Part of the integrated urban redevelopment project for Milan’s Cascina Merlata residential district, this development is a natural extension of the large public park created to reinvigorate the area
The Cascina Merlata integrated urban redevelopment plan is a broad-based project for reinvigorating an extensive area on the northeastern outskirts of Milan. The project includes new residential developments, a shopping district, a large public park, schools, a dense network of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and a train station between the MIND and Cascina Merlata districts.
The new district plays an important role as an extension of the city that’s set to become a hub of tomorrow’s Milan.
The Up Town residential complex comprises two sites, R2 and R3, on which three linear blocks and four towers have been built. Arranged along the main axis of the park, which runs from north to south between the old center of Cascina Merlata and the shopping district, the buildings are oriented to reflect its layout, with the towers on the eastern edge of the site and the linear blocks to the west.
The two sites are connected by a pedestrian path, which leads to two squares, both demarcated by the towers. The masterplan also includes spaces for public use, seamlessly connected to the park so there are no divisions between public and private spaces, as well as spaces adjacent to the individual buildings for the sole use of residents.
The volumetric composition created by the alternating linear and tower blocks is intended to create a dynamism, while opening up the views from each building over the park. Natural light and ventilation are free to enter the sites, improving its microclimate.
The buildings host a variety of dwellings, ranging from studio to five-room apartments. The floorplans are flexible and customizable, typically with the living areas on the western side and the sleeping areas on the east, ensuring as much natural light as possible. Each building has common areas for residents at ground level, which include co-working spaces, laundries, storage rooms, and a sauna. Each apartment also has a deep terrace, offering views over the park while also blocking direct sunlight.
The façades are characterized by their projecting terraces and different material finishes: lightweight cellular concrete blocks with a layer of mineral wool insulation, and a ventilated façade comprising ceramic panels in neutral colors with a Ceppo di Gré stone or concrete finish. The architects have used sunscreens, with vertical blades and bronze-colored steel profiles, as a geometric element to inject a dynamism into the façades. The glass and bronze-colored steel profile balustrades lighten the profile of the buildings, accentuating the projecting terraces.
Finally, a great deal of attention went into the greenery and street furniture. The paving is either natural stone or concrete blocks, recalling the finish of the façades. The metal grillwork fences demarcating the common spaces recall the terrace balustrades.
Location: Milan, Italy
Architects: SSA Scandurra Studio Architettura, ZDA Zanetti Design Architettura
Project Management: Recchi Engineering
Gross Floor Area: 42,713 m2
Structural Engineering: Ai Group
MEP Consultants: Ai Group
Landscape Architect: Aap Studio
Masterplanning: Studio FOA
Photography by Andrea Martiradonna courtesy of ZDA Zanetti Design Architettura