the collaborative team of diller scofidio + renfro (DS+R) and stefano boeri architetti (SBA) has been chosen to regenerate a site at the center of milan’s porta nuova gioia district. the mixed-use project — referred to as ‘pirelli 39’ — involves the renovation of the site’s existing ‘pirellino’ office tower, and the construction of a new residential high-rise that will include 1,700 square meters of integrated vegetation. finally, a bridge connecting the two structures will serve as a hub for events, shows, and exhibitions. this bridge will also house a biodiverse greenhouse that will offer immersive, educational experiences as a dedicated laboratory.

pirelli 39 milan
rendering by aether images | all images courtesy of COIMA / DS+R / SBA



the design by DS+R and SBA is the winning proposal of an international competition that was launched by investment and development firm COIMA in 2019. 70 groups comprising a total of 359 firms from 15 countries took part in the contest, with the winning scheme praised by the jury for its focus on environmental impact, continuity with the urban transformation of the area, and the relationship between nature and the city.

pirelli 39 milan
rendering by aether images



as part of the plans, the site’s existing tower will be renovated and adapted to meet the current standards of office spaces in terms of innovation and sustainability, with the character of the original building maintained. meanwhile, the bridge spanning via melchiorre gioia will function as a hub for events, shows and exhibitions, with meeting and wellness areas also included. here, a biodiverse greenhouse will serve as an extension of the biblioteca degli alberi — milan’s ‘library of trees’.


finally, a new residential tower will be constructed with 1,700 square meters of vegetation distributed throughout the design. it is expected that the tower will absorb 14 tons of CO2 and produce 9 tons of oxygen per year — comparable to a 10,000 square meter forest. thanks to 2,770 square meters of photovoltaic panels, the tower will be able to produce 65% of its energy needs, while the use of structural wood will decrease its carbon footprint.

diller scofidio + renfro and stefano boeri architetti to regenerate 'pirelli 39' site in milan
rendering by aether images



‘our studio is thrilled to have this opportunity to make a meaningful architectural contribution to the city of milan, our first project in italy,’ says elizabeth diller, partner at diller scofidio + renfro. ‘as much of our work focuses on the future of cities, the pirelli 39 project presents a great opportunity to develop a new model of mixed-use development and sustainable urban growth. the project combines the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings with environmentally responsible new construction, and a vibrant ‘living’ cultural destination devoted to the art and science of plants.’


‘this project will reinvigorate the iconic former pirellino building, creating a new tower that mixes architecture and nature to create a green space that is open to the whole city,’ adds stefano boeri, founder of stefano boeri architetti. ‘in such a difficult period, this project relaunches the vision of a forward-looking milan and bravely faces the great challenges of the climate crisis.’



project info:


name: pirelli 39
location: milan, italy
design: diller scofidio + renfro (DS+R) and stefano boeri architetti (SBA)

developer: COIMA
more info: DS+R’s website