recent years; instead it hosts all the other regional council offices distributed all over Milan in rented locations.
The new headquarters is composed of a tower of 39 floors. At 161 meters high and made of glass, steel, and concrete and surrounded by a complex system of curvilinear interweaving buildings providing cultural, and entertainment facilities. The interweaving buildings offer a variety of open spaces and passageways; the largest open space is Piazza Città di Lombardia, the biggest covered public square in Europe, and at ground level it will host public amenities such as a post office, a maternal school and varied cultural facilities. The piazza is covered by a curved, clear ETFE roof, recalling Milan’s famous Galleria.
The building utilizes a broad array of green design and operating practices. Some numbers to to put this in to context 3300 square meters of wood area, 6800 square meters of hanging gardens, 3200 square of tree covered square, and 9000 square meters of linear garden of Via Rastrelli which will provide a pedestrian space along the main side.
In addition, the energy required for heating in winter and cooling in summer will be supplied by a geothermal heat pump system tapping the heat exchange potential of a nearby underground river. Lastly, photovoltaic cells are laminated in the glass panels of the tower’s south facades. Sustainability measures also include green roofs and active climate walls with vertical blades that rotate to provide shade.