The tower designed by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei as part of the redevelopment programme of the historical trade fair area in Milan commissioned by the company Citylife, is the first, with respect to those by Zaha Hadid and Daniel Libeskind, to start construction at the site. From its newly laid foundations, the skyscraper will reach a height of 207 metres in 2015, and will be the tallest in Italy.

 The tower designed by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, which together with those designed by Zaha Hadid and Daniel Libeskind represents the future Business & Shopping District of CityLife in Milan (a subsidiary company of the Generali Group and in which Allianz has a shareholding), is progressing quickly. By 2015 it will reach a height of 207 metres, with 50 floors of offices, and will be the tallest skyscraper in Italy. The foundation bed, which has just been built, is formed of a continuous block of concrete covering a total of 4,260 cubic metres and required 42 hours of continuous work.

Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, CityLife Tower, Milan, Italy. High rise typical floor plan.

Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, CityLife Tower, Milan, Italy. Longitudinal section.


Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, CityLife Tower, Milan, Italy. Tranverse section.


Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, CityLife Tower, Milan, Italy. Construction site.


The construction site. In the last few weeks 62 underpinning piles over 30 metres long were constructed out of reinforced concrete, and the foundation bed was reinforced with steel bars, with a total weight of around 1,200 tonnes. 630 m2 of formwork and 570 m2 of thermal insulation panels have already been laid. The dimensions of the base of the tower in the plan are 63 x 27 metres, while the sides of the building, which will rest on this base, measure 61.50 x 24 metres. This is the state of the construction site, which has exceptional proportions, both physical and technological. The work programme provides for a series of actions that are closely related to each other: first the structures, then as the floors are gradually freed from the temporary scaffolding, the façades will be assembled.

Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, CityLife Tower, Milan, Italy. Rendering.

The concept. The skyscraper, comprised of a modular system that can in theory repeat indefinitely, has six office floors in each of the eight modules clad with a double-glazed glass skin. The vertical continuation of the modules, slightly convex, has been designed to create the concept of a tower without end. The tower makes reference to the “Endless Tower” built in 1918 by the sculptor Rumeno Constantin Brâncuşi for the Târgu Jiu public garden in Romania. Four slanted “struts” help to support the tower along the two main façades (reducing, among other things, the bulk of the load-bearing structures in the internal space) and act as one of the bracing systems. The side façades are partly glazed and display the structure of the panoramic elevators that lead to the various floors of the building.

Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, CityLife Tower, Milan, Italy. Rendering.

The struts and the panoramic elevators aim to emphasize the futuristic concept of a building-machine. Through an open space entrance lobby on two levels, the tower is directly connected to the central square of CityLife and to the one below where the “Tre Torri” stop of the M5 line will be located. Service spaces and technical rooms will be located in the basement floors. The building, moreover, has an underground car park with spaces for 611 cars and 93 motorcycles. The project has already obtained the LEED Gold Pre-certification, meeting the environmental sustainability requirements provided for by the Leed™ international standards. “In our archipelago of forms – explains Andrea Maffei – we found it interesting to develop the idea of a skyscraper without end, a sort of endless tower. We wanted to study a concept to be applied to the skyscraper, even before imagining its aesthetics. In the aspiration for maximum height, we chose to apply the concept of a modular system that could repeat indefinitely and seemlessly.”



TCa CityLife Tower, Milan, Italy




CityLife s.r.l., Milan, Italy


Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei

design team

Pietro Bertozzi, Takeshi Miura, Alessandra De Stefani, Chiara Zandri, Vincenzo Carapellese, Roberto Balduzzi, Francesca Chezzi, Takatoshi Oki, Stefano Bergagna, Paolo Evolvi, Elisabetta Borgiotti, Adolfo Berardozzi, Sofia Bedinsky, Atsuko Suzuki, Antonietta Bavaro, Carlotta Maranesi, Higaki Seisuke, Hidenari Arai / Andrea Maffei

Architects s.r.l., Milan, Italy

structural engineering

Maurizio Teora (PD), Luca Buzzoni (PM), Matteo Baffetti / Arup Italia s.r.l., Milan, Italy

Favero & Milan Ingegneria s.p.a., Mirano, Italy


Mikkel Kragh, Mauricio Cardenas, Matteo Orlandi, Maria Meizoso, Carlos Prada / Arup Italia s.r.l., Milan, Italy

mechanical systems

Gianfranco Ariatta, Roberto Menghini, Riccardo Lucchese, Andrea Ambrosi, Sylvia Zoppo Vigna / Ariatta Ingegneria

dei sistemi s.r.l., Milan, Italy

fire control

Salvatore Mistretta, Milan, Italy

vertical infrastructures

Jappsen Ingenieure, Frankfurt, Germany

lighting design

LPA Light Planners Associates, Tokyo, Japan

sound engineering

Vernon Cole, Cole Jarman, Addlestone, Surrey, United Kingdom

project management

J&A, Milan, Italy

Ramboll, London, United Kingdom


built surface for the tower: 81.615 mq

surface for parking areas (outdoors and underground): 44.485 mq.

maximum building height: 207 m

number of floors: 50

number of office floors: 46

number of work stations: 3864


competition: 2003 (results: 2004) / design: 2005-2011 / start of construction: 2012 / estimated completion: 2015

About the architects

The collaboration between Arata Isozaki (Oita, Japan, 1931), the illustrious Japanese master, and Andrea Maffei (Modena, Italy, 1968), began for the first time in 1997, when the Italian architect moved to Tokyo to work alongside the master.

Arata Isozaki graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1954 and studied with Kenzo Tange. In 1963 he founded the Arata Isozaki Atelier, today Arata Isozaki & Associates. Member of the Pritzker Prize jury from 1979 to 1984, Isozaki has received international recognition for his works that have been built all over the world. Among his most prominent projects are: the Gunma Museum of Modern Art (1978), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (1986), the Soho Guggenheim Museum in New York (1992), the Kyoto Concert Hall (1995), and the Olympic Sports Hall in Torino (2002). (www.isozaki.co.jp)

Responsible for the Italian projects by Isozaki, Andrea Maffei was project architect for the Palahockey in Torino, built for the winter Olympics in 2006, and for the Olympic pool and the Piazza d’Armi park in Torino, also built in the same year. In 2005 the company Andrea Maffei Architects, with headquarter based in Brera, Milano, Italy, was established. It is currently involved in the project for the new Train Station in Bologna and for the CITYLIFE development in Milano, a great residential and commercial building in the former area of the Fair. This last project includes a 202-meter tall tower, a main central plaza with access to the metro line, and several residential buildings.

Beside his professional work, Maffei writes for several architectural magazines. Since 1997 he contributes to “CASABELLA”, directed by Francesco Dal Co, where he published articles on contemporary architecture in Japan.

He edited the book Toyo Ito. Le opere, i progetti, gli scritti (Electa publisher, 2003). (www.amarchitects.it)

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