Kengo Kuma designs the biophilic building of the future in Milan

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Kengo Kuma designs the biophilic building of the future in Milan

Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has disclosed how urgent is to create workplaces where architecture and natural environment harmonize.
The ‘Welcome, feeling at work‘ project, developed by Kengo Kuma and Associates and commissioned by Italian real estate development company ‘Europa Risorse’, is aimed at responding to the need for a more sustainable and human-centered office spaces.
Financially supported by a PineBridge Benson Elliot private equity fund, ‘Welcome, feeling at work’, whose on-site construction works started in Milan’s Parco Lambro area on March 4, 2021, aims to become one of the most sustainable office buildings ever made, and a substantial breakthrough in sustainable workplace design.
The design of ‘Welcome, feeling at work’ has been commissioned to Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, whose architecture has been always characterized by extreme attention to the context, at the point that Kuma is widely known as “the master of contextual architecture”, and by a masterly use of wood as the construction material of choice.
Biophilic architecture: living with, and in nature. ‘Welcome, feeling at work’, is designed with organic, natural elements that appeal to our senses and the tendency to find comfort and inspiration in natural settings. Architecture space fully integrated living plants and greenery, composed with organic materials.” says Yuki Ikeguchi, partner in charge of designing the ‘Welcome, feeling at work’ project for Kengo Kuma and Associates.

cover: Kengo Kuma and Associates, ‘Welcome, feeling at work’, Milan render © Luxigon

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Kengo Kuma and Associates, ‘Welcome, feeling at work’, Milan, renders © Kengo Kuma and Associates

The functional program
‘Welcome, feeling at work’ will contain offices, auditoriums, co-working spaces, meeting halls, restaurants, shops, a wellness area, and halls for special events and temporary exhibitions.
Thus, spaces for work and free time alternate in the project, linked by a “green matrix” that runs through all parts of the complex including a vegetation-packed piazza, a series of open-air courtyards dedicated to informal work and meetings, the terrace spaces which will also contain kitchen and flower gardens, a network of sheltered walkways, and the Greenhouses, special workplaces that can also be used for leisure and entertainment activities.

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Kengo Kuma and Associates, ‘Welcome, feeling at work’, Milan, render © Kengo Kuma and Associates

Strategies for sustainability
Aimed at rejuvenating a former industrial suburban site, its developers emphasize the people-focused concept of the project as well as the emphasis it gives to sustainability through a zero-carbon strategy which includes renewable energy resources, consumption reduction, rainwater harvesting, and reuse, and the use of native plant species for gardens and green areas.
With total gross areas of over 50,000 square meters / 538,000 square feet, the new complex consists of six sites packed with natural and adaptable light, all layered, rotated, and interwoven with each other, sloping down like natural amphitheaters towards the Park.
The structure comprises three materials – concrete for the foundations and basement, steel, and wood for the structural elements above ground.
The building’s heating and cooling will implement sustainable technologies which, together with photovoltaic panels for power generation, will lead to completely avoid the use of fossil fuels and targets Kuma’s ‘Welcome, feeling at work’ towards a Leed Platinum certification, in a project that preempts the future of workspaces in a post-Covid19 era.

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Kengo Kuma and Associates, ‘Welcome, feeling at work’, Milan, render © Kengo Kuma and Associates.

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Kengo Kuma and Associates, ‘Welcome, feeling at work’, Milan, render © Luxigon


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