Piazza Gino Valle at the Portello is the initial focus of the urban redevelopment plan of the Portello area in Milan. Its general features were configured by Gino Valle in the master plan that accompanied the urban plan approved in 2003. After his death it was developed in a complete architectural project by the firm Valle Architetti Associati between 2003 and 2007. The firm collaborated with Topotek 1 for the landscaping and the design of the paving in the square. The project was entirely constructed between 2007 and 2014. Upon the request of Pietro Valle and Piera Ricci Menichetti, current members of the firm, the Municipality of Milan agreed to name the square after Gino Valle in memory of the first developer of the urban plan of the Portello. The square, with its fan-shaped plan, is the starting point of the urban plan of the Portello and locates the front of the former Milan Fair building in a new urban space surrounded by three buildings with offices and commercial functions. They have a diagonal profile created by the tympanum of the Mario Bellini building which is projected to form three buildings that define a contained space. With their ascending or descending skyline they form a constant variety of visual overlaps with the surrounding buildings. The external façade of the offices aims to emphasize the volume of the buildings but also creates an effect of lightness. The panels on the lower part of the buildings are opaque and gradually become clear as they rise thereby dematerializing the perception of the upper part of the envelope. They thus create three “urban mountains” that mark the profile of the Portello. The two highest buildings (A and B respectively with nine and thirteen floors), with the tip pointing to the outside of the Fair, form the gateway to the square for those arriving from the walkway and Viale Serra. The lowest building (C with seven floors) reduces the impact of the gable of the Fair bringing it back towards the ground. Building B, located along Via Scarampo, is aligned in the plan with the structures of the opposite QT8 and serves to screen the impact of the tympanum for those arriving by car from outside of Milan and exceeds the underpass of Viale Serra. The other two buildings A and C along Via Gattamelata form a split generated by the planimetric 45° diagonal of the cylinder on the side of the tympanum of the fair building. The square rises at a gradient of 5% starting from the fair building and follows a diagonal line at 45 degrees with respect to the front of the tympanum. At the top it reaches a height of +7 metres and continues in the pedestrian walkway that crosses Viale Serra towards the park defining the main axis of the entire plan of the Portello. The structure of the sloping square has two underground levels and one above ground; it contains car parks, services, building entrances, commercial spaces and a restaurant. Therefore it is not a mere walking surface, but a layered base equipped with functions and perforated with open air courtyards. This multifunctional structure creates a flexible matrix serving all the structures above. The design of the paving in the square was generated by overlaying the pattern of a regular grid on the plan of the square covering it entirely. The grid was then deformed as if it were a mesh that compresses at the opening to the walkway on Viale Serra (where there is a compression point in the space, almost a bottleneck) and expands into the square marking its width. In this deformation the straight lines of the grid become large concentric curves that thus manage to form a regular design and, at the same time, give a non-axial direction. All three office buildings have three entrances: from the car parks on two levels at -3.84 and -0.48 metres, on the outer side of the square at a height of -0.48/+0.00 (vehicle and pedestrian) and on the square (pedestrian) at a height of +5.44. They house service functions (mainly archives) at a height of -3.84; archives, commercial spaces and offices at a height of +0.00/-0.48; commercial spaces and offices at the level of the square at a height of +5.44, while all the floors above have offices. They therefore form a coherent ensemble due to the building language, planimetric layout and cladding of the external envelope. The offices have a building block 20.17 metres wide. The gross surface of the standard floor is around 1351 sq m with two centrally positioned staircases. The distance between floors is 5.44 metres for the first two levels (+0.00 and +5.44) and 3.84 for all subsequent levels: this means there is interior light for 2.84 metres with windows 1.92 high which light the free space inside. The standard floor has two large escape staircases of 2.40 metres which join the floors of 5.44 with 4 ramps and those above of 3.84 with 2 ramps. The lifts open between the two central staircase blocks onto a lobby that serves the open space of the offices. There are two sets of toilet facilities, one at each end of the building. The structure of the office buildings has four main longitudinal beams on the first two floors supported by pillars placed every 6.00 metres with central inner lighting for around 6.00 metres that support precast compressed reinforced concrete floor slabs. On these first floors, the columns are recessed from the perimeter to permit porticoes at ground and square level. A division slab 1.00 metre high at a height of +10.88 supports an upper structure that has an unchanged central span and side ones supported by steel pillars placed every 1.50 metres which form a structural diaphragm that supports the façade. In the interior, these pillars are clad with REI 90 plasterboard and are placed flush with the cabinet that covers the fan-coil system and that forms the parapet of the window, separating one from the other with a deep jamb. This allows the mobile walls that separate the closed offices to be placed every 1.50 metres. The standard plan therefore allows for great flexibility in the use of the interior with closed offices of various sizes as well as open space. Externally, the buildings are instead clad with a continuous plane of strip windows and a windowless section of natural coloured aluminium panels. The standard window opens outwardly detaching from the pillars and is fitted with an interior blind. The parapet of the standard floor is positioned at 72 cm from the floor while at 1.10 metres there is a horizontal metal bar. The floor package includes a floor raised by 25 cm and false ceiling with a standard height of 43 cm. The external façade aims to emphasize the volume of the buildings but also to create an effect of lightness. The cladding of the parapets of each inter-storey is made of Reynobond (a variant of Alucobond) with three bands where two metallic colours alternate with different finishes: opaque darker grey and a clearer silver-grey. The panels on the lower part of the buildings are dark grey and gradually become light and silvery as they rise, dematerializing the perception of the upper part of the envelope. The three rows of solid panels between the strip windows become the element that generates the gradual replacement of the dark surface with the light one. The highest part of the crowning element contains two levels of installed systems and is clad with the same silvery-grey aluminium panels but they are 50% micro-perforated to ventilate the UTA machines and cooling units. The back of the crowning element contains a space with double-height meeting rooms that open onto a shared terrace with an inclined window protected by a brise-soleil screen. The entire base of the buildings is dug out to form a portico of single and double height that mediates the impact of the oblique square with the volume of the building and forms a protected pedestrian walkway. Near the entrances there are canopies placed on pairs of pillars and glass revolving doors.
Piazza Gino Valle at the Portello is the initial focus of the urban redevelopment plan of the Portello area in Milan. Its general features were configured by Gino Valle in the master plan that accompanied the urban plan approved in 2003. After his death it was developed in a complete architectural project by the firm Valle Architetti Associati between 2003 and 2007. The firm collaborated with Topotek 1 for the landscaping and the design of the paving in the square. The project was entirely...
- Year 2015
- Work finished in 2015
- Client Iper Montebello / Nuova Portello Srl – Dott. Ennio Brion
- Status Completed works
- Type Public Squares