Rail yard redevelopment projects create new urban scenarios for Milan
Image from MAD Architects’ proposal for the Farini rail yard in Milan; image courtesy of MAD
Rail yard urban redevelopment projects create new scenarios for Milan
Public green space, social housing, and sustainable mobility.
These are the key-points at the base of all projects developed by five architectural teams which – on a commission by Sistemi Urbani (part of the Italian State Railway Group) – imagined possible future scenarios for Milan, starting from the urban redevelopment of seven disused rail yards (Scali Ferroviari in Italian) in the city: Farini, Porta Genova, Porta Romana, Lambrate, Greco, Rogoredo, and San Cristoforo.
The projects were developed after a publicly open workshop entitled To create a new city from rail yards, which took place in December 2016 and also involved five international architectural offices: EMBT (Benedetta Tagliabue), Mecanoo (Francine Houben ), studio SBA (Stefano Boeri), MAD Architects (Ma Yansong), and Cino Zucchi Architetti (Cino Zucchi ).
All projects by the five teams, each of which advanced proposals for all the seven former rail yard sites, were on view from April 4 to 9 at an exhibition near the Porta Genova rail station, during the Milan Design Week 2017.
EMBT – Team Miralles Tagliabue
Entitled Miracoli a Milano (Miracles in Milan, a reference to a 1950 film by Vittorio de Sica), the project by EMBT – Team Miralles Tagliabue focuses on water as element aimed to unify and regenerate the seven sites each of which, nevertheless, retains its identity and distinct vocation.
Exploting its closeness to the Naviglio canal, Farini will be the site most related to water; Porta Genova will be a site devoted to creativity; and San Cristoforo will accommodate a large botanical garden aimed to education. The Greco site will be dedicated to leisure and entertainment; EMBT see Porta Romana, and Rogoredo as areas ideal for emerging firms, and innovative start-up companies; finally, Lambrate will be a district focused on design.
EMBT – Team Miralles Tagliabue, masterplan of the Farini site; aerial view
EMBT – Team Miralles Tagliabue, the Greco site project; aerial view
Team SBA – Stefano Boeri Architects
Team Boeri proposed a project or urban reforestation for the Milan of the future. Called Il Fiume Verde (The Green River), the project envisages that 90% of the sites’ area will be transformed into an ensemble of public lawns, woods, green spaces, and orchards, interconnected by a sustainable mobility network located in the buffer zone flanking the railroad.
Only the remaining 10% will be built, creating high density urban development strips for housing and workshop reserved to young people, libraries, community health centers, and nursery schools.
Stefano Boeri Architects, rendering of the proposed project for the former Farini rail yard
Stefano Boeri Architects, masterplan of the former Romana rail yard, aerial view
Cino Zucchi Architetti
Sette bellissimi Broli (Seven beautiful gardens) is the project developed by CZA – Cino Zucchi Architetti who consider public open space as the most effective means to influence the urban fabric.
So, green spaces should not be considered urban elements or services like any other, but rather as tools aimed to properly design a city.
The reference to the Brolo (a type of wooded garden) identifies a typically urban green space, clearly defined in its form, yet apt to accommodate various functions. Therefore, all sites will be different from one another; for example, the Farini railway yard will be a urban park, while Porta Romana will be transformed into a large lawn, with a market square located between the bus station and the rail station.
Cino Zucchi Architetti. Scalo Lambrate: aerial view from north-west
Cino Zucchi Architetti, Scalo Farini, view from via Valtellina.
Team Mecanoo imagined the seven rail yards as catalysts for sustainable living.
Seven mobility hubs where different transport means and systems (train, subway, tram, bus, car sharing, and bicycle) meet, and linked to other hubs both within the city and in the entire region.
The Scali are, in Mecanoo’s vision, elements capable to give shape to the city of the future, based on connectivity between people, spaces, and opportunities.
Team Mecanoo, general conceptual scheme which shows the interconnections between all sites
Team Mecanoo, view of the proposal for the Scalo Farini site
In the project Memoria e Futuro: Milano Rinasce (Historical Future: Milan Reborn), MAD imagined Milan as a city made of connections; a sort of ecosystem based on sustainable mobility; from smaller networks – such as cycle lanes, footpaths, and pedestrian zones – to large infrastructural networks.
Through a public transport strategy, both networks integrate to create five micro-systems, based on different spatial concepts, called “City of Connections”, “City of Green”, “City of Living”, “City of Culture”, and “City of Resources”.
MAD Architects, masterplan for Porta Genova, aerial view
MAD Architects, Porta Genova, rendering
Inexhibit’s images from the exhibition in Milan
Installation views of the exhibition which presented all projects in the “Fondo Corsa” space near the Porta Genova rail station, during the Milan Design Week 2017; all photographs © Inexhibit, 2017