In February 2018 as part of our Cities and Culture module of our Urban Design course we embarked on a trip to the one of the most design orientated cities in the world Milan, Italy. During our time there we were to, within groups of 4, regenerate a relatively small plot of land that was facilitated by a structure originally designed by famous Italian architect Aldo Rossi. In this blog I will talk about our experience in Milan as well as the project that we took part in.
After arriving late on the Sunday night and quickly enjoying some of the Italian cuisine (Pizza), we were up early the next morning to meet up with the rest of the group and make our first visit to the site. Upon arrival it was hard to really see why this was such a significant space in Milan, the grass was over-grown, it was covered in litter and much like the rest of that suburban part of Milan had Graffiti on every possible façade. However, after coming face to face with Rossi’s incomplete San Cristoforo Station it was hard to deny that the sheer monometalism of the building was anything less than extraordinary.
Originally being designed as a railway station for international travel of passengers and vehicles it is grand in scale but was left as merely a shell of a building after its construction plans were cancelled half way through. Additionally, along with the Rossi building another important consideration for this project was how the site relates to the Naviglio Grande, a canal located adjacent to the sites southern edge.
Over the following days we analysed the site and conducted research at the Politecnico Di Milan. Talks from the Universities senior professors were held for us to help develop our projects and give us more of an insight in to the rich history of Milan’s architecture and relation to its water system.
The Final Presentation
On the final day we presented our initial ideas for the project to an audience of our peers and professors from the university to get some final thoughts on our direction for the project before we took it home to develop further. Our final design looked at celebrating the Rossi structure by leaving it is exactly how it was and instead working with the site. We put forward the idea of using the building as a central storage facility for modular pods that could be moved around the site for spaces of work and recreation tapping in to the themes of Arts and Design that is resonated throughout Milan.
The trip was undoubtedly an enjoyable one regardless of the long days spent working and it was clear that everyone was surprised but ultimately found it very beneficial working within a completely different atmosphere to what are normally used to.