Evolving Urban Fabric

Isola is home to Google Italia and Pandora, mediating residential buildings with the new high-rise development of Porta Nuova.

Isola – Google Italy Headquarters,
Milan, Italy

William McDonough + Partners brings Cradle to Cradle thinking to Italy with Isola, a ten-story office building now home to Google Italia and Pandora. The site is part of the Porta Nuova project, a 340,000 square meter development that reclaims an abandoned area of Milan with housing, retail, offices, cultural venues, a community center, an exhibition space, and a local government hub. Located on a critical site that mediates between the existing context of low rise residential buildings and the new high rise development of Porta Nuova, Isola is a bold, yet seamless, addition to the evolving urban fabric.

Isola succeeds in optimizing the workplace environment through a rational floor plate and optimized core layout, natural ventilation, access to the outdoors through a series of exterior terraces, and a high-performance glazing system that maximizes views and transparency while minimizing heat gain. The massing includes a rhythmic pattern of variously scaled openings, giving depth and texture to the façade. Terra cotta cladding and the service core blocks are located to block the intense afternoon sun, while the glazing system includes varying degrees of opacity to respond to the site’s orientation and context.


Hines Italia


Commercial offices


8,600 square meters


Completed in 2012


William McDonough + Partners, Design Architect
TEKNE, S.p.A., Architect of Record
Arup, Structural Engineering
Hilson Moran, MEP Engineering
Studio di Ingegneria Rigone, Façade Consultant
LAND, Landscape
J&A Consultants, Cost

Awards + Certifications

2018 MIPIM Awards, Best Urban Regeneration Project: Porta Nuova