ENI MILAN HEADQUARTERS
Invited international competition for the ENI Milan Headquarters
An invited international competition for a new headquarters for Italian industrial giant ENI in Milan references Botticelli’s painting of Venus in an eternal garden of spring and peace.
INVITED INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
Ten teams from around the world were selected to create a vision for a major new campus precinct for ENI, Italy’s energy giant, on the outskirts of Milan.
Our team was curated by French architect and friend Christian Leprette, and involved an Italian AE firm Contec and Canadian collaborators Smith Carter Architects.
Botticelli’s mythological painting, primavera, representing the arrival of spring, is the inspiration for the parti. In the painting, an evocative garden scene centered around Venus represents the harmonious unity of man and nature.
The three graces, prominently positioned to one side of Venus, dancing a roundelay in the architectural scheme as three central interconnected buildings – dynamic, shaped, sensuous forms – joined together with sky bridges for fluid access at the top. In this way, the metaphor of the dance – the graces with arms joined – is expressed.
GENDER, SEXUALITY NARRATIVE IN ARCHITECTURE
The competition proposal, while extremely serious about functional and technical requirements, also advances a theory that in a highly abstract way, contemporary buildings can suggest gender and can carry metaphorical language, as in the past.
KPMB ARCHITECTS: Thomas Payne (partner-in-charge), Kevin Thomas, John Peterson (associates-in-charge), Andrew Hill, Joseph Kan
Contec, Enrico Maria Ferrari, Christian Leprette (general co- ordination); Smith Carter Architects & Engineers (project management); Transsolar Energietechnik GMBH (climate engineering – Germany); SWS engineering SPA (engineering – Italy); Planex SRL Societa di engineering (engineering – Italy); Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg (landscape – Canada)