Abitare il Bordo
The position of the Rogoredo railway brownfield is located on the border between the urban area of Milan and the Parco Agricolo Sud. The competition brief suggested a multi-scalar reinterpretation of the theme of collective living, from the neighborhood to the city. The design creates a complex enhancing the interactions between the city and the park, both from a functional and a formal point of view. Offices and shops intersect sport and shared green facilities; private spaces coexist with collective and public spaces; different types of buildings are surrounded by a landscape inspired by the local tradition of the marcite. The open space is not delimited, attracting the community of the surrounding blocks while maintaining a formal hierarchy within the spatial relations.
Squeezed between two strong urban elements (via Toffetti and the railway) along the North-South axis, the plot’s main challenge was not to simply distribute the buildings against the tracks. From an urban point of view, the “border condition” between the built and the rural fabric is solved by creating porosity within the complex, opening the project up to the city. Two main entrances open the lot to the neighborhood, breaking the street front and inviting the citizens through an almost scenographic public space. The program includes a series of activities designed to meet the neighborhood needs, such as sports facilities, and some needs from the city, such as an information-tourist point for the Parco Agricolo Sud and the Chiaravalle Abbey. The project becomes a catalyst for the integration and development of the area, in contrast with the radical idea of autonomy and independency of the architectural project. The absence of a solid border between inside and outside is based on the desire to seek urban synergy with the surroundings, so that cooperative living is not only related to the inside of the plot, but to the scale of the neighborhood and the city. Anticipating a growing surrounding urban fabric, the project reserves a large percentage of its surface to specific green areas (sports, leisure and production), so to meet the future needs of the neighborhood.
Public and private functions intersect each other in the project, boosting the development of a synchronic space, that is characterized by multiple activities. Different scales of interaction (inside the project area, the neighborhood and the city) are not articulated according to an internal/external principle, but are rendered with different tactics: differences in heigh, the absence of paving, the different green qualities, the positioning of the buildings. The transition from open public spaces (the squares opening onto the street) to the collective ones (the green courtyards) is never linear, but always involves a change of direction, allowing to manage complexity without resorting to simplistic solutions. In terms of program, the street front and the two squares are characterized by a mainly public and commercial ground floor; the two green courtyards, on the other hand, have a ground floor with a collective vocation and various facilities for residents. The courtyards are protected from the noise coming from the railway by the two outermost buildings. The eastern buildings are partially shielded by the permaculture which characterizes the edge adjacent to the railway. The forest is usable by residents and neighborhood communities according to a cooperative principle, open to the public for educational and recreational purposes. The functional and formal interaction between private, collective and public spaces thus ensures synergy within the lot: cooperation between the parts of the architectural project becomes a metaphor for cooperative living.
To meet the social housing needs for different demographic groups, the project identifies three main residential types based on the size of the family unit: the single apartment, the couple apartment and the family apartment. The two slabs to the east have single apartments, while the other buildings combine family apartments and couple apartments. Variations in size between residences of the same type allow greater adaptability to the needs of an increasingly diverse community. The single apartment is designed for single-person households (students, workers or pensioners). The access corridor, positioned on the railway side, creates a noise barrier that protects the apartments, and constitutes an informal sharing space. The tower’s couple and family apartments all have two views, a loggia, and shared facilities on special floors. In opposition to the idea that community can be forced by relegating essential functions to common spaces, all apartments are equipped with the necessary space for carrying out daily activities, so that shared services are experienced as an added value, and not as a privation. The permaculture, sports facilities and recreational areas guarantee opportunities for collective and cooperative life. Cohousing is therefore reinterpreted not on the scale of the individual building, but on the scale of the entire complex.
Competition organized by Confcooperative with Fondosviluppo spa. Partner FS Sistemi Urbani.
With Tobia Davanzo and Chiara Dorbolò. Images by Giovanni Andrea Coni.