Milan’s skyline to add another “mutant building” covered in plants

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This picture shows what development in Milan, Italy could look like once it is completed.

The Italian city of Milan is home to some of the most interesting buildings in the world, from the cavernous medieval cathedral to the elegant beauty of Scala.

While the above structures date back hundreds of years – the Scala was inaugurated in 1778 and work on the Duomo began in the late 14th century – Milan also boasts a wide range of modern architecture.

These include towering skyscrapers for large companies such as UniCredit and Allianz, as well as the legendary San Siro football stadium.

If all goes according to plan, the city will soon add another notable development to its skyline. At the end of January it was announced that Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Stefano Boeri Architetti had won an architectural competition to renovate the Pirelli 39 tower and its surroundings.

Your proposal includes modernizing the existing structure and building a completely new residential tower. The design for the latter includes 1,700 square meters of vegetation which, when the images of the design are fully implemented, will be spread across the facade from head to toe.

According to a statement from investment and asset management company COIMA SGR, the building’s “flora and fauna” will change color with the seasons, absorbing 14 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year while generating 9 tons of oxygen.

The tower will also incorporate 2,770 square feet of solar panels, which will supposedly meet 65% of its energy needs. To reduce CO2 emissions during the construction of the building, 1,800 cubic meters of wood are used on the floors.

The above plans are very similar to another project in town, also designed by Stefano Boeri. The Bosco Verticale or Vertical Forest is a development of two towers 80 and 112 meters high.

According to Boeri’s architectural practice, the building’s “green curtain” can generate oxygen, regulate humidity, and absorb carbon dioxide and microparticles.

In a previous interview with CNBC, Boeri described the Bosco Verticale as a “mutated building,” a term that gives a glimpse of how urban environments might incorporate artificial design and nature in the years to come.

From London to Paris and Madrid to New York, the idea of ​​covering buildings with flowers, plants and associated greenery is growing in importance as local authorities seek to improve air quality and create environments that promote nature.

The importance of electrification and new ways of thinking

The exterior of buildings may change, but if the world we live in is to become more sustainable, the interiors of buildings must also undergo a systemic shift centered on decarbonization.

At a panel discussion hosted by CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick last month, that point was brought home by Jan du Plessis, chairman of telecommunications giant BT.

“The only problem that we haven’t resolved yet and that nobody wants to talk about is the problem of domestic heating,” he said.

“I’ll be pretty open,” he added. “We have to get rid of gas boilers, we have to get rid of those fossil fuel, gas and oil boilers in the houses.”

Du Plessis admitted he didn’t have the answer to achieve such a goal, stating that the solution would be linked to electrification.

This would present its own challenges, especially if renewables were to become the mainstays of electricity generation in the future.

“As the electricity industry changes and the supply changes towards renewables, on the other side of the equation we need to get smarter and more flexible in terms of electricity usage,” he said.