The project site is surrounded by a post-industrial context that has been changing its aspect in the past years through a process of urban renovation. The area is in the east side of Milan, close to the highway and train infrastructure but also to a big linear park that once completed will connect the neighbourhood to other parts of the city generating a green link.
The building was designed as a compact block made of two main juxtaposed parts: a retail podium and a residential volume. The two elements are different for program, geometry and materials yet they have a very strong and clear relationship. The vertical residential block penetrates the podium generating the main lobby and defining the only element that touches the ground in continuity with the upper block. The glass facades of the retail are setback from the main volume; a truss beam that defines a porch and a protected area for the entrances to the retail part supports the generous cantilever. Glass facade characterizes the podium facing both the main side of the building, north oriented, and the inner courtyard, while the east and west facades are made of continuous concrete walls. The transversal transparency of the podium enhances a visual continuity throughout the site.
The building is setback from the main road; a green and a paved area occupy the space that faces Rubattino Street; the pedestrian path continues all around the ground floor guarantying continuity in the lot. A ramp at the northwest side allows entrance to the basement parking; a U shaped road surrounds the building serving a drop-off, a load area and the parking lots in the backyard.
The podium footprint is 34,4x22,6m, the residential building is 34,4x10m and reaches up to seven stories high. The vertical circulation is arranged by a core with elevator and staircases that connects the levels from the basement to the top; at each floor the distribution to the units occurs via a long balcony/galley that characterizes the south façade. There are 23 residential units and two shop units at the ground floor. Typical floor type has two 1br units in the middle that face the public route and two 2br units at the two corners that have the private terrace. The linear distribution allows optimizing the circulation space; all the units enjoy a double orientation, the corner units a triple one. The use of the outdoor spaces in the generous balcony is encouraged; all the living rooms face the balcony easily extending indoor life to the outdoor. At the fist floor it’s located a common space, directly connected to the public balcony ad a playground area that sits on top the podium’s roof providing an integrated system of outdoor-indoor facilities for the residents; the space is surrounded by a lush roof-garden that separates it from an area covered by photovoltaic panels on the south side of the roof.
The building massing relates to the context conditions yet optimizes the solar orientation. The rectangular podium, conceived as a pure volume, opaque on the sides and completely transparent on the two fronts supports the residential block; the cantilever on the main façade and on the southern part of the retail floor allows for open covered public spaces in continuity with the street level and the pedestrian areas. A sunken terrace on the roof provides outdoor facilities accessible at the first floor level.
Entirely clad in dark grey bricks on the north-east-west facades, the compact residential volume has a more urban character on the main front; the north façade is mainly characterized by staggered bay windows made of a frameless glass flush with the bricks, and an operable wooden door on the inner side of the exterior wall. Some of them are connected to shallow balconies. The wide openings and the three-dimensional windows lighten the massive volume and give a sense of transparency in contrast with the dark bricks. The regularity is broken at the sixth floor till the top; the volume is set back in some parts generating a more complex shape and allowing to use the roof of the stepped volumes as terraces for the top units with a view on the city. On the south side the strategy is to provide a more intimate environment related to the domestic life. Protruding deep balconies run all along the facade, they function both as circulation galleries, in the central part accessible from the core, both as private terraces on the sides. The volume is slightly oblique on the south-east side, the balcony follows the same angle on the opposite side generating a long rhomboidal shape and giving a dynamic perception of the façade plus a subtle variation of the spaces.
The south facade is finished with corrugated beige-greyish plaster and vertical wooden fins aligned with the openings, that give an alternated rhythm each other floor; the windows have aluminium frames, the ones in the living room are next to the wooden egress door. The space is quiet and cosy, it’s protected from the traffic noise of the main road and has a nice view on the podium's roof garden and on the historical Martinitt complex.
Status: Construction Permit
Category: Architectural - Residential / Retail
Location: Milan, Italy
Site: On a former industrial site, east side of the city
Site Area: 2175 m2, GFA 2147,5 m2
Architect: MAR office
Team: Renato Juarez Corso & Paola Mongiu with Francesca Ambrosi, Federico Bettazzi, Daniele Bonetti, Gianluigi Formentin, Nicola Provenzano, Andres Silva, Valentina Smirenina, Elizaveta Sudravskaya
Structural engineer: ARCHITECNICA s.r.l
Mep/Service engineers: RMM Engineers
Acoustic, Fire safety: ARCHITECNICA s.r.l