The awarded collaboration for the ‘Pirelli 39’ development project envisions a completely sustainable transformation in Milan

Pirelli 39, Greenhouse Bridge Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Stefano Boeri Architetti

The collaborative efforts of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS + R) and Stefano Boeri Architetti has been lauded for the winning design entry proposed by the teams for the international architectural competition for Pirelli 39 in Milan, organised by COIMA SGR- an Investment & Asset Management company. 

The project has been receiving high commendation because it is the first Italian redevelopment project aligned with ESG impact objectives and Next Generation EU guidelines (to be planned post-COVID). Also, the acquisition and development of Pirelli 39 represents more than €300 million of investment which will result in the creation of more than 5,000 jobs in the design, construction and delivery phases. 

“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. 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.” – Stefano Boeri, Founder of Stefano Boeri Architetti 

The competition launched on 25 November 2019 received a high volume of entries from 359 practices (across 15 countries) working in 70 groups. COIMA has therefore been advancing its approach to promote collaboration between Italian and international architects, fueling a new era of design founded on a new Italian cultural paradigm. 

The concept put forward seeks to develop a mixed-use model of public-residential-tertiary spaces through the three main agendas:

Recovery of the existing tower to meet present standards and parameters of innovation, sustainability and energy performance in office buildings. 

The bridge building which will redesign the separating ‘wall’ on Melchiorre Gioia by creating a new hub for events, shows and exhibitions, with meeting and wellness areas and a biodiverse greenhouse space in addition to the ‘Biblioteca degli Alberi’ ( a dedicated laboratory to provide an immersive, educational, interactive and innovative experience among various plant species).

Construction of a new tower replicating 10,000 sqm. forest area, as a result of housing 1,700 sqm. vegetation distributed on various floors responsible for absorbing (14 tons) CO2 and producing (9 tons) O2 per year. The tower will also be self-sustainable as it will generate 65% of its energy through the installation of 2,700 sqm. of photovoltaic panels. 

“Our studio is thrilled to have this opportunity to make a meaningful architectural contribution to the city of Milan, our first project in Italy. 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.” adds Elizabeth Diller, Partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Pirelli 39 will be the first Italian project fully measurable according to ESG criteria: 

  • LEED Platinum, WELL Gold, WiredScore certifications
  • contribution to achieve LEED and WELL for Community certification for the Porta Nuova district (first district in the world)
  • zero use of fossil fuels
  • level of operational CO2 emissions already aligned with the EU 2050 objectives
  • building recovery >70% of the existing building and containment of construction emissions (<600 kg CO2 / m2)
  • coverage of the annual energy requirement >65% from renewable sources
  • creation of public and commercial spaces to contribute to the activation of the area
  • activation of +5,000 jobs for design, construction and management phases
  • € 500 million of added value generated (direct, indirect and induced contribution of the economic activity carried out) 

Text by Nikitha Sunil, Contributor- Architecture+Design

Project Info:

Name: Pirelli 39

Architects: Collaboration between Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS + R) and Stefano Boeri Architetti

Location: Milan, Italy