Milanese rivals reveal competing designs for new stadium

Fans of Milan and Internazionale take a selfie ahead of the Serie A match at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

AC Milan and Inter Milan have today (Thursday) presented two design concepts for the stadium they envision will replace the historic Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in the San Siro district of Milan, stating that the project’s strength lies in their commitment to cast aside rivalries to deliver a new home.

The two concepts, from Manica/Sportium and Populous, were unveiled at an event in the Politecnico di Milano after the clubs in July detailed their proposal for a new 60,000-seat stadium that will be the centrepiece of a privately financed €1.2bn ($1.32bn) mixed-use development.

The two rivals, which currently share the Giuseppe Meazza, set out their plans following months of speculation regarding their stadium intentions. Both clubs have long stated their preference for a new stadium rather than the redevelopment of their existing home, which opened in 1926 and was redeveloped to its current capacity of around 80,000 for Italy’s staging of the 1990 Fifa World Cup.

These plans were solidified today with the presentation of the two rival proposals. ‘The Rings of Milano’ project by Manica/Sportium consists of two rings, interlocked and set apart to symbolise the unity of the two clubs in the stadium vision.

The stadium’s linked rings accommodate both LED and architectural solutions for branding and team changeover between matches. The new Stadium of Milano is designed to be integrated into a broader masterplan development that will seek to revitalise and transform San Siro into a park and entertainment district for the people of the city to experience year-round, preserving the original pitch’s location and reimagining it as a gift to the community.

Populous’ proposal, entitled ‘The Cathedral’, draws inspiration from two of Milan’s most iconic buildings; the Duomo and the Galleria. A sunlit galleria encircles the stadium enveloped by a glass façade. The Cathedral has been designed to create a unique home for the fans and supporters with bespoke installations.

The stadium is designed to be the most sustainable in Europe. The galleria is naturally cooled and passively heated, photovoltaic panels line the stadium roof, and all rainwater is collected from the roof and reused. The stadium is surrounded by 22 acres of green space, which reduces water runoff.

Alessandro Antonello, corporate chief executive of Inter Milan, said in a statement: “The new stadium of San Siro will be located in the heart of a highly modern, green and liveable area which will be accessible all year round.

“The project reflects the DNA, made of innovation and progress, which is historically embedded in our city, and the recent progress which has brought Milan back to being an avant-garde, attractive and international city.

“The multi-functional district will be built to the highest standards of eco-sustainability in order to allow the San Siro district to once again re-establish itself as a destination of European and world excellence for sports and entertainment.”

Paolo Scaroni, chairman of AC Milan, added: “AC Milan and FC Internazionale have shared a stadium in San Siro for more than 70 years. The project’s strength is the two club’s commitment together for the new Milano stadium.

“It means increased investments and a common goal to give the city a sports and entertainment district which is alive all year round thanks to events involving both teams and creating jobs for more than 3,500 people.”

The clubs now intend to commence consultations on the project with the City of Milan and fans, with a survey to be launched on a dedicated website for the new stadium. The next major date for the project is October 10 when the Municipality of Milan is set to decide whether to declare it is of public interest.

Concerning the timeline moving forward, Antonello told a press conference today: “The decision (on the winning design) will be made in the coming weeks. There will be an opportunity for all the fans to see the projects and voice their opinion.

“We will consider the aesthetics, the functionality, but also the opinions of the fans. But nothing is written in stone, we are still at the preliminary concepts. Today we have two ideas and then we will go into detail.”

The Inter chief admitted that the Municipality will have the “last word” on the project but maintained that a new stadium, for which the associated mixed-use development has been cited as a key part, is the “best choice” for the city and the fans.

Scaroni also sought to alleviate fears over the reduced capacity of the new stadium, amid concerns that this could result in increased ticket prices. He said: “We will have much more revenue from corporate tickets. But there will be great variability in prices, there will also be popular (prices).

“If we built a stadium with 90,000 seats, it would fill up on a few occasions. Always having the stadium full is another thing. Having it too small, on the other hand, does not guarantee revenues and above all you cannot formulate offers for everyone.”

Approval for the project is not guaranteed with Milan’s Mayor, Giuseppe Sala, having repeatedly stated in the past that he would like the Giuseppe Meazza to remain in place for the 2026 winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and would favour redevelopment.

In June, Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo defeated a rival joint bid from Stockholm-Åre to land the 2026 Games and the San Siro has been targeted to host the opening ceremony. Questioned on whether the new stadium will be ready in time, and whether it could play a role in the Olympics, Antonello said: “Based on the deadline we set…we don’t think we will arrive at the date of the Olympics not ready.

“Once the project has been approved by the Municipality, it takes 36 months. We will be ready for the Games.”