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  1. ArchDaily
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  3. Mixed Use Architecture
  4. Italy
  5. BBPR
  6. 1958
  7. AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR
AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR +9

  • Architects

  • Location

    Milan, Italy
  • Architect

    BBPR
  • References

    Architecture Week, Arch in Form
  • Project Year

    1958

From the architect. Mixed in with the Gothic Cathedrals, buildings, sculptures and domes of Milan, the Torre Velasca stands out as one of the few modern buildings in the city’s ancient center. 

The Torre Velasca, planned to loom over its surrounding structures at a height of nearly 1,000 meters, was to be an important addition to Milan’s skyline. For this reason, it was crucial that the architects, BBPR, find ways to blend the design of the Torre Velasca, completed in 1958, with that of the classic architectural beauties of historic Milan. 

The upper third of the building, which protrudes outward from the lower levels, was designed to resemble medieval watchtowers. Such defense towers were used in times of war to protect Italian castles from invasion. By using the Torre Velasca to build upon the ideas of ancient architecture, BBPR was able to connect the modern building to its historic past and keep the design of the new addition from feeling out of place.

The tower’s stone material and supporting struts that add stability to the projecting section not only further its resemblance to Italy’s medieval defense towers, but also mimic some of the Gothic features of its surrounding structures. 

By looking at Milan’s skyline, it is clear that BBPR designed the Torre Velasca with its surroundings in mind (especially considering the growing trend toward glass curtain walls in high-rises like this one). However, the design had many important functional purposes as well.

Whereas many newer buildings were constructed along the city’s street fronts, the Torre Velasca was built in the center of its site so as to encourage use of the plaza space. 

The tower’s narrow bottom not only allowed for the creation of such plaza space, but also fit with the building’s multifunctional purposes. The narrow spaces of the lower floors held shops, offices and exhibitions, while the more spacious upper stories contained apartments with spectacular views overlooking the city.

In many parts of the city, the creation of office buildings was known to push out residential structures. However, the combination of commercial and residential use in the Torre Velasca was meant to prevent the weakening of city centers that typically occurred when office buildings replaced residential ones.

The importance of functionality was even reflected in the tower’s window arrangement. 

On most modern buildings, schemes of windows, doors and materials are repeated over and over again. However, on the Torre Velasca numerous patterns were created using empty walls, open windows and reflective glass surfaces where windows would normally be expected. This allowed the building to play to the varied needs of the many people using it.

Although the Torre Velasca has been criticized for the building’s heavy feeling and for the intricate details that get lost because of it, many people have praised the way in which the tower has managed to connect Milan’s past to its present. Its functionality paired with the architects’ attention to the surrounding environment made the Torre Velasca a seamless, as well as functional addition to the ancient city of Milan.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Allison Hyatt. "AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR" 14 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/155121/ad-classics-torre-velasca-bbpr/>
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42 Comments

archipicture · October 03, 2016

wonderful building!
some more images:
www.archipicture.ch

ivan · April 10, 2016

the position on your map is wrong...

mario · April 30, 2013

1000 meters??
get serious...

Florian · November 17, 2012

1000 meters seems mighty high. Maybe you meant 100 meters?

Alexandr Ostrogorsky · April 09, 2012

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR | ArchDaily http://t.co/O82G6dtk via @archdaily

Stefano Passamonti · August 20, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR | ArchDaily http://t.co/ltkA0mS via @archdaily

FranciscoVasconcelos · August 16, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR http://t.co/oW8NoIS

Luis Melano · August 16, 2011

./ARQ.: AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR [del.icio.us]: Mixed in with the Gothic Cathedrals, buildings... http://t.co/Aq0esRd [ONALEM]

PSU Architecture · August 16, 2011

What&#39s your opinion of the Torre Velasca building in Milan? Genius? or travesty? http://ow.ly/63KZx

David Orban · August 16, 2011

@archdaily chose my photo to lead its recent article: "AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR" http://t.co/EAeZB36 #architecture

arquiRED Mexico · August 15, 2011

Deyecciones arquitectonicas // Torre Velasca / BBPR http://t.co/zhC69wM vía @archdaily" (via @a_c_id)

enrico gaggia · August 15, 2011

Deyecciones arquitectonicas // Torre Velasca / BBPR http://t.co/zhC69wM vía @archdaily" (via @a_c_id)

David · August 15, 2011

I would have to say it's an appalling addition to a beautiful city. Looks like the upper half is being held up by temporary support beams as if the structure was left incomplete.

Alan Halpin · August 15, 2011

Interesting 1>RT @archiburner AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR: Mixed in with Gothic Cathedrals, buildings, sculptures http://t.co/QKOhP5n

MARCILIO avelino · August 15, 2011

Certeza ... RT @amaralarquiteto OMO CAGAR NA PAISAGEM/CIDADE > AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR | ArchDaily http://t.co/Yz5dzal

André Amaral · August 15, 2011

COMO CAGAR NA PAISAGEM/CIDADE > AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR | ArchDaily http://t.co/6CCq8lj via @archdaily

christianharrup.com · August 15, 2011

challenging but immensely interesting Torre Velasca http://t.co/JqDbXHC

Lula Curioca · August 15, 2011

La primera que vi este edificio no me podía creer que fuera tan feo: AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR http://t.co/szWgr8f vía @archdaily

estudio bionica · August 15, 2011

Deyecciones arquitectonicas // Torre Velasca / BBPR http://t.co/zhC69wM vía @archdaily" (via @a_c_id)

A.C.Id. · August 15, 2011

La primera que vi este edificio no me podía creer que fuera tan feo: AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR http://t.co/szWgr8f vía @archdaily

Aykut · August 15, 2011

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watabetakahiro · August 15, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR http://t.co/4dnTRmA

him + her · August 15, 2011

Architecture AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR: Mixed in with the Gothic Cathedrals, buildings, sc... http://t.co/eAnfp9z #architecture

alex · August 15, 2011

The building looks hugely intrusive among the skyline, but I suppose that almost anything placed in such a virgin skyline would seem at least slightly out of place.

Manuel Gonzalez ?. · August 15, 2011

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Archifront · August 15, 2011

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Thiago De Almeida · August 15, 2011

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macransa · August 15, 2011

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Arquitectura · August 15, 2011

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Carolina Ratri · August 15, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR | ArchDaily http://t.co/pnLPH57 #architecture

Adhie Indreswara · August 15, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR via ArchDaily - Photo by David Orban - ... http://t.co/GtLI3oA

Barry Maguire · August 15, 2011

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GR2TF · August 15, 2011

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Nicholas Patten · August 15, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Velasca. http://t.co/uZMsOEt

drmukti · August 15, 2011

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ArchitecturePassion · August 15, 2011

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@ArchiStream · August 15, 2011

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Archibuilt 2010 · August 15, 2011

Archi. Spotlight: AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR: Mixed in with the Gothic Cathedrals, buildings, sculptures ... http://t.co/wJG26QJ

cajadesastre · August 15, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR: Mixed in with the Gothic Cathedrals, buildings, sculptures and ... http://t.co/GWde4Mw #architecture

Adam will · August 15, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR: Mixed in with the Gothic Cathedrals, buildings, sculptures and domes of Milan... http://t.co/0T1dJmS

Mr.Con · August 15, 2011

AD Classics: Torre Velasca / BBPR: Mixed in with the Gothic Cathedrals, buildings, sculptures and domes of Milan... http://t.co/MUWMzq5

Andre · August 15, 2011

Not sure that I'd characterize it as a seamless addition to the skyline..

···

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