Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Stefano Boeri Architetti have won an international competition to regenerate Milan’s Porta Nuova Gioia area with the sustainable renovation and expansion of the Pirelli 39 tower. Commissioned by real estate investment fund company COIMA SGR, the mixed-use project will not only inject new life into the region with the creation of over 5,000 jobs but will also be designed to meet high sustainability standards and target LEED Platinum, WELL Gold and WiredScore certifications. The project will include a vertical forest — a skyscraper wrapped in 1,700 square meters of vegetation — topped with solar panels and capable of producing nine tons of oxygen and absorbing 14 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

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rendering of tower covered in plants

Developed as part of a larger urban regeneration project that will include Pirelli 35 and Gioia 20, the Pirelli 39 project occupies a strategic location between Central Station and Scalo Farini. Rather than tear down the structurally problematic Pirelli 39 tower and start anew, the architects instead decided to thoroughly renovate the building to meet modern office building standards and high-performance sustainability targets. 

Related: France’s first Vertical Forest will add a “hectare of forest” to Paris’ skyline

rendering of bike path near plant-covered tower

The renovated Pirelli 39 tower will be paired with a wood-framed residential tower planted with seasonally interesting vegetation on multiple floors. The densely packed landscaping is expected to function like a 10,000-square-meter forest. The tower will also be topped with 2,770 square meters of photovoltaic panels expected to generate 85% of the building’s energy needs.

rendering of curving greenhouse next to plant-covered tower

The final feature of the mixed-use project is the Bridge building, which will house an events space, meeting and wellness areas and a biodiverse greenhouse. The greenhouse will be a dedicated laboratory that serves as an extension of the Biblioteca degli Alberi (Library of Trees), a popular park and botanical garden. The project’s overall level of operational carbon dioxide emissions are aligned with the EU 2050 objectives.

+ Diller Scofidio + Renfro

+ Stefano Boeri Architetti

Images via Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Stefano Boeri Architetti