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Palazzo Lombardia

Recalling the mountains, valleys, and rivers of Lombardy, Palazzo Lombardia’s distinctive form is composed of sinuous interweaving strands of linear office space. This assemblage of gently curved glass-walled workplaces, adaptable to changing functional requirements, allows the building to integrate with its urban context while creating unique landscaped public spaces.

Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners -photography: Fernando Guerra

The low-rise interweaving strands, whose fourteen-meter width allows for maximum daylight penetration, relate well to the adjoining residential neighborhoods while still allowing a slender tower, shaped by the intersection of two curved fragments, to celebrate the new seat of government on the skyline of Milan. Reaching 161 meters, the tower contributes an emblematic presence complementary to the neighboring Pirelli Tower.

Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners -photography: Fernando Guerra

At the core of the complex is a large, open-air plaza, the Piazza Città di Lombardia, which is covered with a transparent ETFE canopy (a lightweight plastic alternative to glass) and completely open to the public. This expansive space, whose curved roof recalls Milan’s Galleria, connects directly to two adjacent outdoor green spaces. At ground level, the podium strands are occupied by shops, restaurants, cafés, and cultural facilities that draw people in and promote a sense of community within the complex.

Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners -photography: Fernando Guerra

The façade is composed of two complementary systems: local stone, applied to the end walls facing the streets, links the complex to the historic urban fabric of Milan, while the curvilinear glass curtain wall symbolizes the transparency of the institution housed within.

Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners -photography: Fernando Guerra

Sustainable strategies include a one-meter-deep active climate wall that creates a thermal buffer zone through which return air is pulled. Vertical louvers of perforated aluminum within the cavity automatically rotate in response to sun angles. Heating and cooling energy is supplied through a geothermal heat pump system connected to an underground river and is supplemented by photovoltaic panels laminated into the tower’s south façade.

Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners -photography: Fernando Guerra

Project Info
Architects: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
Location: Milan, Italy
Year: 2013
Type: Mixed use, Retail, Office Building
Photography: Fernando Guerra

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