Following an international competition that featured 27 groups comprised of 71 studios from nine different countries, SOM has been selected to design the Olympic Village for the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics.
The new Olympic Village will transform the Porta Romana district, creating a sustainable urban community and offer a new model for Olympic facilities to serve post-Olympic social goals. The village encompasses a set of public green spaces, the transformation of two historic structures, and six new mass timber residential buildings that will serve Olympic athletes in the short term.
After the Olympics, the athletes homes will be reused for student housing; the park and railway side buildings near the Olympic Square will be used for affordable housing; and the Olympic Village Plaza will become a neighborhood square with shops, bars, restaurants, and cafes planned at street level, along with outdoor space for farmers’ markets and other community events.
“Rather than ceasing to be of use after the Olympics, the Porta Romana Olympic Village will ultimately become a vibrant, self-sustaining neighborhood built around the principles of social equity, environmental commitment, wellness, and inclusivity,” said SOM Design Partner Colin Koop, in a release. “The village adopts the rhythm of the area’s streetscape, creating a porous urban block with a variety of public spaces and communal anchors that will enhance Milan’s vibrant tapestry of ground floor experiences.”
The new buildings take architectural inspiration from the historic buildings of Milan, featuring contemporary materials and communal terraces. Shaded by vertical plantings, these terraces serve as bridges between the buildings, becoming signature gathering spaces and outdoor study rooms for students. The integration of greenery within the outdoor areas will contribute to the neighborhood’s climate resilience while also creating space for urban farms that enable on-site for production.
The village’s mechanical systems will tie in to the precinct’s loops, with passive cooling strategies, solar panels, and rooftop gardens ensuring more than 30% of the energy used will be produced on site. Stormwater will be collected on site and reused, with a reduction in the use of drinking water by 50% and CO2 reduction of 40% for heating and cooling. The village will target minimal environmental impact in accordance with Nearly Zero Energy Building requirements.
Construction of the Olympic Village is slated to be completed by July 2025.