It has already been named the Cathedral. The inspiration for Milan’s new stadium, to be designed by architecture studio Populous, has been the Italian city’s famous Duomo with its soaring white spires.
The controversial decision to replace the iconic San Siro stadium, home of Milanese football since 1926, with a brand-new building has just been announced by the city’s Municipality and its two football clubs, Inter Milan and AC Milan.
Populous was chosen because of its track record in designing over 3,000 sports arenas worth $40 billion, including the Yankee Stadium in New York. The Olympic Stadium in Sydney and, in London, the Emirates Stadium, the Olympic Stadium as well as the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The existing, much-loved stadium, seen by many as a symbol of Milan, will remain in use until 2026, as it will host the opening ceremony of the 2026 Winter Olympics. It will be demolished after the Games, although one of the cylindrical towers, a later addition built for the 1990 football World Cup, will be retained in the project put forward by Populous.
Construction of the new stadium will begin alongside San Siro to make sure it will be ready to hold football games from 2027 onwards.
The new rectangular-shaped stadium will have 60,000 seats – less than San Siro’s current 85,000 capacity – to make it “more intimate”, Populous said, allowing fans to be as close as possible to the action. The main structure will be surrounded by vertical fins that extend outwards to support a glass wall that will enclose a public space described by the architects as a “sunlit galleria”.
The Cathedral aims to be the most sustainable stadium in the world, with photovoltaic panels on the roof, where rainwater will also be collected and used, and state of the art sound-proofing and ventilation.
The high-tech design includes features such as lighting that will allow all the lights to turn red and blue (Inter’s colours) or red and black (Milan’s colours) according to which of the two Milan football teams is playing.
“The Cathedral will become one of the most iconic stadiums in world football”, said Christopher Lee, managing director, Populous. “It will create a world-class, modern, and truly bespoke home for the legendary clubs of AC Milan and FC Internazionale Milano and form the beating heart of a new civic district”.
The project involves much more than a new football stadium, which will become the hub of a new leisure, sport and fitness area with over 110,000 sq m of green space. The entire mixed-use district, which will include some offices and retail, will be pedestrianised, with all car parking moved underground.