Firstly because it involves the renovation of the building in via Pirelli 39: the “bridge” one on via Melchiorre Gioia, the so-called Pirellino, an abandoned giant that abruptly interrupts the perimeter of the glittering Milan of Porta Nuova and its green heart, the Biblioteca degli Alberi.
Pirelli 39 is also ambitious because it focuses on sustainability and the landscape, as one might expect from the creators of the Bosco Verticale and the New York High Line. But above all because it is built on the idea that public well-being and culture must also be central to private initiatives.
In fact, the project envisages the redevelopment of the existing tower (which will be used as offices) and the addition of a second one (for residential use) but also the transformation of the bridge into a public botanical garden and space for cultural-scientific events, as well as the redevelopment of the entire surrounding landscape area.
Pirelli 39 will see the light in this capacity only if it manages to obtain the funding provided for by the add-volume regulation relating to article 40 bis of regional law 12/2005. That is, if the institutions consider the buildings in the complex to be “in a state of neglect” and therefore suitable for receiving incentives. Otherwise, the "public" part of the project (basically the bridge) will not see the light.
A lot was put on the plate, on the public fruition side, during the presentation of the project which was also attended by the institutions: the reduction of via Melchiorre Gioia between six to four lanes to make room for rows of trees and cycle paths, pedestrian paths in the whole area, which will be transformed into a green area, a new tower - the residential one, with the first three public floors - which ideally incorporates the “botanical logic” of the Library of the Trees of which, together with the bridge-botanical garden, it will become a logic continuation, open to all.
The bridge, raised above the current one with a greenhouse roof, will become a city hub, with open spaces for events and exhibitions, areas for meetings and wellness, a laboratory for sharing information on the climate and environmental impact. “Greenhouses of the 21st century must be immersive, educational, interactive and innovative experiences dedicated to the story of species,” said Liz Diller.
The new residential tower is also dedicated to the landscape with its 1,700 square meters of vegetation that will absorb 14 tons of CO2 and produce 9 tons of oxygen per year (the equivalent of a 10 thousand square meter forest). For citizens, this "vertical Italian garden" will offer a show of colors that change with the seasons thanks to the botanical species that will set it up, chosen based on the blooms.
With 2,770 square meters of photovoltaic panels, the tower will be able to self-produce 65% of its energy needs. The building includes wooden structural parts that will reduce its carbon footprint, including 1,800 cubic meters of wood for the floors that will save up to 3,600 tons of carbon dioxide in the construction phases.
The current tower will be enlarged but will not lose its characteristic windowed facade: to increase its surface, what Liz Diller has defined as “an essential element of James Turrell” on the north side, the non-characterizing one and currently covered with aluminum, will be added.
“We imagined urban regeneration without consuming a meter of land and doing three things”, has explained Stefano Boeri. “Refurbishing a building that has marked the history of modern Italian architecture, creating a tower with its feet in the park, capable of relaunching what is the greatest challenge for cities today, namely to relate architecture and botany. And finally, transforming a bridge into a green space open to the public for the first time, giving it cultural, educational and entertainment purposes”.