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Pirelli Tower

Coordinates: 45°29′05″N 9°12′05″E / 45.48472°N 9.20139°E / 45.48472; 9.20139
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Pirelli Tower
Torre Pirelli (Italian)
A narrow, unornamented skyscraper with blue-green glass windows in the middle and a tapered metallic skin on the sides rising above some trees at ground level against a blue sky
East elevation from Piazza Duca d'Aosta, 2016
A map of Milan with a red dot in the northeast quadrant of the city centre
A map of Milan with a red dot in the northeast quadrant of the city centre
Location within Milan
Alternative namesPirellone
Pirelli Tower
General information
TypeCommercial offices
Architectural styleModernism
LocationVia Fabio Filzi, 22
Milan, Italy
Coordinates45°29′05″N 9°12′05″E / 45.48472°N 9.20139°E / 45.48472; 9.20139
Construction started1956
OwnerRegional Government of Lombardy
Antenna spire127 m (417 ft)
Roof124 m (407 ft)
Top floor113 m (371 ft)
Technical details
Floor count32
2 below ground
Floor area24,000 square metres (260,000 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect(s)Giò Ponti
Pier Luigi Nervi
Main contractorPirelli & C. SpA

Pirelli Tower (Italian: Grattacielo Pirelli – also called "Pirellone", literally "Big Pirelli") is a 32-storey, 127 m (417 ft) skyscraper in Milan, Italy. The base of the building is 1,900 m2 (20,000 sq ft), with a length of 75.5 m (248 ft) and a width of 20.5 m (67 ft).[5] The construction used approximately 30,000 m3 (1,100,000 cu ft) of concrete. The building weighs close to 70,000 t (69,000 long tons; 77,000 short tons) with a volume of 125,324 m3 (4,425,800 cu ft).

Characterized by a structural skeleton, curtain wall façades and tapered sides, it was among the first skyscrapers to abandon the customary block form.[6] After its completion it was the tallest building in Italy[7] but in 1961, Mole Antonelliana recovered priority after rebuilding of its pinnacle. The architectural historian Hasan-Uddin Khan praised it as "one of the most elegant tall buildings in the world" and as one of the "few tall European buildings [that made] statements that added to the vocabulary of the skyscraper".[8]

The building inspired the Pan Am Building (now MetLife Building) in New York, the National Mutual West Plaza in Auckland and the Banco Sabadell Tower in Barcelona.[9]


In 1950, Alberto Pirelli, president and owner of the giant Pirelli tyre company, ordered that a skyscraper be built in the area where the corporation's first factory was located in the 19th century. The project was developed by architect Gio Ponti, with the assistance of Pier Luigi Nervi and Arturo Danusso.

Construction of the tower began in 1956, when Italy was experiencing an economic boom. The tower was to be surrounded by low-lying buildings on a pentagonal plot of land. Upon its completion in 1958, it became a symbol not only of Milan, but also of the economic recovery of Italy after the devastation of World War II. At 127 m (417 ft), it was the tallest building in Italy after Mole Antonelliana until 1995. The company sold the building to the Lombardy regional government in 1978. It's also the seat of the Regional Council. On 18th April 2002 a plane crashes into the skyscraper, the 2002 Pirelli Tower airplane crash.


2002 plane crash[edit]

On the afternoon of 18 April 2002, a Rockwell Commander 112 single-engine airplane registered in Switzerland hit the building. The aircraft was apparently scheduled to fly from Locarno to Milan. The plane was low on fuel and Linate Airport was preparing an emergency landing prior to the crash, but the pilot suddenly strayed and crashed into the building. The pilot and two people inside the tower were killed in the accident. Two goals of the restoration work were to maintain the structural and artistic integrity of the building and to upgrade its status as an executive headquarters by introducing new support services and technological systems.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pirelli Tower". CTBUH Skyscraper Center.
  2. ^ "Emporis building ID 110920". Emporis. Archived from the original on April 23, 2016.
  3. ^ "Pirelli Tower". SkyscraperPage.
  4. ^ Pirelli Tower at Structurae
  5. ^ Il cielo in una stanza, informative brochure from Lombardy Region.
  6. ^ Sharp, Dennis, ed. (1 September 1991). The Illustrated encyclopedia of architects and architecture (first ed.). New York: Whitney Library of Design. p. 124. ISBN 978-0823025398. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  7. ^ Pascucci, Denim (27 February 2014). "AD Classics: Pirelli Tower / Gio Ponti, Pier Luigi Nervi". ArchDaily. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  8. ^ Khan, Hasan-Uddin (1 May 1998). International style: modernist architecture from 1925 to 1965. Köln [Germany]: Taschen. p. 231. ISBN 978-3822882603. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  9. ^ Kirk, Terry (1 September 2005). Visions of Utopia, 1900 – present (first ed.). New York City: Princeton Architectural. p. 170. ISBN 978-1568984360. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  10. ^ Campanelli, Alessandro Pergoli (25 March 2014), "Restoration of the facade of the Pirelli skyscraper in Milan", Frontiers of Architectural Research, no. 3, pp. 212–223, ISSN 2095-2643

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]