Pirelli building renovation project to be breath of fresh air for Milan

Two prestigious architecture firms, Stefano Boeri Architetti and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, have joined forces to envision an ambitious reimagining of Milan’s existing Pirellino (aka Pirelli Tower) and the immediate area. The project will involve the renovation of an old office tower and the construction of an adjacent plant-covered skyscraper, with an attractive greenery filled bridge connecting the two.

Named Pirelli 39, the project is being commissioned by COIMA SGR following an international architecture competition. The most notable aspect is the new residential tower. It’s not clear yet how tall the new building will be, but we do know it will feature a considerable 1,700 sq m (18,300 sq ft) of vegetation on its facade, specifically chosen to change colors as the seasons change.

According to the press release, the building’s greenery will absorb 14 tons of CO2 and produce 9 tons of oxygen per year, which is, says Stefano Boeri Architetti, the equivalent of installing a 10,000 sq m (roughly 106,000 sq ft) forest in inner-city Milan. To boost its green credentials further, the tower will also receive an impressive 65 percent of its overall electricity requirements from solar panels and will be partially built using wood.

The existing Pirellino office tower already on the site is being renovated to improve its energy efficiency and boost its ability to withstand seismic activity. Originally built in 1950 for Pirelli, the 127-m (416-ft) tower is now in serious need of some work and hasn’t actually been in use for a few years as it doesn’t meet current EU regulations.

The old Pirellino office tower and the new greenery covered skyscraper will be connected by a greenery filled bridge
The old Pirellino office tower and the new greenery covered skyscraper will be connected by a greenery filled bridge


An attractive-looking bridge will join the two towers and will be used as an extension of Milan’s Biblioteca degli Alberi (Library of Trees). It will be packed with greenery to showcase various plant species and will also host an events and exhibition space.

“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,” says 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.”

The overall project is slated for the LEED Platinum green building standard, though we’ve no word yet on when construction is expected to begin.

Stefano Boeri Architetti has previously designed several similar greenery covered buildings in its Vertical Forest series, including the Nanjing Vertical Forest and Bosco Verticale, while Diller Scofidio + Renfro has won praise for its superb work on New York City’s High Line and its Shed, also in NYC.

Source: Stefano Boeri Architetti

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