Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

Milan Tall Building Conference
April 19, 2016
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MILAN – On April 19, The Tall Buildings Iuav International Conference held its sixth annual seminar on Tall Building Urbanism. The CTBUH was a proud sponsor of the conference and had a strong presence in the program, with a presentation given by CTBUH Research Manager Dario Trabucco and CTBUH 2013 Seed Funding recipient Elena Giacomello. Held at the CityLife Conference Hall in Milan, 17 invited speakers framed Italian expertise in the field of tall building.

After a welcome address by Marco Beccati, Technical Director of CityLife, the presentations were introduced by Professor Aldo Norsa of Iuav – organizer and chairman of the conference – which were divided into two sessions: the first framed the design of new high-rises, while the second was dedicated to research, refurbishments, and retrofits. The topics of the conference were diverse and included technological issues as well as social issues such as the urban integration of tall buildings in historical European cities.

The impact of tall buildings in the urban structure was discussed by Andrea Rolando of Politecnico di Milano and Ennio Brion of Iper Montebello, who introduced the cases of the Portello-Fiera quarter in Milan and the Spina-Axis of Torino.
A moment of silence was held for Zaha Hadid in the conference hall.
Session One also included several technical presentations. First, Gianfranco Ariatta examined the MEP systems used in Allianz Tower, the first high-rise in the CityLife development. Mauro Eugenio Giuliani of Redesco exposed the structural challenges of Generali Tower, the second structure to be built on the site (currently under construction). Meanwhile, Giuseppe Dibari of Deerns Italia illustrated challenges overcome by Deerns in developing high-rise building designs starting with Arag Tower in Dusserldorf, Porta Nuova and CityLife in Milan, and The Edge in Amsterdam.

Additionally, Patricia Viel of Citterio Viel Architects spoke about the new generation of slim skyscrapers that first appeared in New York and are now found throughout the world. The final presentation of the morning session, delivered by Bernardo Fort Brescia of Arquitectonica, focused on the residential towers of Porta Nuova in Milan. Fort Brescia compared their design with other major works by his studio found elsewhere in the world.

The afternoon session featured another group of distinguished presenters. CTBUH Research Manager Dario Trabucco began the session with a presentation on the Council’s two-year research project analyzing tall building life cycles. As explained by Trabucco, the research sought to quantify the environmental impacts of the entire life cycle of a tall building, while building an analysis/comparison of all lifespan phases: production, transportation, use, and disposal of materials.
Daniel Libeskind talking about his career and passion for tall buildings.

Elena Giacomello of Iuav discussed her CTBUH-related research on Bosco Verticale, winner of the 2015 CTBUH Best Tall Building Award. Her presentation focused on the 2013 International Research Seed Funding grant she won to study the vertical greenery on Bosco Verticale in order to better understand the new frontiers of green façades along with their technical limitations.

Along with the research-oriented presentations of Session Two, two speakers focused on high-rise retrofits and restorations. Gary Steficek of Gilsanz Murray Steficek explained the restoration of the Woolworth Building, while Maria Antonietta Crippa of Politecnico di Milano spoke about the restoration of Milan’s Pirelli Building.

The afternoon session was closed by Daniel Libeskind of Studio Libeskind, who as part of his presentation confessed his love for Italy and especially the city of Milan, where he lived in the 1980s before finding fame at the international level. With spontaneity and directness Libeskind retraced his career in stages, emphasizing how tall buildings represent his most authentic passion.

Interesting presentations were also given by Leonardo Cavalli (One Works), Alberto Ferrari (Ramboll UK), John Iorio (J&A Consultants), Lukasz Platkowski (Gensler), and Italo Savastano (Otis).

The conference concluded with the opening of a small exhibition: "Milan and Tall Building Urbanism: the New Skyline" at the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, coordinated as part of La Triennale di Milano.