CityLife, Milan

CityLife is a residential, commercial and business district still under construction.  It is a project to redevelop the historic neighbourhood of Fiera Milano.  A big charm is the three skyscrapers by the three world famous architects: Zaha Hadid, Arata Iszaki and Daniel Libeskind.

I was in the area in 2014 after visiting the hill nearby.  The Straight Line by Arata Iszahi was the first one to build but still under construction. This time, in 2016, it was completed.   The building is composed of 8 modules each with 6 floors. The facade is made of triple glass slightly curved outside.  It looks like curves of wave flowing upward. It is the highest building in Milan and stands proudly next to Zaha Hadid's The Twisted.


Close to the CityLife is planned shopping centre and the extravagant yet modern residences designed by Zaha Hadid and Libeskind.  We could still see vacant flats.   Very nice apartment with brilliant parks and beautiful surroundings.  Not many people can afford........

According to the plan the third skyscraper from Libeskind should be built between 2015 and 2018. But there was not yet a clear sign.  Not sure with the current economic condition in Italy.  Will there be sufficient demand for first class residence or business office?  My best wishes that the Italian dream of amazing architecture development will come true very soon.

Not far away is the very impressive Mico Convention Centre.  The metallic outlook and special design draws admiral when we were on the hill in the morning.  The closer you've got to it, the more stunning you feel.  And it is so huge!  Funny is a view of it next to The Straight Line and The Twisted.


Bosco Verticale, The Vertical Forest

Started a few years ago, the surrounding of Milan's city centre was dotted with various construction sites. We needed to go numerous winding streets from Via Pola to the Garibaldi Station. Nowadays, the hoardings have been removed.  The areas of Isola and Porta Nuova have a new look, full of life and filled with modern buildings such as residential buildings, shopping and commercial centres and governmental offices.  On the left is the Palazzo Lombardia under construction some years ago. Nowadays, the top floor is opened to the public every Sunday to have gorgeous panoramic views of Milan.

A lot of cities in Italy still appear or keep its medieval buildings to preserve its rich history.  It is always not easy to see new urban constructions.  Can you imagine the eternal city Rome crammed with modern skyscrapers?  No, never!   But Milan did it.  One of the new modern skyscraper examples is the Bosco Verticale, vertical forest.  It is a pair of high-rise residence - 18 and 26 floors respectively - with giant cantilevered, staggered balconies which accommodate large plants and more than 700 trees.

The towers were  designed by Boeri Studio with consultancy from horticulturalists and botanists. Why so many trees and plants?  They mitigate smog and produce oxygen.  Besides, they can also moderate temperatures in the building in summer and winter.  The plants attenuate noise.  To support the forest the balconies are built with steel-reinforced concrete, 28 cm thick with 1.3 metre parapets. The two amazing towers won two grand awards in 2014 and 2015, International Highrise Award and the Council on Tall Building and Urban Habitat Award.

Bosco Verticale is very close to the newly developed Piazza Gae Aulenti where the head office of Uni Credit stands. Together they form a very different skyline vs. the past, the old gray building clusters. The piazza is the collaborative effort of twenty architectural studios from eight different countries.

The square is not a normal soulless and alienating space but filled with shops, ice cream, coffee, bookshop, cosmetic and a giant supermarket Esselunga.  It is also filled with oddities, such as the trumpets' on the south side of the square.  The 23 brass tubes carry all the sounds of the square to the lower levels.  There are other buildings under construction.  One is like a boat built with wood and glass.  If you would be in Milan, come and take a look.