Modern architecture in Milan: the must-see neighborhood

modern architecture in milan

What about modern architecture in Milan? I am asking this question because most of the travelers are going to the city to see Duomo, to do shopping. Milan is well known also for the design, but maybe not all of you know about the new buildings realized especially between Porta Garibaldi and Central railways stations. Many big and international companies are establishing their offices and encharging famous architects to create innovative projects. If you are going to the city and if you love architecture you must visit this part.

modern architecture in milan

I am answering the question about modern architecture in Milan. Here you find a photo tour in a very small part of the Porta Nuova area. But before I am going to share some information about what you can find there. Especially because it is important to give some description of what you see here. The results are visible, but it is necessary to understand what’s going on, what happened, and what will happen. New buildings were constructed in the last years and more will be realized in the next months. Milan modern architecture has a great example of renovation in this neighborhood.

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Living not far from the capital of Lombardy I have the chance to go there quite often. At least when I am not abroad. So I discover the city step by step. I am maybe not a big fan of modern architecture, generally, I prefer the one coming from the past. Because I love a lot of history. But do you know why I like modern architecture in Milan? Because it is a way to redevelop a neighborhood. Then history is made by a sum of contemporary stories. Now it’s time for the present and future. Let’s go to the topic.

Modern architecture in Milan: Porta Nuova

Porta Nuova is the name of the area and also of the redevelopment project. One of the biggest in Europe. It started in 2015 and it is still going on even if many buildings are already done and working. The neighborhoods involved are three: Garibaldi, Varesine, and Isola. Not much far from the Central Train Station. Here you can see great examples of modern architecture in Milan. Everything is sized for people. Yes, the important thing is that everything is planned around inhabitants. Offices are just a part. There is a continuous pedestrian system with a big park, shops, restaurants, bridges. 

The project behind this modern architecture in Milan Porta Nuova is more than new buildings. It’s a way to express the Italian lifestyle, to combine companies’ and families’ needs. Big offices, 160.000 square meters on 360.000 dedicated to the pedestrian area, space for events. Headquarters and flats together with green areas, malls, places where to eat, drink and have fun. To do this there is a big team of international architects and design architects. The constructions are sustainable to respect the environment and human life. If you want to see Milan’s modern architecture you must visit this place and take into consideration its features.

A continuous pedestrian system

I mentioned the particular project of the continuous pedestrian system. It connects directly to three areas of the city. It means that people can walk safely going around three neighborhoods. Pathways, trees, fountains, bridges, and space for kids are the features. Yes, children have equipped spaces where to play during the day. It’s just one of the elements of this redevelopment of Porta Nuova and Milan. What can you see there? Let’s go to learn a bit more, but give me the chance to add a few lines about the masterplan.

modern architecture in milan

Especially, I am going to focus on the big park that takes a huge part of the pedestrian system. Water and trees make the pathways for people more attractive. And the environment is more healthy. There are also exhibition centers to host different types of events. The modern architecture in Milan includes a lot of places dedicated to everyday life. People work in offices, then they go shopping, go home, attend some concerts, shows, and so on. There is a chance to deeply live in the neighborhood.

modern architecture in milan


The area of Porta Nuova hosts also the Catella Foundation to research and develop excellence. About what? It is about land development. Then it has its headquarter the Art Incubator. It is dedicated to helping people who want to create handicraft projects. Thanks to this structure they can realize them. A house of memory allows experts to build city history. They work on witnesses to leave a concrete sign to the future. There will be also a part related to victims of totalitarianism and terrorism. 

Modern architecture in Milan represents a city inside the city. It deserves to be discovered. Your plan to visit Milan maybe will change. You don’t have to skip Museums, the famous cathedral and so on. You have to add Porta Nuova to your tour agenda. So maybe you can consider to sleep in the hotel that is part of the redevelopment project. It is a central location in the capital of Lombardy. And it is also a good starting point to explore Milan. 

Discovering the modern architecture in Milan

Now it’s time to tell you what you can see in the Porta Nuova area. Many buildings are realized and others will be constructed soon. Coming from the fashion district or the main downtown attractions you reach the square with Unicredit Tower.

