International Competition «Milano/2: new urban spaces for pubblic housing developement» (via Giambellino) Second prize

As stated in the preliminary design document, the new building complex must not be a “mere object” placed on the territory but must have an “urban social” character.

The first definition excludes proposing a self-referential artifact that justifies its existence with free formal variations, both in the layout (abstract geometric patterns) and in the appearance of the individual elements (free articulations of the composition). This is what we have avoided doing.

The second statement is more complex, as the two words “urban” and “social” open up to many possible interpretations. For us, the “urban” character coincides with the need and the pleasure of “living in the city” where many people live, where there are many activities and relationships and perhaps there are traces of human activity and its history; but “the urban” is also “social”, and the word social can particularly recall a sense of community, solidarity, and participation.

Urban sociality can have different dimensions: those of the citizen of the whole city (of the metropolis) or that of the citizen of the neighborhood (to which all the intermediate dimensions are added).

From these brief considerations a purpose can arise: to conceive a project that gives us a sense of the specificity of the place, of the whole that is collected in the place, of the possibility and ease of establishing relationships, of specificity and quality of spaces and images that they offer, and on the other hand, make a project that is capable of starting a dialogue with the other parts of the city, near and far, that is, capable of engaging with the excellent or poor (sweet or violent) products and achievements that are part of the urban imaginary and of the continuous criticism that involves Milan and beyond.

In other words, the identity and intimacy of the neighborhood must not be pleased with a false vernacular that has the flavor of defending or rejecting the contradictory values of urban settlements.

The theme is interesting: being at home, grasping a reassuring identity, but feeling by virtue of one’s own specificity and difference, a critical element of the complex reality that surrounds us.

Project team:

Derossi Associati (Pietro Derossi, Paolo Derossi, Davide Derossi)