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Milan, Italy


Europan 12  competition

site: Porto di Mare

15 /  09   /   2013

Community garden

Wool factory terrace's re-conversion

Urban Regeneration 

“The sailor’s happy when he’s in the middle of the ocean as he knows that the city is just beyond the horizon”. Luigi Snozzi, Progetti e architetture 1957 -1984, 1984


These words identify the whole concept; Porto di Mare represents a safe docking to the city, the urban and rural park is like an unexplored ocean where you venture to discover the wealth and the abundance of resources and the sailors in the end are like a community, the group of people living in the area.

In this metaphor we, the architects, are part of a crew and we have to lead the ship towards the city with a project of roads, networks and systems fitting to what we have been asked by our captains, the potential investors, and shared with our officers.




The project takes place inside Parco Agricolo Sud which, covering a vast area between Milan the south border of the province, is one of the largest parks of Lombardy.

The project aims the redevelopment of these farmsteads through a better and positive use of the spaces and their connection with the environment and natural surroundings, food, culture and history.


The farmhouse is now a multipurpose space managed by local social associations aiming to become a nerve centre for the whole neighbourhood and area spreading formation, education, culture and integration.

The agricultural park, after an environmental redevelop which is necessary due to the presence there of an ex garbage dumb and an ex quarry, becomes now a beach ready to be enjoyed by the whole community of people living there and close by as well as travellers stopping by in this new green space. 

The park is a melting pot of different people and ethnic groups and a meeting point able to promote integration of different cultures such as the gypsies and the groups from Maghreb, now all living in the park but in very secluded and closed communities.





The mark of the Deck brings in a new soul to the whole area of the project, now lacking connecting systems, a real social integration and care of the private and public urban spaces. In this network between the park and Milan, the harbour becomes the centre of many activities; amusement and hobby, work, culture, education, meetings, originating new buildings and making it then the beating heart of the project.

Following a size hierarchy the deck is made of pépites, boats and lighthouse.

The pépites are small diamonds living in the harbour: they dived in closed pépites, destined to shops and associations, and open pépites, with a sort of cultural and recreational vibe, and even living and commercial one such as the market.

The closed pépite is a productive space and the architectural shape identifying it is the farmhouse with a lowered roof to allow a continuity of view and perspective on the park. On the shorter part there are solar panels whilst the irregular open spaces create a recurring lights effect.

The boat is a place of production locally based; it sticks to the docks or sails in the park. The latter has a very close relation with the deck as it has the double role of productive atelier when it sticks to the port (corten or vetroceramica) and of art&show atelier (corten or mother-of-pearl) when it walks away from it. Its shape is characterised by a 20-degree tilt angle and composes the bow of the building.

The lighthouse is a landmark standing out as a statue in the city skyline; it’s a sort of compass as each elements it’s made of overlooks at the cardinal points, or the project landscapes: the city, the park, the agricultural land and Chiaravalle Abbey.




The residences system can be seen as made following two axes:

  • a formal process of movement from the city towards the countryside

  • an informal process viceversa from the countryside towards the city


The first one stands for the life history of a inhabitant who starts in the city his first steps of growth and development living with his parents. When he is entering the university world he is going to share a flat with his mates; then, when ready for a family, he is in search of a more fitting place for his needs until drifting away from the city and moving towards the countryside.

The second process stands for the life history of an immigrant and, to be more precise and to narrow down it to the project area, of a gypsy who along with his mates forms a secluded and close community, very rarely leaving its borders and shelters. Then following a process of integration they start moving out and settling in wider and spreader areas; at last, when the integration has finally succeeded, they change again and move into the city.

Special thanks to:

Fabio Cirrincione, architect

Michela Guglielmi, architect 

Marina Della Paolera, architect

Francesco Loconte, architect  

Paolo Silvestre, architect  

Fabio Cosimo Manfredi, architect