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modern architecture in milan

Unicredit and the mall

The bank has an amazing headquarter. Thanks to its shape it appears even more visible than the others. The main square in this part of the Porta Nuova area offers a mall with shops and restaurants. The square has fountains and a lot of space for people to walk, chat, and shopping. The curious thing is to see the reflections on the Unicredit Tower facade while the other palace windows allow you to see inside. The building of the banks is the tallest in Italy. This is the first step into modern architecture in Milan.

Unicredit Tower is tall 231 meters and 80 of them are of the spire. The project of this building and the others present around Piazza Gae Aulenti are signed by the Argentinian architect César Pelli. 

Around it, you can see the building of IBM. It is quite particular and located in a central position comparing the skyscrapers. Piazza Gae Aulenti offers a good combination of buildings and space for people. You can seat close to the fountains, enjoy shops and restaurants, walk and go around the park. Very nice an example of modern architecture in Milan is the Unicredit Pavillon. It is an exhibition space property of the bank and dedicated to hosting events. It is made of cement and wood. An interesting project to see. 

modern architecture in milan

modern architecture in milan

modern architecture in milan

modern architecture in milan modern architecture in milan modern architecture in milan

Bosco Verticale

The park offers a big green area with space for kids. There are games they can do and benches for parents and grandparents. The atmosphere is great. You are in the middle of the business center, but it is like to be out of the city. This is the strength of modern architecture in Milan. It is the goal of the redevelopment project. Starting from Piazza Gae Aulenti and crossing the park you can easily reach the other sides of the area. One of them is featured by the residential buildings. This is an example of future buildings, environmentally sustainable, and with the presence of nature.

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modern architecture in milan

Solaria Tower is the tallest residential building in Italy. It counts 37 floors and 143 meters in height. Close to it, there are two of the most famous residential buildings in Europe. The 2 skyscrapers are called Bosco Verticale and they are built with modern techniques to guarantee a reduction of energy consumption. The first tower is high 111 meters and the second one 76 meters. There are, spread on various floors (8.900 square meters of terraces) 900 trees plus 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 floral plants. It is cool to see both of the construction full of green.

modern architecture in milan

The 90 species of plants and trees are very useful. They convert each year 44,000 pounds of carbon into oxygen. This is innovation. Modern architecture in Milan includes environmental protection. For this reason, Bosco Verticale realized in a way to mitigate smog and produce oxygen. Vegetation, then, is a protection of the interior spaces from noise and pollution. The structure projected by the architect Stefano Boeri won different prizes.

modern architecture in milan

modern architecture in milan modern architecture in milan

Palazzo Lombardia

With its 161 meters, it has been the tallest building in Italy between 2009 and 2010. Palazzo Lombardia, close to Bosco Verde, is the headquarter of the regional council, together with Palazzo Pirelli, the historic one located in front of Central Station. Modern architecture in Milan finds in this building one of the symbols. Palazzo Lombardia hosts the offices related to the administration, plus a coworking space, some bars, and a Belvedere (39° floor). It’s a place from where to admire the Milan skyline.

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A system of double-height arcades is settled around the building. Pedestrian and rest areas are located around the palace. They host some exhibitions and events, so it is possible to access, according to specific rules to check before to go, the 39° floor and public rooms. So you can enjoy modern architecture in Milan and special initiatives. 


As I wrote, Porta Nuova is a good starting point to visit the whole of the city. If you like to see modern architecture in Milan and live in the area during your stay there is a hotel. It is perfectly located in the neighborhood, so you can walk around the various constructions. Keep in mind that the project is not completed, so in the following months there will grow new buildings. It is now a work in progress area. 

AC Hotel Milano is part of Marriott and it offers various types of rooms, spacious and well equipped. I suggest you ask for a room on the highest floors because of the panorama. You will sleep next to Unicredit Tower, the tallest building in Italy. It is a cool experience and Milan will be around you. If you want to enjoy modern architecture in Milan just as one of the attractions, you can explore the map below and find the proper accommodation. It is full of different solutions for any taste and goal.


modern architecture in milan

Milan to discover

The capital of Lombardy is one of the most popular destinations for Italian tourism. Modern architecture in Milan is just one of the things you should focus on during your visit. There are museums, hidden corners, facts, and curiosities you have to know before to plan the tour. To learn more explore my blog. The posts dedicated to Italy reveals all the information you need. Then I update often the site with new posts. If you want to get all my tips, subscribe to my newsletter.

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By MyAnasa

Italian traveler

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