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In 1950, Alberto Pirelli, the President of the Pirelli Company, ordered that a skyscraper be built in the area where the corporation's First factory was located in the 19th century. The project was developed by architect Gio Ponti, with the assistance of Pier Luigi Nervi and Arturo Danusso.
The base of the building is about 1,900 m2 (20,000 sq ft), with a length of 75.5 m (248 ft) and a width of 20.5 m (67 ft).  The construction used about 30,000 m3 (1,100,000 cu ft) of concrete. The building weighs about 70,000 t (69,000 long tons; 77,000 short tons) with a volume of 125,324 m3 (4,425,800 cu ft).
Characterized by a bold structural skeleton, smooth refined curtain wall facades, and tapered sides like the bow of a ship, it was among the first skyscrapers to abandon the customary block form. Until recently, it was the tallest building in Italy. The architectural historian Hasan-Uddin Khan praised it as 'one of the most elegant tall buildings in the World' and as one of the 'few tall European buildings [that made] statements that added to the vocabulary of the skyscraper'.
Pirelli building was the inspiration for the design of the Pan Am Building (now MetLife Building) in New York and Alpha Tower in Birmingham.
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