A new piece of city

An urban regeneration project

SeiMilano, for which MCA designed the overall masterplan and the individual functions, is a mixed-use project situated south-west of Milan, in the green belt that is part of the general ecological infrastructure passing through the city and surrounding it.
The fundamental idea of the project is to create an inhabited park for sport and leisure that is open to the city and is surrounded by the various functions envisaged in the implementation plan.

The masterplan for SeiMilano is based on the relationship between the design of the new park and the way in which the buildings are configured, fragmenting the built volumes in ways that favour permeability between the park, the residential buildings, the offices, and the other functions, the public/private spaces, and the rest of the city, thus pursuing a model of urban development characterised by a close symbiosis between architecture and landscape that is a version of the “garden city” idea.

SeiMilano identifies a place where functions and identities are concentrated in a way that is typical of the urban dimension: residential blocks that are mainly vertical, spaces for work and retail, and facilities for social or leisure activities, arranged around spaces that have strongly urban connotations such as squares and boulevards.

Visual by MCA Visual

Plan by MCA

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The underlying idea of the project is to create an inhabited park that is open to the city, dedicated to sport and leisure, with the planned future functions distributed around it and arranged along two strongly urban lines of development located on the northern and eastern boundaries of the site, leaving the green areas of the park uncontaminated.

The true backbone of the new masterplan is the axis serving the area that runs along the north-south axis of the boulevard, which is accessible to vehicles and connects the office accommodation, the retail, and part of the residential buildings. Along the northern edge, where the remainder of the residential buildings are located, a pedestrian boulevard also plays a fundamental role by connecting back to the existing urban fabric at the centre of an area where at present the existing cultural, religious, and sport functions are disconnected from one another.

Visual by Borio Mangiarotti

The residential buildings develop along two distinct linear axes. Along one of these (the north-south axis) 20 buildings, square on plan, are aligned in different ways and rotated to ensure their frontages are not rigidly uniform, optimising their outlook and orientating them towards the new public park. A series of plinths at the base of these buildings containing garages, storage cellars, and plantrooms enable a raised level of communal squares to be created; these in effect become terraces with views over the park. In their architectural characterisation, they act as a succession of green steps connecting the ground and first floors of the buildings to the level of the new boulevard.

The residential buildings are divided into three different types (“loggia”, “balcony”, and “conservatory/bay window”) to give an aesthetic language that stems from the intention to provide the aesthetic and morphological variety that is typically found in urbanised contexts.

With that in mind, the starting point for designing the residential buildings was to carry out research into Milanese rationalist architecture, with the aim of identifying its salient features, from which we were then able to move towards defining a new contemporary language that consists of clear, simple linear features.

Along the second of the two linear axes (at the north-east-western extremity) 11 buildings of varying heights are set out on two alignments, with the taller blocks to the north and the lower blocks towards the park. A series of three communal squares on the podiums of these buildings provide a focus for social and neighbourhood activities, and act as a visual connection with the park opposite. These raised open spaces are part of the residential buildings but are also designed to offer the public the maximum physical and visual openness with a series of ramps, flights of steps, and green pools, and in effect are large terraces overlooking the landscape. Towards the park, the built volumes are lower and become more sparse, generating a succession of private gardens, vegetable plots, and open areas for the use of the residents, equipped for play and sports. The buildings in this part of the development are of two types: towers on the street side, and apartments with balconies on the park side.

Visual by Borio Mangiarotti

Visual by Borio Mangiarotti

The very careful way in which the shared spaces have been designed derives from the desire to introduce an urban landscape system: areas for public use that are easily identifiable and are given more importance than the private spaces by interrupting their sequencing so that they acquire greater visual significance. At one time, these parts of developments used to be considered accessory areas (connecting bridges, circulation spaces, and private attics) but now, in this project, they become the focus for a collective life that consists of shared activities and types of behaviour that define the very identity of the place.

Visual by MCA Visual

This consists of three towers rising to different heights (7-16 storeys) containing office and retail spaces; they slope towards the south to ensure the volumetric arrangement of the project is internally harmonious and to ensure that as much natural daylight as possible can enter the interiors and the pedestrian square. The towers are square or rectangular so that there is a close dialogue between them and the volumetric shapes of the residential buildings.

The three towers mark the “gateway” to SeiMilano. The tallest, which is located in the north-eastern part of the site, is visually the strongest element in the project as a whole.

The way in which the three towers are arranged creates a space that is closed towards Via Bisceglie but is open towards the residential buildings and the new park, thereby creating a new piazza at the foot of the office buildings.

The stepped base of the podium provides a further analogy with the bases of the adjacent residential buildings, with flights of steps that will become a new meeting point for visitors to the office complex and those who work there, and will be enriched with native vegetation and shrubs (giving preference to plants that require minimal irrigation) to create a close visual relationship between the outdoor spaces and the new functions that will become established at the ground floors (recreation rooms, entrance atriums, lobbies, circulation spaces, etc.), reinforcing the visual continuity between the exterior and the interior. The natural light, the transparent surfaces, and the double-height spaces of the atriums at the ground floors add an aesthetic lightness to the project, creating a relationship and a dialogue between the indoor functions and the outdoor square.

Visual by MCA Visual

Visual by MCA Visual

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