CityLife skyscraper in Milan

The project for the Endless Tower, by Arata Isozaki& Andrea Maffei Associates, contributes to the redevelopment of the former trade fair area in Milan.

The building is part of the program for the redevelopment of the historic trade fair area in Milan, the object of an international competition in 2003 by Fondazione Fiera and won by CityLife with architectural projects by Arata Isozaki, Daniel Libeskind, and Zaha Hadid.

The tower, designed by Arata Isozaki& Andrea Maffei Associates, consists of a modular system which can be repeated indefinitely. The basic module is a long, narrow (24 by 61.5 meters) volume of 6 office floors. The narrow proportions of the plan are intended to make the volume of the tower appear slimmer so as to emphasize its verticality, provocatively declaring the extreme ratio of slimness to height (the tower reaches a height of 202 meters). Each module is defined on the façade by a double glazed, slightly convex, skin. When arranged vertically on the façade, these convex skins imply a slight vibration of the tower. The side facades are completely glazed, revealing the glass elevators.

The skyscraper is directly connected to the retail spaces at the base of the tower, and can also be accessed by train passengers via a covered path connected to the nearby metro stop. A 350 car parking is built underground.

Construction is scheduled to begin in September 2011 and completion is planned by 2015.

Andrea Maffei, director of Arata Isozaki& Andrea Maffei Associates, talks about the ideas which were developed during the design process.
“Milan is the city that best represents the international face of Italy. Unlike several historic Italian cities, the development of Milan is more strictly related to the time of the industrial revolution. In this sense, designing in Milan means to confront a situation which is closer to modernity and the contemporary, a scenario which is replete with factories, metro lines, steel and concrete structures. Not by chance the futurist movement developed to its highest degree in Milan, where meditation on the contemporary city was less conditioned by the relationship with preexisting historic monuments.”

Maffei goes on saying:
“We wanted to work as a team. Given the extensive dimensions of the lot, we wanted to reinterpret the complexity of the city by relying on the heterogeneous approaches of the three architects. In any street in Milan we always find buildings that date back to different time periods and that display different architectural features. It is these very interactions and interferences that produce the vitality of the city. Milan’s vividness depends upon the dynamic tension between buildings of different epochs, in an archipelago of images and color.”

“We thought it interesting to develop the idea of a sort of endless tower. We wanted to study a concept that could apply to a skyscraper, even before trying to envision its aesthetic outcome. In aspiring to the maximum verticality, we decided to apply the concept of a modular system which can be repeated indefinitely, without interruption.”

Floor Plan/ Level 0

Typical Floor Plan

* Images courtesy of Arata Isozaki + Andrea Maffei Associates.

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