“The new US Consulate General of Milan will add a wonderful new chapter to a historic campus that was once a special meeting point for Milan’s athletic community,” said Henry V. Jardine, acting director of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations.
“Looking ahead, we know that the campus will once again become a cultural landmark for Milan – with art exhibitions in the public Liberty Building and open spaces in the Liberty Plaza – and will support the region with improved consular services and expanded representative spaces. ”
“This unique campus will truly represent the full extent of our bilateral relationship, utilizing the best design and construction methods of both nations to promote our shared values and our enduring friendship.”
The renovation and restoration of the U.S. Consulate General in Milan by SHoP Architects for the U.S. Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) revitalizes the site’s architectural and historical heritage as a safe, functional and resilient project – a tribute to American’s close collaboration and Italian people.
Located three miles northwest of downtown, decades later this once dynamic center of community is an ideal place to bridge two countries and cultures with a common goal of bringing people together again in a spirit of inspiration, communication and collaboration.
The 10-hectare renovated campus will provide a modern platform for US diplomacy in Milan and across northern Italy.
In addition to the new construction of the consulate, the project includes the restoration of the historic Liberty Building on the consulate grounds and the reconstruction of a pavilion on the parade ground.
Opposite the restored Palazzo Liberty and the covered walkway, SHoP will integrate a new multi-story cubic office building into the campus.
Caddell Construction Company LCC. of Montgomery, Alabama is the contractor.
For this project, SHoP developed a coherent plan for the main buildings and grounds that responds to the historical landmarks on the site—a former sports club—while accommodating the complex programmatic requirements of the contemporary diplomatic facility.
Site improvements include large open spaces and a restoration of the Liberty Building forecourt garden.
This unique campus will enable greater engagement in the city and surrounding area.
The site reflects its history as a community space, attracting people and encouraging a natural flow of movement focused on fostering community engagement and inclusion.
The triangular Liberty Plaza features an inviting public garden that directs visitors to the Liberty Building.
Once past the arches of the Liberty Building, continue to the nearly 80,000-square-foot Paradeplatz – historically the premier gathering place for events – with the reconstructed pavilion in front of the Chancellery building.
The Chancellery consists of two volumes: a five-story tower on a base. The consular garden, historical pavilion and parade ground provide immediate context for the new building to anyone who approaches, guiding them to the building’s entrance.
Overall, the design celebrates the materiality of Italian architecture, using a mix of modern and historical methods and materials.
The facade is an intricate scaffolding of digitally processed and fabricated stone slabs in a warm cream hue, a nod to the buildings in the historic center and squares of Milan and other Italian cities.
The panels range from transparent to solid, with a depth of texture that is deepest at the base and recedes as it climbs the facade.
The effect is reminiscent of a rustic base with a relatively rough surface, which turns into a precise edge that meets the sky.
The color scheme picks up on the earthy tones of the terracotta roofs and wooden columns of the pavilion and the Liberty Building.
The overall effect is timeless, presenting a functional, efficient face that references the classic elements around it.
Inside, a variety of effective work and meeting spaces offer a similar blend of past inspiration and current innovation.
The materials are Milanese by nature, inspired by traditional materials reinterpreted with new patterns and assemblies.
A reception area off the main lobby features a milled stone counter with a unique multi-colored marble that contrasts and complements the wall panels, which in turn mirror the facade panels.
Adjacent to the reception is a grand double curved staircase that curves and tapers towards the top.
Conceived as a primary circulation method, it is a statement of quality craftsmanship, refined detailing and considered proportions that draws people into the gallery above, a three-height space with panoramic views of the site.
The consular waiting area continues the use of large sized marble slabs and a rich wood plank ceiling, a nod to the historic canopies outside.
Visitors are welcomed into consular cabins that provide a sense of security and privacy and are lined with deep green sound absorbing soft velvet rib panels with Italian green marble paneling.
A true center for the practice of American diplomacy in the 21st century, the Consulate General’s new campus is an expression of globally influenced design that celebrates and promotes local traditions.
It will serve as an enduring testament to cross-cultural collaboration – not only between two countries, but also to honor all the places where extraordinary people have met throughout history and will continue to do so in the future.
Due to the careful coordination of design, engineering and geothermal system, almost no heating energy from hydrocarbon fuels is required.
The geothermal system provides heating and cooling services, with treated water stored on-site for irrigation or returned to the aquifer.
This geothermal system will be “open loop”, as is usual in Milan, but a first for OBO.
A central heating/cooling system at the facility is equipped with a modular hydrothermal heat pump utilizing the open-loop geothermal wells.
The modular water heat pump ensures simultaneous heating and cooling and uses the heat given off by the cooling process to generate hot water.
The hot water produced is used for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) hot water and to preheat the domestic hot water system, which also includes water-based heat pumps in each building.
The permanent art collection, curated by OBO’s Office of Art in Embassies, will include art in a variety of mediums, including painting, photography, beadwork and sculpture by American and Italian artists.
The collection will try to create a dialogue of common values between the people of our two countries.
Highlights include two site-specific sculptures: an exterior work by Beverly Pepper, an acclaimed American artist and pioneer of monumental metal sculpture, and an interior sculpture by the Haas Brothers, who work at the intersection of art and design.
Project: US Consulate General in Milan
Architects: Shop Architects
General Contractor: Caddell Construction Company LCC.
Client: US Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO)