Reinventing cities. Piazzale Loreto, the new green agora symbol of the 2026 Olympic Milan

Reinventing cities. Piazzale Loreto, the new green agora symbol of the 2026 Olympic Milan

In the LOC project, increase in pedestrian areas, trees, crossings, and the pedestrianization of the first section of via Padova. In via Porpora a kindergarten and spaces for coworking

Transforming the most chaotic traffic hub of the city into a large green agora, the link between Corso Buenos Aires and Via Padova. Transforming Piazzale Loreto into a new symbol of Olympic Milan in 2026. It is the revolution of LOC, Loreto open community, the winning project of the second edition of Reinventing cities, the international call launched by the Municipality together with C40 which provides for the alienation or establishment of the surface rights of sites to be allocated to urban regeneration projects in a sustainable key.

The master plan was presented by a multidisciplinary team led by Ceetrus Nhood and realized thanks to the plural contribution of Arcadis Italia, Metrogramma Milano (coordinator of the Design Team), Mobility in the chain, Studio Andrea Caputo, LAND, Temporiuso and Squadrati.

LOC aims to transform Piazzale Loreto from a non-place to an open, inclusive, and sustainable space connected with the neighborhoods that overlook all its sides. Starting from a strategic revision of the viability, which will, in any case, guarantee a capacity similar to that of the existing node, the masterplan will return to the city 24,000 m 2 of public pedestrian space, of which over 12,000 in the square (69% of the area), compared to 2,484 m 2 usable today, and the remainder distributed between via Padova and via Porpora.

"In Milan - explains Mayor Giuseppe Sala - we are experiencing an epochal urban transformation. Many projects once only on paper are taking shape giving the city a new physiognomy born from the innovative and green vision of the best international architecture studios. Piazzale Loreto without losing its identity as a road junction will become a place for socializing and meeting where, on several levels, citizens will find a large pedestrian area with trees, seats, and fountains. So we are changing the face of Milan, regenerating abandoned areas where the past must give way to the future or intervening on what exists by creating beauty and functionality, and greenery. This is our way of reinventing the city."

"Loreto is one of the most important squares in Milan and represents the biggest challenge for the transformation of a Milanese square since the pedestrianization of Piazza Duomo - declares the city planning councilor Pierfrancesco Maran - In recent years, many squares have changed. Two new large pedestrian walkways were born, such as Gae Aulenti and Tre Torri. The project for Loreto has the same power, with the difference that it regenerates an existing place with the aim of making via Padova, Viale Monza and via Costa new streets in the center of Milan, guaranteeing commercial and pedestrian growth in Corso Buenos Aires."

"An integrated mobility, with a new balance between pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, and cars, for better road safety for all, and the confirmation of an important access node to public transport on the metropolitan and surface network - declares the councilor for Mobility Marco Granelli - A change that has already begun today and that will help us overcome traffic congestion and air pollution."

"The Reinventing Cities competition - says Hélène Chartier, Head of Zero carbon development for C40 - has inspired the creative collaboration we need to fight the climate crisis, with the skills and creativity of architects, artists, environmentalists, and entrepreneurs. Reinventing Cities is more than an innovative competition: it is helping to bring about a green and fair recovery from the pandemic to create the future we want. Despite the challenging year, the number of participants and the quality of the proposals presented for the second edition of the competition in Milan they are exceptional and the transformation of Piazzale Loreto is a flagship project. It demonstrates how cities can create new places for people when spaces are reclaimed from those occupied by vehicles and when priority is given to people-centered mobility."

"From the hugely popular public space regeneration program of open Piazze to the open roads projects that helped this city emerge from the pandemic, Mayor Sala had already transformed Milan into a world leader in 21st-century street design" - said Janette Sadik-Khan, Chairman of the Jury Commission and principal of Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consulting firm that works with cities and mayors around the world. But there is no place in the world like Loreto. With this revolutionary redesign of one of the most iconic places in Italy, this Administration consolidates its ability to create places by marking the roadmap for a safer, more equitable and more sustainable city and giving back to the Milanese the square they deserve."

"This victory represents a great satisfaction and a great responsibility that we are proud to be able to take on: to be protagonists of one of the most important urban redevelopment projects in the city of Milan and in Italy. - declares Marco Balducci, CEO of Ceetrus Nhood -  We want to help create a city of the future on a human scale, more resilient, ecological, which response to the real needs of citizens, which promotes new forms of mobility and advanced trade. I stress the importance of the social and economic development of the areas. and of the activities present in the context: the social return on investment (SROI) will have index 4: with an investment of over 60 million, we will create value for the community of approximately 250 million. The new square will be an exemplary work of co-construction between public and private and will be ready to welcome the Milan-Cortina Olympics."

