Foundation work has been completed on the first tower in the CityLife development in Milan, Italy, a long-discussed initiative to create a business district on the site of the historical Milan Fair, the Fiera Milano.
The $2.6 billion development includes towers designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and Studio Daniel Libeskind, which created the master plan for the project.
The first tower to move forward was designed by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, the Milan-based architects who have designed several high profile projects in Italy, including the hockey stadium for the 2006 Olympics in Torino.
The Isozaki-Maffei designed tower, which has been called Il Dritto, or Torre Isozaki, will reach a height of 207 meters (679 feet), making it second the tallest building in Italy. It will be twice the height of Duomo di Milano, the city’s historic cathedral.
In addition to the three towers, the CityLife project will feature a series of small apartment buildings, the Milan Museum of Contemporary Art, a shopping district, pedestrian areas, a children’s museum and a convention center.
The project was first proposed as a competition by the city of Milan, which in 2004 awarded the prize to CityLife, a subsidiary of Allianz Group. In its project brief, CityLife expresses the desire to bring the city “a new model of residential living as well as for work and leisure.”
The three towers have been given the names Il Dritto, Lo Storto and Il Curvo which translate to English as The Straight One, The Twisted One and The Curved One.
Il Dritto, created by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, was designed to emulate the Endless Tower sculpture by the Romanian sculptor Rumeno Constantin Brâncuşi in 1918, according to ArchDaily.
“In the aspiration for maximum height, we chose to apply the concept of a modular system that could repeat indefinitely and seamlessly,” architect Andrea Maffei told designboom. The designers developed a theoretically infinite modular system, employing eight modules with six floors each to create “a tower without end.”
The 50-story skyscraper also features a facade inspired by the mathematical Penrose Pattern, a complex, infinitely repeatable diamond pattern. The modular idea inspired them to avoid the contemporary practice of building “a shape for the shape,” the architects say.
The modular study expressed their upward aspirations, accenting the verticality with the gentle “vibrations” of the facade. They quote Brâncuşi, saying, “We need to support the vault of heaven.”
The completed foundation required 4,260 cubic meters (150,440 cubic feet) of concrete, 630 square meters (6,781 square feet) of formwork, and 62 underpinning piles over 30 meters (98 feet) long. The foundation took 42 hours of continuous work to complete.
Work has not yet started on the Hadid and Libeskind towers, but low-rise residences by the same architects are nearing completion. The residences cater to a middle-income clientele, while the towers target a higher-end audience. Units in Il Curvo will sell for 1.8 million euro, Bloomberg reports.
Ms. Hadid’s 190-meter (620-foot) design for Lo Sorto will present a spiraling portal to the complex. The studio created a computer program to design the twisting image using parametric algorithms. A stack of 43 concrete floor slabs appears to incrementally rotate around a vertical axis.
Studio Daniel Libeskind designed the central office tower, the contemporary art museum, a residential tower, the first housing parcel and the master plan for the entire development.
The city hopes the project will be finished in time for Expo2015, which the city will host.
Follow the development’s progress through the CityLife webcam.