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With sustainability a main priority in various industries, nature seems to find its way into urban architecture more and more these days. In Vancouver, the renowned architecture firm Heatherwick Studio just unveiled the design for two residential towers inspired by trees, and in Shanghai, Zaha Hadid Architects are incorporating a park directly into the base of a new skyscraper. And it looks like Milan is the next city to transform its modern skyline with a nature-inspired structure that will literally bring some fresh air to the city.
Following an international architecture competition, launched in 2019, two of the country’s most prominent firms are joining forces to reimagine the heart of the Porta Nuova Gioia area, north of the city center. Diller Scofidio + Renfro (who worked on New York City’s High Line) and Stefano Boeri Architetti will be collaborating on a large-scale project that includes the construction of a brand new residential tower. It will feature a whopping 18,300 square feet of lush vegetation distributed between its floors. The structure, which will be partially built from wood, will absorb 14 tons of carbon dioxide and generate nine tons of oxygen per year and produce enough energy to cover 65 percent of its use.
The project, named Pirelli39, also includes the revamping of the Biblioteca degli Alberi (Library of Trees) by adding an extension to it. The new building will act as an events venue and an education center where various plant species will surround visitors.
“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. 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,” stated in a press release Elizabeth Diller, partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
Another highlight of the project is the revamping of the iconic Pirelli Tower, originally built in 1956 for the Pirelli tire company. While the structure will maintain its original facade (its architecture has reportedly inspired the MET Life building in New York City), the building will be adapted to meet the rigorous sustainability standards of the European Union.