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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

CityLife Milano in Milan, Italy by Zaha Hadid Architects

November 24th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Zaha Hadid Architects
More projects by Zaha Hadid

Creating a portal to the FieraMilano: a 43-storey, 190 metre retail tower emerging from the site, giving shape to a torsion or vortex, a slow rising and twisting from its base. Horizontal energy is released into a vertical, spiralling vector aligned with the snaking forms of the housing across the river.

Street View

  • Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
  • Project: CityLife Milano
  • Location:Milan, Italy
  • Design: Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher
  • Project Director: Gianluca Racana
  • Project Architect: Paolo Zilli (Tower), Maurizio Meossi (Residential)
  • Tower Design Team: Andrea Balducci Castè, Mario Mattia, Giuseppe Morando, Annarita Papeschi, Matteo Pierotti, Peter McCarthy, Line Rahbek, Arianna Russo, Carlos, Sebastian Martinez



  • Residential Design Team: Vincenzo Barilari, Cristina Capanna,Giacomo Sanna, Arianna Francioni, Fabio Ceci, Giuseppe Vultaggio, Serena Pietrantonj, Mario Mattia, Massimiliano Piccinini, Samuele Sordi, Alessandra Belia
  • 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
  • Structural: Adams Kara Taylor, Redesco, Cap Engineering
  • MSC / M&E: Max Fordham Partnership, Manens, MilanoProgetti
  • Lift: Roger Preston
  • Fire: Silvestre Mistretta
  • Transport: Systematica, Sudio Corda, Alpina


Interior View

The high-rise as a building typology has historically been treated as a static, fixed strategy: a technocratic engineering solution governed by specific economic factors.

For this project, in a radical departure from tradition, we investigated the urban location of the tower as a portal or gate to the FieraMilano. We explored how the passage from the site to this gate could give shape to a torsion or vortex, a sense of dynamic movement, to inspire our design approach.

Exterior View

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


Congruent with this movement, the tower is structured as a stack of equivalent, economically efficient floor slabs that incrementally twist around a vertical axis. Developing the dynamism of the building, this twisting is algorithmically controlled, so that each floor has a different yet fractional, relational angle to the one above and below.


All lateral forces are absorbed into a conventional, central core, while a radial display of columns support vertical load.

The views and panoramas provided along the height of the office tower move dynamically, sweeping from the Piazza Firenze to the Piazza Giovanni Amendola. Viewed from a distance, the building’s exterior silhouette clearly demarcates an entry gate into a new, vital FieraMilano.


The residential area has been designed with meandering lines across the park, with one of the buildings serving to transform it into a series of intimate, semi-public gardens for residents’ use.

Construction View

More projects by Zaha Hadid

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Categories: Building, Residential, Zaha Hadid

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