Expected to be completed in 2013, Herzog & de Meuron’s new redevelopment project in Porta Volta, Milan will include the headquarters for the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli. The Feltrinelli Group considers the site as an ideal environment for the foundation’s multiple activities and the overall masterplan for Porta Volta will consist of the Fondazione, two new office buildings, and a generous green area. “This undertaking by the Feltrinelli Group has an important urban dimension in that it strengthens and reinforces the city.”
The strong historical analysis of the site drove the evolution of the design proposal. The urban organisation of Porta Volta traces back the 15th century when the Mura Spagnole city walls defined the city’s growing boundaries. After the opening of the bastion in the late 19th century, Via Alessandro Volta laid the basis for the city’s extension outside the ancient walls, connecting as a new, prominent urban axis the historical center with Cimitero Monumentale. Today, the emptiness of the site is a testament to the walls and, at the same time, reminds one of the destructions this area has suffered during the Second World War.
“The long-limbed form, linear building refers, first, to the Gothic tradition that is expressed in important buildings in the city of Milan on the other to farms that dot the landscape of slender Lombardy,” explained Herzog.