The two rival clubs both play their home games at the San Siro — which was built in 1925 and is the largest stadium in Italy with a capacity of 80,000 — and would share the new venue as well. The two architectural firms revealed their plans at a presentation at Milan's Politecnico university, with Manica-Cmr Sportium showcasing its "The Rings of Milano" design and Populous presenting its "The Cathedral" project.
"We believe we have a very exciting project and one which we believe will be a shining light for the city of Milan and also for Italian football," Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis said. "It's about bringing two clubs to where they belong ... but also bringing Italian football back to where it belongs. We're absolutely convinced we can do that. The top clubs around the world are built on solid foundations and the first foundation is a world class stadium."
The city council will decide whether to give the green light to one of the designs following a collaborative consultation with the clubs, fans and residents. It could also opt instead to renovate the existing stadium, which would cost an estimated 510 million euros compared to the 650 million euros required for a new stadium.
However, the clubs insisted that is an "unfeasible" option for a number of reasons, not least because it would lead to a loss of revenue as the two clubs would have to play their home matches in another city during the construction works.
A new stadium would take approximately three years to build while renovation works would have an estimated duration of five to six years, with any delays potentially putting at risk its planned use for the opening ceremony of the 2026 Winter Olympics.
The stadium designs are part of a larger redevelopment project for the surrounding San Siro area and for which the clubs said they envisage private investment of 1.2 billion euros. The execution of the plan and the subsequent management would be regulated by a 90-year land-use rights concession to the clubs by the city of Milan.
Both projects would bring the fans closer to the field than the existing stadium and both also give a nod to the old stadium. Manica's designs would see the old pitch preserved and used as a public park, while Populous plans to put a museum on the site of the old field, with the entrance where the center circle was.
It also incorporates 22 acres of green space for public use. The stadium designed by Populous — an American firm — has echoes of famous Milan sites such as the Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and incorporates a gallery covered by glass. It also boasts that it will be the most sustainable stadium in Europe.
Populous has been working with the clubs for more than a year, in sharp contrast to Manica. "We were given about four weeks to come up with that design," company president David Manica told The Associated Press. "Unfortunately the other team had been working with the clubs for about a year. So we had a very, very short timeframe to come up with the idea and put all that together.
"They (Populous) had spent some time working with the clubs to help the clubs understand if a stadium was the right thing to do or not and then for whatever reason they decided to ask other architects for their ideas as well and so we were invited for the international competition and now we're finalists."
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