Corso Como Place: a crossroads between tradition and change

At one time it was known as the Pirellino, given its vague resemblance to the Pirelli skyscraper, standing in the center of Milan as one of its easily recognizable icons. Then came the abandonment of the tower as well as its surrounding areas, greenery and nearby streets.

The building in question is on Via Bonnet, surrounded by the new Milan of Piazza Gae Aulenti, from Corso Como, Eataly and Fondazione Feltrinelli & Microsoft House, projects which bring great value to the territory in terms of innovation, economic development and jobs. An iconic and central location which is ready to come back to life through a revolutionary project worthy of its prestigious neighboring buildings.

We present to you Corso Como Place, a project entailing a complete requalification and representing an architectual and urban design journey that aims to create beauty without demolishing existing structures, starting with the enhancement of the ‘50s Tower designed by Francesco Diomede, Giuseppe and Carlo Rusconi Clerici, which will be converted into a modern building with a keen focus on innovation. In addition, right next to the Tower, a new concept Podium will be built, creating an open piazza directly connected to Corso Como and the Porta Nuova neighborhood.

“Our aim is to restore to the building its status as a local landmark while, in the meantime, creating a flexible and contemporary interior environment to facilitate modern work activities.” This is the essence of the project by Lee Polisano, Founding Partner and Chairman of PLP Architecture who received from COIMA the mandate to breathe new life into this corner of the city. “The Podium will give a fundamental contribution in terms of placemaking for the reconfiguration of spaces. It constitutes an entrance gate to the Tower and its dynamic profile is designed to capture the attention of pedestrians on Corso Como.”

It is the Tower which will capture pedestrians’ gaze, which has now been completely redesigned as to its constitutive elements: the grey color and heaviness of cement will be replaced with glass panels which will lighten its line and change the colors of the entire area, reflecting the azure hues of the sky and bestowing upon those who will inhabit the space the lightness of natural lighting. Its lines will also be transformed: facets will be added to exalt the structure’s verticality and a terrace will be added from which Milan may be admired in all its glory.

At its foot will stand the Podium, an ideal entrance gate to the Tower, meant to be a meeting place and pedestrian area to be enjoyed by all. The structure, to be constructed ex novo, will feature four floors in steel and laminated timber, reflecting the continuity between this building and the surrounding urban area – modern, aware of people’s needs, technological and green.

Corso Como Place will be at the forefront of the smart building approach with a view to facilitating the wellness of persons and will constitute an innovative milestone in the construction of a model that combines energy efficiency and environmental sustainability with a new user experience and an advanced concept of wellness.

The new frontier of sustainable innovation is “living well”: the WELL Building Standard assesses the manner in which the design, services and behaviors within buildings positively impact people’s health on the basis of psychophysical wellness criteria, comfort, movement, quality of lighting, energy supply, water and air. Each of these parameters is subjected to scientific measurements with one clear goal in mind: that of improving people’s lives. Surpassing the traditional concept of energy efficiency and respect for the environment, Corso Como Place incorporates these principles in order to focus directly on the psychophysical equilibrium of the person, following a holistic approach that places man at its very core.

The environmental sustainability of the buildings will be guaranteed by the international standard Nearly Zero Energy Building. The photovoltaic system selected for the structures, the use of geothermic energy, that will cover over 65% of annual requirements and the high-performance facades featuring automatic solar screening, will allow for extremely high energy performance and maximum reductions in CO2 emissions. The criteria of circular economy in the selection of materials and in the implementation of the processes guaranteed by the Cradle-to-Cradle® protocol, along with the high performance expected to be attained, thanks to energy and water savings, will justify the LEED Gold certification (Leadership of Energy and Environmental Design) of the buildings.

The protagonist of this important urban project is not just environmental sustainability, however. Each and every choice, detail and element has been conceived to ensure the wellness of the people who will inhabit the spaces on a daily basis. In this regard, Smart building and Internet of Things (IoT), are the key words. An application for smartphones will enable each person to personalize his or her work area, by adjusting lighting, temperature and shading. It will be possible to book in real time a parking space based upon the availability of free spaces and the IoT sensors will monitor the noise level of the buildings as well as air quality, in order to ensure the comfort and wellness of users.

A space designed for people, in the midst of people, with the will to achieve integration with city residents and an ongoing exchange with the outside world. Corso Como Place is born right in a key location of the city, the center of Milanese innovation, its commercial and financial heart, but will also be a space to be lived and enjoyed by citizens, an intersection of relationships between people and the city.

The complex will serve as a junction of walkways and green areas that will also guarantee the requalification of adjacent public areas, which have been abandoned for too long. Encompassing an idea of green mobility and environmental optimization, it will become a pleasing space to be enjoyed and traversed, and in which to pause and enjoy the beauty of this corner of the city.

We are witnessing the very first stages of a new birth: a place serving as an alive, pleasing and active space, that respects the environment and is profoundly human. A place in which the future focuses on people and knows how to create wellness.

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