Porta Volta project, works nearing completion

The project by the prestigious Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron is finally about to become a reality. After the news of the official launch dated 12 March 2010, the space of Viale Pasubio around Porta Volta will soon return to shine with a new light after the bombing of ’43, during the Second World War, which seriously damaged this part of the city .

A wound still open in the heart of Milan, which is finally about to be healed. And as is the custom in these parts, the rehabilitation took place in a big way. The project, which focuses on the complete redevelopment of the area, was in fact still incomplete. What was missing was the “twin” of the building that houses the Feltrinelli and Microsoft foundation, on the other side of via Volta, along viale Montello.

A lack that also saw the support of the Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities Dario Franceschini, who in December 2019 allocated the funds needed to complete the original project, necessary for the construction of the 2500 square meter building just completed, the second pyramid that it overlooks piazzale Baiamonte.

The work has finally been completed: the building will house the National Resistance Museum, a choice that seems to be decidedly on a theme with the rehabilitation of the area from the bombings of the War. The two new buildings will therefore form a tip, which will enclose the green area inaugurated at the end of 2020, thanks to the intervention carried out by Coima sgr.

But the symbolism does not stop: via Alessandro Volta was in fact the “responsible” for the expansion of Milan beyond the old city walls in the 19th century, acting as a road axis between the city center and the monumental cemetery. Historical courses and appeals, therefore, revised in the light of modern architecture by the Swiss studio Herzog & de Meuron, which with its proposal won the hearts of the city council and the Milanese.

Not only for its futuristic nature, but also for its ability to preserve traditions: the project in fact fully preserves the archaeological remains of the walls and customs toll booths of Porta Volta. At the same time, the twin buildings are in some way a reference to the classical architecture of Milan, given that in Piazza Duomo, Piedmont and Duca d’Aosta there are already stylistic choices of this type.

The building of the Feltrinelli and Microsoft Foundation

On 13 December 2016, the construction work on the building of the Feltrinelli and Microsoft Foundation finally ended, lasting a total of 11 years, of which even 7 were spent on the design. The stylistic choice of Herzog & de Meuron was to draw inspiration from the ancient Lombard farmhouses, which according to the well-known architects are “repetitive and fascinating”. A unique combination of tradition and modernity, which brings a breath of fresh air and at the same time normality to the city.

About a third of the building houses the Feltrinelli Foundation, with a large library and a bar open to all on the ground floor, a multipurpose room on the first floor, offices on the second and third, and a reading room on the fourth. In addition, two “secret” floors underground, which keep the archives. The Swiss architecture firm also composed the interiors of the building, with beautiful glass walls to divide the spaces and wooden floors.

For the other two-thirds of the building, however, the host is Microsoft: the American company, a multinational software and digital company, moved here in 2017 from the old Peschiera Borromeo campus, choosing an avant-garde space capable of to host up to 600 people, in full smart working style, with an open and transparent headquarters, made to facilitate collaborations and interactions. Also in this case, the ground floor is dedicated to the public, with the creation of a showroom area created to give people the opportunity to try Microsoft products, alongside a series of digital activities, refresher courses and workshops.

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