Architect: Michele De Lucchi Architects
Building is part of Porta Nuova Business District, near UniCredit Tower and Gae Aulenti Square.
UniCredit announced the construction in Milan of the UniCredit Pavilion, a new structure with a cutting-edge design that will accommodate a wide range of business and cultural events of both local and international interest.
The 700-person-capacity facility will be opened adjacent to UniCredit's headquarters in late 2015. The project was inspired by the banking Group's desire to enhance the center of Milan, the Porta Nuova quarter, which is currently undergoing significant urban renewal and development.
"The UniCredit Pavilion will be a center for innovation in the city. The space will reflect the strong European identity of our company and, at the same time, is clearly rooted in its home country," said UniCredit CEO Federico Ghizzoni. "This facility meets our commitment to build deeper relationships with the communities where we operate and contribute to their economic development in a sustainable manner. It also represents an excellent opportunity to create value."
The bright, open and highly adaptable space will face out onto the adjacent Porta Nuova gardens and will serve the city of Milan as a natural place for open dialogue, public participation and artistic experimentation, a crossroads for economics, culture and community.
UniCredit held an architectural competition to seek out a design that would best represent the key concepts that motivated the project - creativity, innovation and sustainability. The competition was won by architect Michele De Lucchi and his aMDL studio with a plan that focuses on environmental sustainability. The project will combine natural materials and modern construction techniques to create an innovative, seed-shaped building.
"Seeds fall to the ground, and their roots take hold, anchoring themselves, sprouting up as they grow - and they have an outer casing that covers them and protects their fertile, living hearts. Inside one finds the essence of life and the magic of materials that transform themselves and then regenerate the things that created them," said Mr. De Lucchi.
"This seed today is a building, appropriately made of wood, on the edge of a large city park. The rounded shape of the seed is positioned beside several tall, mirrored-glass towers, and its soft curves stand out against the sharp, perpendicular lines of its neighbors. It is immediately obvious that it's not a block of flats or offices, and it is memorable because of the emotions it evokes, like standing in front of a monument; it is a symbol linking the natural features of the park with the people in the skyscrapers," Mr. De Lucchi added.
The ground floor of the laminated-timber and glass-ribbed structure will be raised more than one meter above ground level to accentuate the building's personality and its sense of lightness and transparency. The space will feature two large panels - 12-meter-long "wings" - that can be opened out towards the park and Piazza Gae Aulenti, revealing large video screens.
The design is intended to support a range of programs and activities, responding to the urgent need for multi-purpose spaces for both public and private use. Its rooms will be divisible and multi-functional, permitting multiple diverse configurations that best use the space.
"This is an important initiative, a new opportunity for collaboration between the public and private sectors that offers additional services to the neighborhood and to the city," said Deputy Mayor and urban planning consultant Ada Lucia De Cesaris.
The plan incorporates substantial space for the display of art, with a flexible exhibition system that includes a suspended walkway. Its design will make it possible to exhibit works in imaginative ways that tell a story and will lend itself to a variety of other activities.
The UniCredit Pavilion will also play a vital social role in the neighborhood, providing a nursery for the children of employees and neighbors. The ecologically sensitive design of the nursery, which will serve 50 children up to three years of age, was developed in collaboration with the educational organization Reggio Children.
For the official opening of the pavilion next year, UniCredit is planning a series of initiatives that will introduce this exciting new space to the city.