Milano Santa Giulia

A green and blue ecosystem that extends into the urban network

A neighbourhood that is connected: Milan's southern gateway

Milano Santa Giulia is one of the most important urban regeneration areas in the city. Promoted by Lendlease, it acts as a link between the capital city of the Lombardy region and its southern provinces, and also functions as a central hub for various territorial systems: axial connections (to Linate airport, the ring road and motorway system, the Rogoredo high-speed national railway station, and metro lines M3 and M4); territorial infrastructure such as the main fruit and vegetable market, the former slaughterhouse, and the Porta Romana railway yard; historic cores that consist primarily of residential areas (Rogoredo); urban "voids" that are the remnants of natural spaces within the metropolitan area (Chiaravalle, Parco Monluè, the River Lambro with its park, and the Parco Forlanini). This dialogue with the landscape is in fact a cornerstone of the project: the mobility and transport infrastructure throughout the neighbourhood connect to these urban green spaces, to the designated agricultural areas in the southeast part of the territory, and to the waterways. This generates a contemporary centre that is energised by open and natural spaces. On the one hand it preserves the integrity of the existing urban fabric while amplifying its regenerative impact, and on the other hand it connects to the surrounding context, assimilating its proportions, morphology, and identity.

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The urban design of Milano Santa Giulia draws inspiration from the leaves and veins of plants. These elements are comparable to ecosystems; they communicate information internally and react to external stimuli by perceiving their environment. Employing both active and passive mechanisms, they harness the surrounding energy to engage in complex movements, optimising their adaptation to external factors. That is the inspiration from which the masterplan for Milano Santa Giulia emerges: a piece of city that lives in relation to its context as an ecosystem developed along two main axes that distinguish the built space and the green space.

Planimetry by MCA

Visual by MCA VIsual

Visual by MCA Hido

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Visual by MCA Visual

The project – for which the intervention area is to be registered in the LEED Neighbourhood Development protocol – envisages a functional mix: at its heart is a spacious urban park that will rank as the third largest in Milan, complemented by sports and leisure facilities. Surrounding it, four significant public functions are planned: a Children’s Museum, a second campus for the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Music, named ‘il Bosco della Musica’ (the Music Grove); an arena for events, and a contemporary shopping district alongside essential services catering to both individuals and businesses, which will either be located within preserved existing structures or integrated into the ground floors of some of the new buildings. This will construct an urban ‘network’ that not only serves the emerging neighbourhood but also the city that receives it.

The project establishes a natural geometric order that is characterised by a series of axes of which the two most important are the “diagonal” axis, primarily dedicated to cycling, pedestrian traffic, and public transport, traversing the park to link Piazza Tina Modotti with the northernmost section of Milano Santa Giulia, and a pedestrian axis bordering the park, running along the edge of a large lake-to-be. The design of the ‘crescent’ and urban boulevards that form the backbone of the urban fabric of the neighbourhood is grafted on to the structure of these routes, connecting a system of squares and public functions that are interwoven with open spaces, tree-lined avenues, residential streets, and gardens. In this ‘compact’ city the primary traffic artery is the outer ring road, which is situated adjacent to the areas with the highest infrastructure density, and is kept at a distance from the heart of the urban life.

Functional diagram by MCA

Visual by Emme Works

Visual by Emme Works

A preliminary climate analysis considered the shadowing and solar radiation at the urban scale, and made it possible to develop an environmental matrix. This matrix facilitated the identification of ad-hoc strategies for various areas within the development. By modelling the buildings in the master plan and strategically orientating and optimising their mass, this will make it possible to effectively manage direct solar gains. This approach will also maximise the efficiency of renewable energy generation and internal heating within the buildings, whilst also facilitating the use of natural ventilation, to enhance comfort levels both in the outdoor and indoor spaces.

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