The new configuration of the square: 69% of public and pedestrian spaces

The LOC masterplan envisages the construction of a large green agora where the steps, cycle and pedestrian paths, water elements and new buildings outline a new reference point for the Milanese urban landscape. The area will be reconfigured as an open architectural organism intended for community life, with a lowered and underground floor that will be the real amphitheater square, flexible and adaptable to various temporary public uses such as concerts, events, markets, sports activities, and gatherings. The development of the public space on three levels is expected, for a total of 69% of the surface: in addition to the aforementioned square, they will develop on the open-air areas obtained with the opening of the underground mezzanine and on the green terraces of the roofs of three new buildings intended for commercial, leisure and office activities. In addition to water games, there will be electric charging columns, racks, and bike-sharing stations.

Traffic will be placed at the edge of the square to facilitate cycling and pedestrian movements within the area and penetration between the various road axes. Piazzale Loreto is characterized by a geometric configuration of a traffic node where eight main arteries of the Milan road network converge: corso Buenos Aires, via Padova, viale Monza, viale Brianza and viale Abruzzi, via Andrea Costa, via Antonio Porpora and via Andrea Doria. Connectivity will be maintained along all the main axes, but the traffic flows will be reshaped following the new geometries of the square, with the construction of level crossings in all directions, the redefinition of the traffic lights, and the pedestrianization of the first section of Via Padova.

The street level will be connected to the internal area of ​​the square through vertical lift systems such as stairs, ramps, and lifts. In correspondence with Corso Buenos Aires, the existing access to the subway will be maintained, while the pedestrian flows along the other lines will be conveyed within the wide access foreseen in the project of the square. The complexity of the circulation and the new configuration envisaged for the node require particular attention to be paid to the definition of the construction sites, which will be built in stages.

Green and sustainable strategies

About 300 trees will be planted both in the heart of the square and along via Padova and Viale Monza, another 200 will be planted in the city as part of ForestaMi. The roofs of the buildings will be configured as raised gardens open to the public and managed in synergy with the underlying commercial activities. This will lead to the reduction of heat islands in particular in the summer peaks and the creation of a micro-climate with a temperature of 6-7 ° lower than the perceived temperature, contributing to the overall reduction of CO 2.in the area, compared to the current state, by 35%. The architectures that are placed on the sides of the square are made with hybrid structures in wood and eco-friendly materials, characterized by green terraces and new generation photovoltaic panels, aiming at the realization of a carbon-neutral project, thanks to the particular lowered conformation of the buildings, the energy characteristics of the building envelopes and the high performance of the systems used.

The building in via Porpora

The building via Porpora, now the seat of the Municipality of Milan, will be subject to redevelopment and expansion for the tower body, keeping the lower body unchanged from the volumetric point of view. The building, which will feature a roof garden, will host a neighborhood kindergarten, spaces for coworking and offices. Traffic containment policies will also be implemented during peak hours related to asylum, securing the spaces in front of the access via Canzio, weakening the use of the space currently accessible for vehicles.

In fact, therefore, in Piazzale Loreto, the subway station, the mezzanine floor, and the pedestrian areas on the surface will create together a new large multilevel square that not only represents a new point of attraction towards those who travel along Corso Buenos Aires from the center but also allows for growth in users. and vitality also for the commercial axes of Viale Monza, via Padova and via Costa. In particular, via Padova, which will be pedestrianized in its initial part on the model of via Paolo Sarpi, will complete its planning, starting with zone 30 which already transforms the following parts.

From via Padova to San Babila, the new north-east road

The redevelopment of Piazzale Loreto will be part of the broader urban regeneration plan of the northeast axis of the city, from via Padova to Piazza San Babila. The pedestrianization of the first section of via Padova planned in LOC integrates with the large project of the Administration that will affect two kilometers of the road between via Arici and via Giacosa, with the realization of a series of interventions that will improve the quality of the public space and road safety: the expansion of sidewalks, the construction of 8 new squares, the laying of 230 trees, in addition to the 300 planned in the LOC, the redevelopment of intersections and pedestrian crossings and the establishment of zone 30, the Tunnel project Boulevard for the redevelopment of the railway bridge selected as part of open squares.

The winning project of the first edition of Reinventing cities will be built in via Doria: with "Coinventing Doria" a hostel will be created open to national and international accommodation with large spaces of interest for public use and a small urban lung with 90 trees, in continuity with the reconfiguration of Piazzale Loreto and Corso Buenos Aires. In fact, greenery will also arrive along the commercial artery: the first experimentation will be seen in correspondence with the Corti di Baires, a commercial and residential complex undergoing renovation, between via Scarlatti and via Pergolesi, where about 30 potted trees will also be placed. seating function. San Babila will change its face with the superficial arrangement of the square at the conclusion of the construction of the M4 stop.

Finally, in Piazzale Loreto, the renovation of the Palazzo di Fuoco is being completed, designed in the late 1950s by architects Minoletti and Chiodi, ready to revive itself with shops and offices.

 

Reinventing cities. Piazzale Loreto, the new green agora symbol of the 2026 Olympic Milan

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