The teams say they initially considered changes to present-day San Siro, but quickly concluded that logistical issues and delays would be too great to overcome. What they have proposed instead is a 60,000 seat arena next door. Once built, present-day San Siro will come down and give way to public space that could include elements of its iconic towers and ramps, according to designs by Populous, the American architectural firm whose proposal was chosen.
“I think these buildings are containers, and that’s why the old buildings have such an emotion to them that the idea that part of them can remain, if it can be there as a marker of the history of what came before, is quite a It’s a nice idea,” said Chris Lee, director of Populous. “You have to be careful about literally transferring too much of that into new buildings, where it can easily turn into the pastiche of trying to recreate a building.”
Opposition is to be expected, Lee said. In Milan, it has emerged in various forms.
Milan’s mayor, Beppe Sala, has generally supported the project, but has warned both clubs that city-owned San Siro will remain at least until 2026, when it is expected to host the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.
Another group, the Si Meazza Commission, has taken a crackdown on the mere idea of the demolition of the San Siro, described by the most prominent voices – lawyers, concert promoters and former politicians – as a symbol of Milan known all over the world, a stage where Diego Maradona, Bob Dylan and Beyoncé have performed. Other critics pointed to the environmental impact of demolishing a stadium, highlighting renderings that they claimed showed the job could be done for half the cost while preserving the original arena.
However, some fear the die has been cast: A future without the San Siro received the tacit approval of the Italian heritage authority in 2020 when it raised no objection to the stadium’s demolition. In November, the project was declared in the public interest (under certain conditions) by city officials.