Changing the face of a 20C block

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In Milan, a 1930s building is converted into offices. Asti Architetti redesigned all the building’s external walls using partially ventilated continuous wall systems, where the large stoneware slabs of the Grande Stone Look collection enhance the prestige of the entire project.

With the city’s blend of historic palazzos and more and more astonishing modern architecture, the face of Milan is constantly changing. In the Porta Volta district, near the Cimitero Monumentale (the city’s main cemetery) and Stazione Porta Garibaldi, the new office building at via Ceresio 7/9 is at the centre of the major redevelopment project covering the area of the former Enel power station. The architectural design is by Asti Architetti, which works in segments ranging from residential to commercial with a focus on buildings viewed as organic wholes, and on redevelopment. Founded in Milan in 2004 and headed by Paolo Asti, the firm immediately decided to redesign all the external walls of this building, constructed in 1930 and now comprising 5 storeys and one basement floor, with a total floor area of over 8,000 m2.

The original outline was conserved and over 60% of the existing structure maintained, while the internal layout was modified to create open-space office accommodation. “While constantly aiming to create an independent, individual architectural product, we attempted to consider the building’s architectural characteristics in its context of frenetic urban regeneration, bearing in mind that the structures of the existing surrounding buildings have been retained, and are all in typical Milanese industrial style,” Paolo Asti told us. The original external wall finishes were replaced with ground-to-roof continuous walls, partially ventilated (on the short sides), constructed with high-performance frames which guarantee outstanding thermal and noise insulation properties.

In view of the specific situation on the construction site – the side of the building concerned bordered on a still-functioning plant belonging to Milan electricity supplier Unareti – Asti Architetti decided to use Grande Stone Look collection large-size (160×320 cm) stoneware slabs in Ceppo di Gré Grey finish, for more agile, faster installation. In fact, access to the worksite was limited and turnaround times had to be short. “Using large-size slabs on the blind wall to the south enabled us to complete the facade as quickly as possible, and this was a key factor in our decision to design a ventilated wall using large slabs,” the architect explained. Amongst the indoor finishes, the washroom floors and walls were covered with the Progress porcelain stoneware collection, Natural finish, in Beige colour. The floors and skirtings of the plant rooms, on the other hand, were finished with SistemC Collection glossy finish square ceramic tiles, in Bianco colour.


Ph. Saverio Lombardi Vallauri