Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
 

CTBUH Italy Co-Hosts the 7th International Tall Buildings Conference, Milan
June 7, 2017

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MILAN – On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, the seventh edition of the International Tall Buildings Conference was held in Milan. The day-long event was chaired by Professor Aldo Norsa and organized by IUAV University of Venice, Politecnico di Milano, and Politecnico di Torino, with the patronage of CTBUH and the support of the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. The event was once again exemplary of recent CTBUH discussions on the challenges of tall buildings, ranging from their design aspects and technological solutions to their psychological impact.

After a brief welcome, Professor Norsa introduced Alberto Ferlenga, Rector, IUAV University, and Emilio Faroldi, Prorector of Politecnico di Milano. They discussed the theme of tall buildings as paradigms of modernity, and the contemporary need for an imaginative approach when it comes to tall building construction, which was common in the past.

The first session of the conference was dedicated to Tall Buildings and Their Habitat, starting with "The Italian Drive: Bologna, Milan, Turin" and concluding with "Challenges in the World."

This session was opened by Luca Drago, Partner and Head of the Concept Sector, Open Project, who highlighted the UnipolSai Tower in Bologna. Agostino Ghirardelli, Founding Partner of Sbga, and Mauro Eugenio Giuliani, Sole Director and Managing Partner of Redesco, discussed the Libeskind Tower in the upcoming CityLife complex, and how it evolved from an embryonic form to a building that interconnects strongly with the Milanese context.

Session One continued with a presentation by Maurice Kanah, founding partner of BG&K, who discussed the recent renovation of Torre Galfa. The tower, originally designed by architect Melchiorre Bega, featured the first open floor plan in Milan and Italy, adhering to the "International Style." Kanah explained the challenges of adapting the principles on which the building is based as it is re-programmed from office to residential and hotel space.

The seventh edition of the International Tall Buildings Conference was held in Milan, Italy, and attracted professionals from various fields in the industry.

Vincenzo Turini, Project Manager for Intesa Sanpaolo, closed "The Italian Drive" topic by speaking about the relationship between Turin’s built environment and the Alps. He highlighted Intesa Sanpaolo Tower and the Regione Piemonte Headquarters, two towers that show how the relationship between architecture and town planning can merge into the skyline.

The first speaker for the Challenges in the World section was Larry Malcic, Design Principal for the London Office of HOK, who designed the future tallest residential skyscraper in Europe: the Spire London, recognizable by its distinct three-petal shape. The topic was expanded upon by Nikolaus Goetze, partner, von Gerkan, Marg & Partners, who has been working for over two decades in China, where modernity is synonymous with density. In the final presentation of the first session, “Building Technologies: The Most Advanced Solutions in the World,” Dario Sala, Strategy & Marketing Leader for Honeywell, explained in detail the concept and application of smart buildings.

Session 2 – Knowledge and Technologies – started with a presentation by CTBUH Research Manager Dr. Dario Trabucco, who argued that in 50 years, contemporary skyscrapers will be abandoned and decay, because the needs of users will change. Thus, early in the development process, tall buildings must be designed with carefully selected materials, in anticipation of a future full or partial demolition.
 
The session continued with Francesco Giaccio and Andrea Natale, the respective General Manager and Marketing Manager of Johnson Controls, focused on new building technologies. Furthermore, Giuseppe Dibari, Real Estate & Sustainability Director for Deerns Italia, and Wouter Kok, Managing Director and Smart Building Expert for bGrid, presented the example of The Edge, Deloitte’s Amsterdam headquarters, referred to as the "world’s first smart building."

In the “Innovation in Fire Safety Requirements” presentation, Giuseppe Amaro, Founder of Gae Engineering, described the first Italian tall buildings to meet fire criteria that do not limit architectural creativity (UnipolSai and Regione Piemonte headquarters towers).

The day-long event was chaired by Professor Aldo Norsa and organized by IUAV University, Politecnico di Milano, and Politecnico di Torino, with the patronage of CTBUH and the support of the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli.
Next, Paolo Rigone, Associate Professor, Politecnico di Milano, an expert on building envelopes, illustrated the complexities involved in façade engineering, as a building’s envelope is typically exposed to 90 percent of the forces that are exerted on the building.

The session closed with Nigel Ryan, Architectural Design Consultant of eFM, and Alessandro Adamo, Director of Degw Italia and Partner of Lombardini22, discussing the internal spaces of skyscrapers.

The final session hosted three exceptional speakers, the first being CTBUH Trustee Dennis Poon, Vice Chairman, Thornton Tomasetti, who explained how creative ideas are engineered and how their feasibility is determined. Kenneth Lewis, Partner,  Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, explained how the diagrid system is a solution where structure and architecture merge together, allowing for the greatest possible transparency and optimization of spaces. The final speaker, former CTBUH Chairman Ron Klemencic, Chairman and CEO, MKA, gave a highly technical explanation of how his firm “encourages” bending behaviors in buildings and allows the building to sustain a small amount of damage following an earthquake. As such, MKA often clashes with the conventions of traditional structural engineering.

CTBUH Treasurer Steve Watts, Partner, Alinea Consulting, closed the conference and shared his thoughts on the modern cyber-psychologist: people concerned about smart technologies and the intensive use of internet and social media, who could, as a result, be destroying social, physical relationships. Eighty-three percent of young people in London succumb to loneliness, and that is one reason why developers there tend to invest heavily in common areas rather than private ones. There is a vision of encouraging social intercourse.

The event closed with a final point of emphasis: skyscraper development is related to technology, but also to other aspects that create additional profit avenues. Despite this, even the biggest projects can fail: not because of lack of technology, but because of failures in interpersonal communication.
Alberto Ferlenga, Rector, IUAV University, discussed the theme of tall buildings as a paradigm of modernity, and the contemporary need for an imaginative approach when it comes to tall building construction, which was common in the past.