Milan’s Porta Nuova Varesine regeneration project is one of the most significant urban redevelopments in Italy’s recent history, transforming the former rail yard into a vibrant urban community a focus on people, community, integration and resilience.
With a strategic location between Milan’s Central Station and Garibaldi station at the north of the city, the mixed-use masterplan includes office and residential space, as well as retail areas and a cultural centre, connected with the city centre by a vast infrastructure network.
The development recasts the former Varese train station as a pedestrian area with twelve residential and commercial buildings - varying in height - stretching from Piazza della Repubblica to Via Melchiorre Gioia along the east-west axis of Viale della Liberazione.
Italian real estate developer COIMA’s design driver was sustainability, with an ambition to secure a LEED certification from the outset. Located in a very complex site, Arup was appointed as the structural and geotechnical engineer for the entire development, including the structural design for the twelve buildings plus a roof central gallery, the parking and underground facilities and the new cultural centre. To enhance connectivity with the existing urban fabric, Arup also designed a pedestrian bridge connecting the Varesine podium to the Garibaldi urban development.
Largest urban excavation site in Europe
One of the challenges our specialists faced was the geotechnical design and monitoring of the retaining structures: at 100 m wide by 300 m long, the site was considered to be one of the largest urban excavation sites in Europe at that time.
Working on a complex site, with two floors of underground parking facilities, Arup’s structural engineers introduced some novel design solutions and construction materials, including high-strength concrete and steel, not previously used in Italy on similar buildings for similar sites.
BIM tools enable collaboration
Arup was appointed as the structural designer from concept through to site assistance, working with an extensive team of architects and other specialists to deliver a coherent, robust and cost-effective design.
Arup’s specialists created a BIM model to enable integration during the Construction Documentation phase, enabling collaboration between all the partners, and shifting the project to a complete 3D model environment.