Diverse engineering services for an energy-efficient skyscraper
Gioia 22 – Porta Nuova is a 25-story office tower located in the central business district of Milan, Italy. Designed by architects Pelli Clarke Pelli, the building is a centerpiece of the Porta Nuova Garibaldi neighborhood, a development that includes offices, restaurants, and retail spaces. Advanced systems and cutting-edge design allow Gioia 22 to harvest 65% of its energy from renewable sources.
In addition to being exceptionally efficient and visually striking, the building aimed to be a positive addition to a thriving mixed-use neighborhood. For the designers, this meant ensuring that nearby outdoor spaces were safe and welcoming – with good air quality and a comfortable wind environment for pedestrians, cyclists, and people stopping to enjoy the area. As with any development, controlling costs by optimizing the building’s design was also important. This objective presented a particular challenge at the building’s upper reaches, where a sail-like panel extending into the sky would face heavy wind loading.
We began by working closely with the entire project team to understand their vision for the building’s function and aesthetic presence. Gaining a strong grounding in the designers’ priorities enabled us to support their success as we delivered diverse services, including structural, cladding, and pedestrian-level wind studies, as well as exhaust re-entrainment analysis.
Gioia 22’s enclosure is vital not only to its appearance but also to its energy performance. Its facade includes more than 6,000 m² of photovoltaic panels, which help to reduce its energy consumption from the grid by up to 75% compared to comparable towers. Through wind tunnel testing and modeling, we were able to support the refinement of the cladding design – demonstrating that the team could use design specifications less conservative than the code requirements, with no compromise on safety. We could also isolate “hot spots” such as corners where wind loads would be higher than average, supporting targeted design adaptations in those locations.
Our team studied the pedestrian-level wind environment around the building, performing detailed analysis of air flows at street level and near entrances. A related study focused on exhausts from Gioia 22 and from nearby buildings; the goal of this work was to ensure excellent air quality in the area. Beyond promoting comfort and safety for occupants and neighbors, our work around the building’s exterior supported the project’s sustainability objectives since cycle paths, pedestrian routes, and other inviting public spaces were central to the designers’ goal of promoting green mobility in the district.
In addition to advancing the team’s sustainability and aesthetic aims, our work delivered substantial cost savings by optimizing the aerodynamic form and orientation of the structure. This was especially valuable when it came to the structural design of the building’s crown, where we were able to guide significant improvements in efficiency.
Gioia 22 – Porta Nuova is the largest Nearly Zero Energy Building in Italy and has become a global benchmark for energy efficient design with a focus on energy reduction and renewable energy sources. It has obtained LEED Platinum and Cradle to Cradle certifications.