Another step forward in the redevelopment of Milan’s former Enel area
Paolo Asti | Asti Architetti
The new Ceresio 7/9 complex is a highly representative example of the many projects that are transforming Milan « from the inside », redeveloping the built environment so as to regenerate and repurpose the building stock of a dynamic and attractive city. The project, commissioned from Milan-based practice Asti Architetti by asset management company Kryalos SGR, is located in the rapidly evolving Porta Volta district where the long-awaited new ADI Design Museum opened in May 2021.
In addition to its important cultural function, the museum ushered in a new era for Milan by creating a major new urban hub in one of the city’s historic industrial districts. Not far from Fondazione Feltrinelli designed by the Swiss Pritzker Prize-winning practice Herzog & de Meuron, the project reclaimed part of a former Enel power station that was used as a tram depot in the early twentieth century. Transforming an office building formerly owned by A2A, the Ceresio 7/9 project marks a further step forward in the city’s urban redevelopment process.
The project by the practice founded by Paolo Asti maintained the building’s predominantly tertiary function while completely redesigning the interiors, which were hollowed out to create more open, flexible, contemporary spaces. The volume consists of seven above-ground floors, all of which are used as offices. The open-plan floors can be divided up according to requirements and are served by three vertical connection blocks located close to the entrance and consisting of central lifts flanked by staircases. The top floor is set back and topped by an open terrace looking out onto an urban panorama that stretches as far as Porta Garibaldi and Stefano Boeri’s Vertical Forest.
On the outside, the complete replacement of the old envelope with horizontal strips dramatically transforms the building’s urban identity, while Italian ceramic tiles from Marazzi play a key role in defining one of the most important parts of a retrofitting project.
The main east-facing elevation looking onto the front square consists of a new completely open and transparent full-height façade. The open, regular glass and metal mesh consists of intersecting H-profiles of varying sizes which frame the windows and doors, conceal the floors and internal partitions and bring a sense of depth to the façade. On the ground floor, the entrance is set back to create a double-height portico defined by a lighter and more open grid structure. The decision to enlarge the bolts and leave them visible accentuates the industrial character of the building and pays tribute to the area’s past.
Two closed, blind lateral elevations connect the main façade to the rear service area. The project made extensive use of large-format ceramic slabs (160×320 cm, Grande Stone Look collection) to give a sense of uniformity and aesthetic quality to the continuous ventilated façade and to reduce installation time on a site with limited access. The Ceppo di Gré Grey finish provides a sense of context by reproducing the characteristic blue-grey natural stone quarried on Lake Iseo. Porcelain stoneware is also used in the interior for the floor and wall coverings in the bathrooms (Progress Collection, colour Beige) and in the technical rooms (SistemC Collection, colour White).
Grande Stone Look Ceppo di Grè, Progress, SistemC
160x320, 20x20 cm