Linate Airport Shopping, Milan

Sealed shopping centres still have their place, particularly as part of noisy airport environments. Designing buildings close to Airports requires particular skill because of the restrictions due to Radar clearances, take-off cones etc., this was particularly true for this site. This concept is designed as a creative response to those very tight restrictions by placing most of the building underground, - not as a basement but as a 'crater' surrounded by a moat which also provides passive cooling. This has the added benefit of creating a spectacular image to passengers flying in and out of Linate Airport.

The design provides over 500,000 sq. ft. of retail space over a two- level development covered by a double-curved elliptical roof, with a footbridge leading directly to the airport. It is designed to provide landside shopping for the airport as well as the general public.

The style of the roof is reflected in the total plan of the building in which the shopping mall is formed between outer and inner ellipses of retail. This innovative design creates an excellent flow pattern, visibility and variety of spaces. A segment of the oval-formed roof is cut away to create a large glazed opening, with terraces on level 2 and panoramic vistas from the food court and fashion boutiques over gardens. This opening creates generous outdoor areas for the restaurants, bars and a creche. The principal anchor tenant will utilise over 100,000 sq ft of space. The other accommodation includes a 2 level fashion emporium in the Central Cross Mall and a large variety of medium and smaller sized units. Throughout the Mall the retail units are interspersed with market stalls, a performance space and chill-out areas. The upper level comprises; fashion boutiques, a food court, the broad expanse of the outside terraces, Multiplex cinemas and a health club.

This is very different to many of our urban design projects but is an equally good example of a very creative response to almost impossible constraints.