Architect chosen to work on key element of wider masterplan by Diller Scofidio & Renfro, PLP and Arup

SOM has won the competition to design the athletes’ village for the Milan 2026 Winter Olympics.

The US architect beat 27 teams consisting of 71 studios from nine different countries.

The organisers, developers Coima and Covivio and fashion brand Prada Holding working with the local authorities and Milano Cortina Olympic organising committee, would not reveal the names of the other contenders.

But earlier this year they chose a team featuring Diller Scofidio & Renfro, PLP and Carlo Ratti Associati to masterplan the wider Olympic area which is being created on disused railway yards.

That team beat off competition from the likes of BIG and John McAslan & Partners – and SOM – to land the broader project.

SOM has been tasked with turning the Porta Romana rail yard into a 60,000sq m athletes’ village in line with NZEB (Nearly Zero Energy Building) requirements, an EU standard. It said all the buildings would be Leed-certified, with more than 30% of the energy produced through solar, thermal and photovoltaic systems. Rainwater will be collected and reused. The measures would lead to a 50% reduction in the use of drinking water and a CO2 reduction of 40% for heating and cooling, said the client.

The village will be designed with both its use as the athletes’ village for the 2026 Winter Olympics and its eventual, long-term use as student accommodation in mind. The goal is for the conversion to take just four months.

The athletes’ homes will become around 1,000 students bedrooms, the park and railway side buildings near the Olympic square will be used for affordable housing, and the Olympic village plaza will become a neighbourhood square, with shops, bars, restaurants and cafes planned at street level.

SOM partner Colin Koop said their design for village adopted “the rhythm of the area’s streetscape, creating a porous urban block with a variety of public spaces and communal anchors that will enhance Milan’s vibrant tapestry of ground floor experiences”.

The Olympic village – scheduled to complete in July 2025 – forms part of the broader Parco Romana project, designed by a team led by Outcomist, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, PLP Architecture, Carlo Ratti Associati and Arup.

The masterplan produced after the team was appointed this spring has been revised following public consultation. The volumes of the masterplan have been distributed more evenly, to improve the dialogue