From Beijing to Valencia, Chicago to Melbourne, contemporary architecture has altered urban landscapes impressively in the last century, regenerating areas of urban decay thanks to bold redevelopment projects that have breathed new life into entire cities.
Italy is celebrated the world over as one of the undisputed hotbeds of design and architecture and in Milan’s historic Garibaldi district, a long-abandoned area in the middle of the city, a new re-development project has been under way since 2007 and is due to be completed by 2014 ahead of the 2015 World Expo which will be held in this Italian city.
The vast project which covers an area of 340,000 square metres will connect the uber-cool Corso Como neighbourhood to the artistic and shopping heart of Milan, Brera, passing through the Golden Quadrilateral and the majestic Duomo, Milan’s historic cathedral. It is already being touted as the 'new Via Montenapoleone,' the city’s best-known shopping street and home to the finest boutiques of luxury goods.
Towards the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, the Garibaldi area was central to the transportation system in the Lombardy region and a bustling part of the city, but when new train stations were built in the 1960s the area slowly declined, and was forgotten for almost 40 years. The extraordinary new project is ambitious as it is stunning thanks to a group of leading Italian and international architects who between them have put their progressive stamp on urban landscapes worldwide. They have also built the tallest building in Milan, the ‘Torre Varesine,' which reaches the impressive height of 230 metres and required builders to take mountaineering courses to be able to work on the site.
Of the many impressive projects under way, Stefano Boeri’s Vertical Forest is of particular note: a residential complex of two skyscrapers that will be home to an astounding 900 trees which will be planted on all the terraces of the buildings thus creating a virtual forest that regenerates the environment and creates urban biodiversity, precious assets to any urban area. The Argentine architect Cesar Pelli also designed a stunning piazza embellished with modern fountains and mirrors of water, a fitting tribute and celebration of the late visionary Italian architect and designer, Gae Aulenti.
There are countless reasons to visit Milan, and this new enterprise will undoubtedly become yet another reason to discover and re-discover this bustling and happening Italian capital for both Milanese and visitors alike.