MAD Architects recently completed its first European project – but it certainly won’t be its last. The high-profile Chinese firm has revealed plans for a new mixed-use building in Milan, Italy, that’s defined by a lush greenery covered facade intersected with polished metal staircases.
The MoLo (short for Mobility and Logistic hub) will serve as a gateway to the Milano Innovation District, which is a new sustainably focused area in the city that’s currently under development.
The hub will reach a total height of 28.5 m (93 ft) and consist of seven levels above ground, plus one underground. The first floor will host retail space, as well as laboratories, offices, and a supermarket, while upper floors will contain a carpark with a capacity for 1,500 cars. Elsewhere will be a large “cloud-like” gallery space (MAD rarely misses a chance to reference clouds in its architecture), as well as educational zones related to mobility.
“The MoLo is designed as an integration of nature and architecture,” said MAD. “The main facades, for instance, will be adorned with lush vegetation that will beautify the neighborhood while capturing airborne carbon. The use of vertical landscaping as a design element also allows the MoLo to visually blend into the verdant landscaping of its surroundings. In addition, an open gallery near the public interchange tunnel that cuts diagonally across the ground floor along the center of the building in an effort to blur the boundary between indoor and outdoor while physically connecting the MoLo to the nearby Rho-Arese park.”
The MoLo is expected to receive the LEED green building standard and will be prefabricated to reduce material waste and build time. Additionally, a huge solar panel array measuring over 8,000 sq m (roughly 745,000 sq ft) will act as a source of renewable energy for both the project and the surrounding area. A rainwater collection system also seems a sensible choice considering all that greenery, though is not mentioned by MAD at this early stage.
The project is expected to begin construction in September and is being created in collaboration with Architect Andrea Nonni, Open Project and Progeca.