Designed by the practice 5+1 AA Alfonso Femìa Gianluca Peluffo, with the collaboration of Jean-Baptise Pietri Architectes, the new directional building of FieraMilano met the competition brief’s demands for an innovative, contemporary architectural statement worthy of the Milan Fair’s international image but at the same time able to ensure environmental sustainability. The timeframes involved were very tight. The competition was issued at the end of 2007; adjudication, executive project and actual building were all completed by the summer of 2010. This was largely due to good worksite management and the use of highly advanced “dry”-build technologies involving, for example, steel structural frames and façades erected by firm Stahlbau Pichler. The new administrative hub is a fitting addition to Milan’s tradeshow district by Massimiliano Fuksas. The new building is a slender parallelepiped. Set to point directly towards the tradeshow’s east entrance, this 13 storey, blade-like structure is 48 m high, 132 m long and 16 m deep. Its graceful horizontal development is enhanced by the different elevations that contribute to the building’s overall elegance. The façades alternate matt and transparent surfaces with the effect of highlighting the different materials and triggering a range of different perceptions depending on the light and time of day. The east elevation is divided into two distinct areas: a double skin glazed facade with vertical glass panes that incorporates the golden-finish glass sun-shading systems, juxtaposed to a single-envelope façade clad in horizontally laid golden coloured slabs. The west front is largely made up of a windowless ventilated façade behind which run the staircase, lift shafts and service spaces. The bronze-gold cladding panels are full-thickness dyed. These are intermittently broken by an asymmetrical array of gold-tinted glazing. The short sides of the building are an effective mix of the two different façade types. A mid-height horizontal band slices across the building, giving the East and West elevations more optically complex surfaces. The red masonry and columns in this open space contrast with the golden hues of the facades, affording a richer colour scheme and giving a sense of greater volume. Although a single functional block standing on a raised base, the building is split into two distinct parts. A central, full-height foyer forms a seam between the two components. This central hinge houses the entrance and imposing staircase. It also contributes to the structural stability of the building, counteracting horizontal wind forces and contributing along with the steel pillar-and-beam frame and concrete floor slabs to make the whole building anti-seismic. At the top of the building are a roof garden and helipad, this latter partly jutting out from the roof.
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