MODULATIONS: BETWEEN ART, NATURE AND PEOPLE


The urban space project is a tool capable of stimulating new ways of using space, resources and new lifestyles: another urban scenario for Via Malaga, in Milan, which reinterprets the theme of the ‘grid’, using the modulation as a tool for verifying and guiding the urban project in its various aspects - analysis, reading, synthesis and representation. The reinterpretation of the urban tissue and the desire to be in continuity with it, respecting nature and the already existing buildings, thus lead to the definition of a grid that 'completes' and, at the same time, confers new identity through a 'renewed look'.


Study team: Prof. Barbara Coppetti, Prof. Angela Poletti with Raffaella Cavallaro, Fabio Santonicola.

Work group: Anna Sahakyan, Malihe Moradi, Silvia Garau.




The canal, the ‘hidden garden’, the railway and the historical facades of Via Malaga have a strong visual impact and define the geometry of the area: therefore, so as to identify the anthropic and natural elements that characterise the project area, the design process started with the analysis of the neighbourhood. To find the relationship between these different but complementary elements, the project aims at transforming the hierarchy that connects them in a grid, by its own modulations.


THE DESIGN CONCEPT, WHICH RESPECTS WHAT ALREADY EXISTS AND UNDERLINES ITS VALUE, FITS THE PLACES ON WHICH IT IS WORKING THROUGH AN APPROACH CHARACTERIZED BY SOFT AND STRONG ACTIONS.


The left side of the embankment constitutes the natural part of the project area: for this reason, it was opted for a soft intervention by designing a narrow pedestrian path that varies in width in some sections. On the one hand, in order to give it rhythm, on the other hand, to provide the visitor with the opportunity of enjoying the natural environment of the area by proposing some rest areas. On this side of the bank, the existing trees were maintained and attempts were made to expand the green spaces.

The other side of the bank is an anthropic environment connected to the metropolitan atmosphere of Milan. The built environment continues by following the eastern bank of the canal. In the mineral space of the northern part, the area of ​​the arches, with the noise barrier covering the railway passage and the new café, becomes a new entrance square, designed in a minimal way.



Design strategy diagram

General Masterplan

General Project View


In the southern part, the pedestrian path on the western bank is in three points on the canal. In this way, it allows visitors to have a view of the historic facades and to enjoy the perspective of the entire north-south axis, from the arches to Piazza Bilbao. The rhythm in the façade is dictated by three steel and glass covers where the Artkademy artists can exhibit their works.


In addition, to improve the connection between the project area and the centre of the city, a cycle path is linked to the existing ones. Following the canal, it goes through the mineral space and exits the area by crossing the arches in the north. In order to attract people from outside of the project area and to encourage them to cross the arches and enter the area, the sidewalks of Viale Cassala were redesigned by following the grid obtained by analyzing the existing urban tissue. This principle was also used for the crossings on via Bussola, designed to link the southern and the northern part of the project.



Focus on the natural paths and the covered passages

The design had to respond to the several issues Artkademy asked to deal with and also had to be in line with the main activities handled by the association. With regard to the arches, two studios were located in the semi-isolated arches, and also three workshops, three galleries and an administrative office, which are connected by a transparent volume made of glass. Two of them are designed to be entrances: one for pedestrians and the other for cyclists. Moreover, the railway's noises are contrasted by the noise barrier, characterised by a geometric pattern similar to the bridge next to it, with a peculiar texture and orientation that also allows the installation of solar panels on it.


Another issue raised by the association was the pollution of the canal: a problem that was addressed by implementing a phytodepuration system along all the banks of the canal and by the creation of several floating islands, composed of different species of aquatic plants. The aquatic ecosystem is an economical and resourceful cleaning technique for phytoremediation of a large contaminated area. Aquatic plants act as a natural absorber of contaminants and heavy metals. Removing several heavy metals along with other contaminants through the application of aquatic plants is the most effective and economical method.



THE 'LINE OF NATURE' IS THEREFORE CHARACTERIZED BY A SERIES OF SPECIFIC AND SMART 'SOFT' INTERVENTIONS, WHILE FOR THE 'MINERAL LINE' IT WAS OPTED FOR A SERIES OF 'STRONG' INTERVENTIONS THAT, ON ONE SIDE, INTEGRATE THE EXISTING ARCHITECTURE AS IN THE CASE OF ANSA DEPOSITS, AND, ON THE OTHER SIDE, ADD THE NEW VOLUME OF THE FAB LAB, IN ORDER TO FIND A CONTINUITY AND COMPLETE THE EXISTING URBAN TISSUE.



Following this approach, the existing buildings of the Ansa were used to create new offices and a mural exhibition, integrated with a new wing, in the northern part, which connects the old volumes and where the cafè is located as an element that completes the square of the arches and as entrance to the courtyard of the Ansa.


A new scenario for the ANSA deposit

Exploded view of the ANSA deposit

The new FabLab in its design takes inspiration from the shapes of the historical buildings in Via Malaga. Its modulations were created by following the grids of the Artkademy`s building and taking into account the heights of the existing buildings in the area. By using glass for the facades of the ground floor, the floating effect is conveyed to the modulations of the first floor. Besides containing administrative, service and flexible areas, the ground floor also has a large ramp gallery which connects the floors and hosts small exhibitions on it. In addition, the first floor has a residential area and more flexible areas. The metal veil covering the building gives the opportunity to provide a solid form during daytime and transparency at night and also allows to control isolation. The roof slopes are suitable for rainwater harvesting, which will be used for gardening at a later time.



Through the use of the SnTool it was possible to monitor the improvement in terms of sustainability that the project will bring. In particular, we analysed the impact of the project from different points of view: from the field of climate change, from the field of energy and from the social field. The changes will surely have positive results in the area, with varying degrees, thus the implementation of the interventions in the area will contribute on different scales to make the neighbourhood more sustainable and decrease the footprint on the environment. In fact, the social outcomes will be higher than the energy ones, but they are also, undoubtedly, the ones that will encourage a major civic commitment and mobilisation.