The elegant twisting tower of Milan

Generali Tower

Take a look at the recently completed and launched Generali Tower in Milan, by Zaha Hadid Architects.

The Generali Tower was first conceived in a competition as one of the earliest twisting towers over a decade ago. We joined the Zaha Hadid team to help design the building for an abandoned 61-acre site in Milan as part of a masterplan for client CityLife.

This successful collaboration has resulted is an elegant 170-metre-high twisting tower that now stands as a centrepiece for the development.

The twist was a mechanism which, along with the elegance of form it imparted, resolved the fact that the best views at height were oriented differently from the necessary building reception’s position at street level. We worked closely with ZHA in an extensive design exploration crafted to enable the assessment of form, geometry and materiality alongside structural considerations of seismicity, weight and strength. Parametric models were developed allowing consideration of buildability, cost and robustness of detail to sit alongside the design discussion. The angle of rotation was carefully controlled with a framework of rules to ensure control of the structural system and allow clear-span façade-to-core floorplates to be developed.

The form of the building meant that its self-weight imparted torsional forces into the centrally located concrete core, which was required to resist this in concert with the normal lateral loads from wind and earthquake events. This complex interaction between floors, columns and cores was a unique set of challenges that we overcame in developing the structural systems implemented within this building.

This complexity was further added to at foundation level where otherwise strong founding soils were compromised by the existence of multiple weak and compressible lenses under the building. Complex ground models were required to develop the best solutions to support this magnificent building whilst adequately controlling deflections.

Client: CityLife
Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Structural Engineer: AKT II, Redesco Progetti, Holzner & Bertagnolli, CAP Engineering
M&E: Max Fordham LLP
Contractor: CMB