Cover Picture © Credits to Wikimedia/Ulf Liljankoski
Cover Picture © Credits to Wikimedia/Ulf Liljankoski
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Milan's skyline: Pirelli Tower

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Skyscrapers are probably the most significant element to create the skyline of the city. There are two ways on how an architectural object fits in this context: either it adapts to the environment, or it stands out completely. In the case of skyscrapers, their height itself is standing out while creating incredible vertical points in the city. A skyscraper can be elegant, such as the Generali tower by Zaha Hadid, innovative like the Bosco Verticale, or smart and adapted like the Torre Velasca. For architects, each skyscraper is considered as a sculpture, which might be the highest level of their expression in architecture. So here is the story behind the Pirelli Tower in Milan.

Picture © Credits to Wikimedia/0000ff
Picture © Credits to Wikimedia/0000ff

Like sailors for their boats, the creator of this piece, Gio Ponti, referred to the building as ‘’she’’ instead of ‘’it’’. As such, I will continue talking about the building using the feminine pronoun, as the precious diva she is. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me present you The Pirelli Tower in Milan, the most interesting object of the ones that touch the sky.

Pirelli Tower, Milan
Pirelli Tower, Milan
Via Fabio Filzi, 22, 20124 Milano MI, Italy

During the creation of this building, two big names have met: Pier Luigi Nervi and Gio Ponti. This winning combination, "good as chicken and curry", was expected to give to humanity one of the most beautiful skyscrapers out there. The duo was functioning like this- Ponti wanted an elegant vertical building, slim and thin, which would aim to use as little as possible of the building area (he wanted to have more space for traffic, parks, and city ventilation).  Nervi had a solution for all of that. Nervi is one of the biggest inventors of the past century, when it comes to reinforced constructions. Perfect design meets perfect engineering, an architectural dream. "Il Pirellone” (The Big Pirelli), with its 127-meter height, stood as Italy’s tallest building from 1958 to 1995. “She is so beautiful that I’d love to marry her.” -These were the actual words that Ponti said after seeing his building.

Picture © Credits to Wikimedia/LapoLuchini
Picture © Credits to Wikimedia/LapoLuchini

In 2002, a small plane crashed into the building, hitting into its 24th and 25th floors. It is a bit unfortunate that such a building is remembered because of an accident, however, that was for sure  a big reason for its detailed renovation. Since 2005, The Pirelli Tower glows in its full shine and majesty.

The strength of this object is its simplicity- when you see the plan and the sections of the building, the eye is perceiving it as a simple design...and that is the majestic part of it. The design of Pirelli Tower contributed as a strong influence and inspiration for several skyscrapers in the following years.


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The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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