Asti Architetti and Hines Italy breathe new life into the iconic TorreTirrena, designed by the Soncini brothers in Piazza Liberty in 1950s Milan.
Paolo Asti's "gentle" restyling of the historic Torre Tirrena, now called Liberty Tower, was completed at the end of December, contributing to the urban redefinition of Piazza Liberty, a stone's throw from the Milan Duomo, in line with the hypogeum project of the Apple flagship store by Foster + Partners.
Over the years, the activity of the Asti Architetti studio which was founded in 2004 by Paolo Asti – born into the profession as his father is one of the founding fathers of ADI – has specialised in the recovery of building heritage, focusing on giving new architectural dignity to existing buildings. That is why Paolo Asti likes to define his way of designing as ‘gentle architecture’:
The restoration of the Tirrena Tower carried out by the brothers Eugenio and Ermenegildo Soncini between 1955 and 1956 fits into this context: two forgotten protagonists of Milanese architecture who, between 1950 and 1955, together with Luigi Mattioni had already designed the Milan Skyscraper set on the corner lot between Via Vittor Pisani and Piazza della Repubblica.
Asti Architetti has curated the Torre Tirrena redevelopment project with mixed use (retail and office) based on a strategic vision of development led by Hines. The works have just been completed.
This intervention by Asti Architects completes and defines piazza Liberty in line with the hypogeum project of the Apple flagship store by Foster + Partners digging the square – emphasized by cascading fountains – with a stepped amphitheatre: “”the relationship with the square is quite evident”, Asti underlines, “the design of the façade of the tower, now enhanced in its vertical characteristics – finally returned to the city also as a night-time presence thanks to the LED strips which enhance the vertical structural elements – interacts with the glazed parallelepiped enclosing the fountain and with the square”.
On the outside of the Liberty Tower, the structural clarity of the “twin pillars” of the façade stands out and its inclined joint mark the verticality of the tower, by defining the base and the top, and create a strong contrast of light and shadow: “in the redevelopment project – Asti explains -I adopted an approach based on preserving and enhancing the basic features of the original design made by the Soncini brothers: The Liberty Tower is unique in Milan for its ‘candy’ façade, which ‘curls up’ at its base ending at the top with a recess of its key elements of vertical development“.
On the other hand, the interiors have been completely renovated and re-functionalized in terms of energy and structural systems. (to date, LEED Gold Pre-certified has been obtained; Hines is world leader in environmental sustainability and energy efficiency issues in compliance with the highest international standards).
On the roof, previously used for technical rooms (now located in the basement), a new glazed volume has been created, set back from the line of the façade, with a huge terrace equipped with large planted tanks (five olive trees have been placed in continuity with the upward escape of the pillars of the main façade) overlooking the city and an open house of the offices housed in the building.
Torre Tirrena, now The Liberty Tower
- Design: Eugenio Soncini, Ermenegildo Soncini
- Structural designer: Cesare Fermi
- Restyling: Asti Architetti, December 2020
- Piazza Liberty, 4
- Height: 46.50 m
- Floors above ground: 11 excluding ground floor
- Developer Manager: Hines Italy
- Fund Manager: Savills Investment Management SGR