Westway Architects have just completed a renovation of a 19th-century building in Milan, Italy, which features a beautiful "suspended garden" separating the commercial ground floor form the residential area. The architects restored the original facade of the structure and enhanced it with glass elements, but the most interesting part of the project is found inside the building in the two eye-like openings in the floor that allows trees to grow up through the building.
The 19th-century building is located in a posh area between Porta Garibaldi and Porta Nuova in Milan, and consists of two garage floors, ground floor and six residential floors with 25 differently-sized apartments organized around an internal courtyard. The architects renovated the facade by introducing glass elements in the upper portion of the street front as a kind of glazed crowning emphasized by the heavy stone frame.
The most interesting part of the renovation project is the treatment of the internal courtyard, which serves as a vertical communication core, meeting point and distribution area of commercial spaces. The first floor garden area with two large elliptical holes allow natural lighting to reach the commercial ground floor dominated by two trees protruding through the two openings. The apartments are accessible via walkways distributed around the courtyard.