Allianz Real Estate has launched the redevelopment of Corso Italia 23, the architectural complex designed in 1958 by Gio Ponti, Piero Portaluppi and Antonio Fornaroli. Set for completion in 2022, the goal is to build a campus in the city, a ‘best place to work’ and an asset which is ‘Smart-ready’ – where future occupants will be able to choose which technologies they want to integrate according to their operating requirements. The project is designed by New York-based architects Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM).
Corso Italia 23 was born after the second world war as the headquarter of the historical insurance company RAS (Riunione Adriatica di Sicurtà) which, in 2006, combined with Allianz AG to form a new holding company, the Allianz SE group. In 2007 the new Italian holding company, Allianz S.p.A., was formed, incorporating additional companies of the Group - Allianz Subalpina and Lloyd Adriatico. In 2018 the Milanese headquarters of Allianz S.p.A. moved into the new Allianz Tower in CityLife. The move to CityLife consolidated all of Allianz’s offices in one representative place after years of steady growth. This redevelopment of the historic Milanese headquarters, which is being managed by Allianz Real Estate, confirms the commitment of the property’s owner – Allianz Italy - – to the city of Milan and the community of Santa Sofia.
“We are long-term investors and Allianz has owned the Corso Italia 23 building since Gio Ponti designed it,” said Alexander Gebauer, Allianz Real Estate’s CEO for Western Europe. “Innovation is very much at the heart of what we do, and the trends we are seeing – especially with technology but also the environmental challenges and the lifestyle demands of the people who live and work in our properties – are really challenging the fundamentals of real estate. Corso Italia 23 is a perfect example of how we rise to these challenges. After six decades of being a happy owner, user and neighbour in the community, Allianz is revisiting this building to once again create a state-of-the-art, leading edge place to work.”
Piero Pelizzaro, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Milan stressed “Milan would not be the same without big and small companies that operate on the ground. Today many large firms understand that they play not only a productive role, but also a social one. Some big transformations that we have been witnessing in the past few years - Corso Italia 23 is one of them - happen because big companies are choosing to invest in real estate assets and the areas that surround them”.
Considering its central location and remarkable dimensions, Corso Italia 23 represents a unique development opportunity in Milan while also standing out for its design. It will feature new standards of technology and sustainability, overcoming existing architectural barriers and optimizing energy saving through solar panels and new materials for the facades, leading to a considerable reduction in heat loss. The different amenities and common areas, above all the inner courtyard, introduce new spaces for socializing around the workplace. This process of regeneration and definition of identity is redressing the work-life balance through the creation of ‘interconnected‘ areas, with horizontal and vertical paths engaging all available space.
“The regeneration of Corso Italia 23 embodies the fundamental principles of Allianz Real Estate: innovation, sustainability, attention to the people that will live the campus, and respect for the context and the communities surrounding our assets. It is part of a process of the repositioning of our portfolio which has seen Allianz Real Estate’s involvement in the regeneration of important buildings in Milan, Rome and Trieste. Our investment and asset management strategy targets opportunities that allow us to create value for our investors in the long term through the quality” said Donato Saponara, Head of Transactions West Europe & Country Head of Italy, Allianz Real Estate.
Yasemin Kologlu, Design Director SOM states “At SOM, we share the belief that sustainability is not only about resource efficiency and operational costs, but also encompasses proactive design solutions that support users’ health and wellbeing. Our involvement in the redesign of Corso Italia 23, the historic headquarters of Allianz in Milan, represent an outstanding opportunity to create a new office destination whilst influencing the regeneration of the Santa Sofia district. It also strengthens the evolution of Milan – one of Europe’s most dynamic metropolises and a catalyst for global trends”.
The event also marks the opening of the pop-up exhibition ‘Lavori in Corso‘, a free of charge exhibition within the construction site that will be open to the public from 3-6 October 2019. The story it tells is emblematic of Milan – a building born as a symbol of Italian modernity in the post-war boom is restored to become once again an example of innovation and as a part of the wider process of change the city is experiencing.
The exhibition is organized around five main themes which explore the idea of a place whose future is being reimagined. Each chapter will be explored through different content and media, with photos, videos, texts, illustrations, objects and floor plans that speak of the history of Corso Italia 23 and its neighbourhood.
Section 1: THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
A lively and constantly evolving neighbourhood celebrated through the people, activities and places.
Section 2: THE CITY
A cosmopolitan city on the rise. A leader in various fields, from design to fashion, from business to architecture – represented through the main activities that foster community integration while making it innovative and attractive.
Section 3: THE BUILDING
The past, present and future of Corso Italia 23, with a focus on how this redevelopment project remains loyal to Ponti's original concept of creating a workspace for the future.
Section 4: THE AUTHORS
From Gio Ponti to SOM, an influential collective of architects, designers, engineers and planners, responsible for some of the world’s most technically and environmentally advanced buildings, and significant public spaces.
Section 5: VIDEO
A series of video interviews that tells the project from different points of view.
Thursday 3 – Saturday 6 October Sunday 6 October
Information about Corso Italia 23
Inspired by Ponti’s original idea of lightness, the redeveloped asset facing Corso Italia will feature a custom-made facade inspired by Ponti’s original idea of lightness. Alongside this, the original mega-frame that gives character to the facade on via Santa Sofia will be preserved. As Ponti himself described in a long article published in Domus in 1962, the entire project was the result of a long negotiation between the Milanese architect’s ‘light‘, modernist vision, the regulations for post-war reconstruction and the client’s desire for a building that embodied the company’s values of solidity and incorruptibility. According to Ponti, it is the architect’s duty to “recognise the opportunity to create a noble, modern environment and demand it desperately”.
This was the starting point for SOM, bringing the spirit of the original project up to date without betraying it while making an effort to best interpret Allianz’s desire to stay true to the dominant trait of the building’s DNA: innovation.
Beyond a merely conservative approach, the project prioritises a reflection on the facade as a connected urban element over the preservation of materials. The facade defines the quality of the public space, and consequently, its use. The complex becomes a destination, especially with a view to the opening of Line 4 of the underground and the vicinity to the universities.
The new project will recover the outward character that Ponti envisioned for the complex. Ponti’s initial proposal featured a T-shaped main building, but this extroverted solution was later replaced by a Y-shaped, introverted solution, resulting in a 125m continuous facade in via Santa Sofia that communicated an attitude of closure vis-à-vis the neighbourhood. SOM’s new project features a large entrance in via Santa Sofia, creating a visual opening from and to the neighbourhood, consequently starting a dialogue with the city.
The project will give back Milan and the neighbourhood a timeless complex, where the strength of the concept, the reinterpretation of heritage and the integration of sustainability are designed to outlast trends and changes in the urban fabric.