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First look at Herzog & de Meuron’s Feltrinelli Porta Volta

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Herzog & de Meuron’s Feltrinelli Porta Volta in Milan is set to open next month


Sitting in Milan’s historic Porta Volta district – named after a gate in the 16th century walls which once surrounded the city – the 14,249m2 building houses a research centre and offices.

The scheme features two buildings; the new headquarters for Microsoft Italy and a 2,500m2 block which is separated from the offices by a narrow gap and is home to the Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation – an organisation which researches contemporary society. 

A bookshop, cafes and restaurants are located at ground level of the foundation building while a reading room allowing members of the public and researchers to access documents from the foundation’s archives sits at the top of the building.

Microsoft Italy’s office building includes digital classrooms, a technology centre, and workshops for developers, startups and IT professionals. 

According to the Stirling Prize-shortlisted practice the new buildings were inspired by the ‘simplicity and generous scale of historic Milanese architecture such as Ospedale Maggiore, Rotonda della Besana, Lazaretto and Castello Forzesco’ and also the long, linear traditional buildings of rural Lombardy which are referenced in the work of Aldo Rossi. 

Practice founders Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, commented: ‘The redefinition of Porta Volta holds an important strategic potential for creating a positive impact on the entire surrounding area. In that sense, this undertaking by a private client - the Feltrinelli Group - has an important urban dimension, strengthening and reinforcing the City of Milan. 

‘The intervention in Porta Volta will intrinsically be a Milanese Project. With their scale, structure and repetition and being conceived as twin buildings, the new edifices are taking up themes of Milanese urbanism and architecture, which through the course of history have led to a series of emblematic buildings for which the City of Milan is widely renowned and admired.’

Herzog & de Meuron’s Feltrinelli Porta Volta

Herzog & de Meuron’s Feltrinelli Porta Volta

Source: Filippo Romano

Project data

Location Milan, Italy
Type of project cultural 
Client Fondo Feltrinelli Porta Volta
Architect Herzog & de Meuron
Executive architect SD Partners
Asset management COIMA SGR
Development management COIMA SRL
Mechanical engineer Polistudio
Structural engineer Zaring
Main contractor CMB
Façade contractor AZA
Prefabricated concrete contractor Orobica
Sunshade contractor Resstende
Concept design February 2008 – September 2008
Schematic design October 2008 – July 2009
Design development August 2009 – June 2011
Construction June 2011 – December 2016
Site area 15,797m2
Gross internal floor area 14,249m2


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