Pirelli skyscraper

Via Fabio Filzi 25-27. (Open Map)


Tall, slender, aspiring, it seems to climb to the sky: 127 meters of glass, steel and reinforced concrete. This is the Pirelli skyscraper, a building which pulls the viewer’s gaze upwards. The “Pirellone,” as it is commonly called by the people of Milan, is probably Milan’s most prestigious example of post-war architecture. “Architecture is a crystal … closed forms in which all is consumed in the rigor of volumes and of a thought”. These words, by its designer Gio Ponti, encapsulate the essence of this extraordinary building better than any others.
The installation was carried out by Studio Valtolina-Rusconi-Clerici, while the architecture of the interior was entrusted to Roberto Menghi.
Since 1978, the head offices of the Region of Lombardy have been based in the Pirelli Skyscraper.
According to local custom, no building in Milan may rise higher than the Madonnina statue on top of the Duomo (approximately 109 meters). To honor this tradition, a smaller gold statue of the Madonnina, a miniature copy of its sister (85 cm against the 4.16 meters of the original statue), was installed on the roof.
Since 2007, the skyscraper has hosted the “Vertical Sprint”, a special climbing contest: 31 floors and 710 steps in record time. The winners reach the top in under 4 minutes.
The particular technique used for the foundation has the skyscraper resting on an enormous cement cube base. The cube draws on deep layers of the subsoil of Milan that are rich in water and allows the building the potential oscillation of 14cm at its vertex on both its sides (Duca D’Aosta and Fabio Filzi). This means that the skyscraper could withstand a shockwave equivalent to winds of 400 kilometers an hour.
The design of the skyscraper was an inspiration for the construction of the historic Pan Am Building (now MetLife Building) in New York.
The 31st floor, known as the “Belvedere” (open to the public on designated days of the year and special occasions). The 26th floor, known as the “Piano della memoria”: the central portion has been left empty in memory of the two people who died when a tourist plane crashed into the building on April 18th, 2002.