Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was selected to design the Olympic Village for the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics following an international competition of 71 architecture studios from nine different countries. The project is part of the updated Porta Romana Railway Yard Master Plan, and will create a new center of activity in Porta Romana with minimal environmental impact. The self-sufficient project will feature residential, commercial, and public spaces, that change configurations based on the Olympics event.
The Olympic Village will transform the Porta Romana district into a community-centered urban hub, offering a powerful new model for facilities to serve post-Olympic social projects. The project includes public green spaces, a transformation of two historic structures, and six new residential buildings that will house Olympic athletes temporarily. Following the Olympics, the athletes' homes will be used as student housing, the park and railway side buildings will be reused as affordable housing, and the Olympic Village Plaza will become a public square, with commercial spaces, outdoor markets, and hospitality facilities.
Rather than ceasing to be of use after the Olympics, the Porta Romana Olympic Village will ultimately become a vibrant, self-sustaining neighborhood built around the principles of social equity, environmental commitment, wellness, and inclusivity. The village adopts the rhythm of the area’s streetscape, creating a porous urban block with a variety of public spaces and communal anchors that will enhance Milan’s vibrant tapestry of ground floor experiences. -- Colin Koop, SOM Design Partner
The buildings' architectural design is inspired by the historic buildings of Milan, featuring striking, contemporary materials, and communal terraces. These terraces serve as bridges between the buildings, welcoming occupants to socialize or study outdoors. Vertical greenery was added to the facade to contribute to the neighborhood’s climate resilience, provide shade, as well as create space for urban farms that allows for on-site food production.
The village will comply with NZEB (Nearly Zero Energy Building) requirements to ensure ecological consciousness. The project provides passive cooling strategies, solar panels, and rooftop gardens that ensure that more than 30% of the energy will be produced on site. Storm water will also be collected on site and reused. The new buildings employ sustainable materials, such as mass timber structure for the residential buildings, and low-embodied carbon for the facade materials.
The master plan is developed by COIMA SGR and its partners, in collaboration with the Milano-Cortina Foundation, the Municipality of Milan, and the Lombardy Region. Construction of the Olympic Village is scheduled to be completed by July 2025.