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Zaha Hadid Architects

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CityLife Milano Office Tower

  • Milan, Italy
  • 2004 – 2015
  • CityLife Consortium
  • Under Construction
  • 135,000m2
  • height: 170 meter 41 storeys

The high-rise as a building typology has traditionally been treated as a static, fixed strategy; the tower is reduced to a technocratic, engineering ‘solution’ governed by specific economic factors. Architects, in this role, have been left with the spire, exterior shell or, perhaps more significantly, the lobby interior.

For City Life, Zaha Hadid Architects have investigated the urban location of the tower as a portal, or gate into the site along Viale Scarampo and Via Bartolomeo. Derivations of the “passaggio” from the site into this gate give shape to a certain torsion or vortex, and it is this movement, this dynamism that we are investigating.

Moving from the ground datum of the Piazza Porta Fiera, the retail base of the tower slowly rises and twists, in provision of a pedestrian ramp, to a bifurcation along its length servicing a galleria/promenade. This line of torsion continues to the tower that releases its horizontal energy into a vertical, spiraling vector from the base to its crown that finally aligns with the snaking forms of the housing across the river.

Congruent with this movement, the structure of the tower is conceived as a stack of equivalent, economically efficient floor slabs that incrementally twist about a vertical axis. This incremental twisting is algorithmically controlled so that each floor does not have the same angle, but has a fractional, relational angle to the floors above and below, further developing the dynamism of the tower. All lateral forces are absorbed into a conventional central core, while a radial display of columns support vertical load.




Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher

Project Director

Gianluca Racana

Project Architect

Paolo Zilli (Tower), Maurizio Meossi (Residential)

Design Team

Andrea Balducci Castè
H. Goswin Rothenthal
Gianluca Barone
Marco Amoroso
Alvin Triestano
Letizia Simoni
Subharthi Guha
Marina Martinez
Luis Miguel Samanez
Santiago F. Achury
Massimo Napoleoni
Massimiliano Piccinini
Annarita Papeschi
Martha Read
Carlos S. Martinez
Arianna Russo
Giuseppe Morando
Peter McCarthy
Line Rahbek
Mario Mattia
Matteo Pierotti

Site Supervision Team

Cristina Capanna
Veronica Erspamer
Stefano Iacopini
Giulia Scaglietta
Florindo Ricciuti

Competition Team

Simon Kim
Yael Brosilovski
Adriano De Gioannis
Graham Modlen, Karim Muallem
Daniel Li
Yang Jingwen
Tiago Correia
Ana Cajiao
Daniel Baerlecken
Judith Reitz


Adams Kara Taylor, Redesco, Cap Engineering


Max Fordham Partnership, Manens, MilanoProgetti

Lift Strategy

Jappsen Ingenieure


Silvestre Mistretta


Systematica, Sudio Corda, Alpina