In April, attendees of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile strolled the vast corridors of the 5.7-million-square-foot Fiera di Milano complex that began hosting the springtime furniture fair three years ago. While traveling to the Massimiliano Fuksas-designed facility in Milan’s outskirts, some may have noticed that a portion of their old stomping grounds, the Fieramilanocity, located near the city center, is now a construction site.
In 2004, CityLife, a consortium of French and Italian companies, won rights from Fondazione Fiera Milano to redevelop 2.7 million square feet of the massive 4.3-million-square foot exhibition center. The plan calls for a mixed-use mega-project containing residences, a museum, and office and retail space. Construction is scheduled for completion in 2014.
Zaha Hadid, Arata Isozaki, Daniel Libeskind, and Pier Paolo Maggiora are collectively master planning the site, and each will also contribute a significant number of building designs. Hadid, for instance, has envisioned six apartment structures characterized by alternating bands of glazing and solid striations that occasionally extend outward to form balconies. Meanwhile, Studio Daniel Libeskind has designed a contemporary arts museum featuring a squat, torqued volume with a green roof; the building will serve as the threshold between the redeveloped site’s northern edge and Fieramilanocity’s extant pavilions.
The project’s visual centerpiece is a high-rise trio that is something like an architectural dance party. The three towers—designed by Hadid, Isozaki, and Libeskind— seem to corkscrew-spin, gyrate, and assume a billowing C shape, respectively. They certainly are striking, but urbanistically speaking, the project’s most important feature may be a grand piazza from which the three offices radiate. Other public amenities include a large park, a school, and community buildings.