Aecom completes Gae Aulenti Piazza
A new square in the centre of Milan has been completed by Aecom, Italian practice Land and Gehl Architects.
Gae Aulenti Piazza is named after the Italian architect who turned a Paris station into the celebrated Musee d’Orsay in Paris. She died in October aged 84, shortly after being awarded the career prize at the Milan Triennale.
The square sits in the centre of the Porta Nuova Garibaldi commercial development by Milan’s main train station which was masterplanned by Pelli Clarke Pelli and KPF. Gehl set the strategic guidelines for the public space which acts as a gateway to the city.
The piazza contains a continuous circle of wisteria-shaded seating surrounding a 60m reflecting pool which cascades down two floors.
The sound mitigates the noise pollution of surrounding roads and allows daylight and natural ventilation to penetrate the storeys beneath the towers which contain retail and parking.
Parts of the pool can be emptied so events can be held in the square.
Alexandra Steed, senior director of landscape architecture at Aecom, said the project showed what could be achieved when innovative landscape design was integrated with architecture. The landscape architects pushed the client to understand the public realm as a three-dimensional component, and not just a surface, she said.